Endings and Beginnings and Forevers

February 11 is a special day for me. Exactly 36 years ago today I persuaded the person I knew I would spend my life with to buy me a cup of tea. And so it began. We had five sons, ran an organic farm, traveled through Africa on foot, helped each other out when things got tough, lived in some wonderful places and some difficult places, fought with each other, loved each other through thick and thin, and we're still best friends.

We've started lots of projects together - the epic trips, the farm, the family. We've rebuilt a bunch of houses together - from the medieval tower, to the stone farmhouse, to our Montreal bungalow and the abandoned stone shepherd's house we hide away in.

I've started a bunch of projects myself, too. My doula practice, my doula school, the volunteer doula organization, my midwifery certification and practice. And recently my cafe, which is a family project, but the two main players are myself and my middle son. Although we couldn't have done it alone - my husband made most of the furniture and did the construction work we needed.

This year, I've been letting things go. So, this February 11 is about endings as well as celebrating beginnings and forevers.

I let my volunteer doula organization go a couple of years ago, but I finally let someone else eat the placenta that I had left in the fridge (metaphorically). I'm left with a lot of really beautiful memories of big-hearted, giving, conscious, energetic, fiery, intelligent people giving their time, love and energy to the marginalized families we worked with.

I am officially trying to let go of my lumberjack mouth. Those who know me well know that I am also rather fiery, and my upbringing in Calgary and drinking in the bars there taught me some excellent words to emote with. But I feel I should let them go.

I left behind my doula practice. I could no longer put myself into the dynamic of hospital birthing. I have so many amazing memories of the 500 or so families I worked with, and the true miracle of birth and of love with never cease to amaze me. I am honored to have attended every single one of these births.

I left behind my midwifery practice. Although I was certified to practice midwifery, my certification did not allow me to practice where I live, and when unregistered midwives in Canada and elsewhere started to be taken to court by the Colleges of registered midwives, I knew that was not an option. I am deeply grateful to all the families who asked me to attend their births, and those who had the courage to birth on their own when I let them know I could not attend.

I am leaving my doula school. This has been part of my life since 2003. I love teaching, learning, and participating in that process. But slowly and surely the numbers of people interested in my manner of teaching (radical, honest, not certificate-oriented, political) has dropped and I am not into marketing. So, again, I am left with many beautiful memories, and a deep sense of gratitude to all of my students.

But when things fall away, others take their place. I have an amazing cafe, a large family, and I so much to do! Novels to publish, marathons to run, retreats to host.

So, thank you for everything, February 11. May I have the good luck and good grace to be seeing you many more times in the future.


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