Monday, November 08, 2010

Cosmic dot to dot

I made a decision Wednesday afternoon not to attend a childbirth educator workshop as scheduled. It was made an hour before we were set to leave. With the car packed. And my mom there to take care of the older kids. And it was the third time I had changed my mind that day.

The organization I was about to involve my family in is embroiled in a dispute among its members. One camp started its own certifying body in response to years of dissatisfaction with the current management. Lawyers are involved. And very strong, passionate personalities. And a whole lot of contention and uncertainty.

I didn't make this decision with my head, though. It's a little foggy up there from four years of intense sleep deprivation. My gut and my ailing, exhausted body had to convince my brain.

This organizational uprising came to a head Friday, October 29. I was supposed to leave Wednesday, November 3. And now I and countless others are in limbo. Some people I know have switched to the new organization. Others are on the fence. Still others are firmly entrenched with the original group. Clearly, I can't make this decision based on what others are doing.

I'd like to say that 11 years of learning to live a certain way of life helped me let go of the issue and focus on recuperating and spending time with my family this weekend. I spent way too much time monitoring the situation online, which is where much of it played out over the past week. And along with my head exploding
from a vicious cold, it was also bursting with the question of what this all means. Because I want to know right now what the next step is and why this happened when it happened. (Seriously, the timing of this could not have been worse for me. And it's all about me, right?) I really believe things happen for a reason and I'm always intrigued by the timing of such things. I like to connect events and timing in a sort of cosmic dot to dot. It really helps me see the big picture. Unfortunately, completing the dot to dot can takes months, if not years.

One of my earliest school memories was of doing a dot-to-dot picture at my desk while the school principal stood behind me telling a visitor that I was one of the school's star students. Then he leaned in to instruct me not go from number 5 to number 27, but to instead go in numeric order. Even at a young age, I would get ahead of myself in a rush to see the big picture. (Come to think of it, this incident may also have shaped my pathological fear of messing up when others are watching. A shrink would have a very expensive field day with this one.)

Over the weekend, the short-term big picture began to emerge. I could have spent four days at a training workshop with a mind poisoned and distracted by the dirty laundry that had been aired about this group. I would have been sick (by Friday, I had a fever). Owen would have been miserable. Jim would have been frustrated trying to keep him happy. My other kids would have missed us. My parents would have been exhausted. And I would have felt guilty for putting everyone through this and too distracted to concentrate on the training. Our money, time and energy invested in this group would have factored into a looming decision about whether to stay or jump to the new group.

In a way, I'm fortunate. I don't have to make a decision right now. I'm at the beginning of a new career. Actually, I'm at the pre-beginning. I didn't even start. I didn't take the first step, which is what this workshop would have been. Sure, I'd invested some time in the academic requirements. It actually didn't feel like work. I love reading about pregnancy and childbirth. I love being around pregnant and nursing moms who help each other feel empowered through birthing and mothering their babies.

As for the long-term big picture, that one is not so clear. I'd like to go from 5 to 27 in this cosmic dot-to-dot, but the resulting picture just wouldn't make sense. I'd like to just take my "lesson" from this, apply it and move on, but the lesson isn't even clear. I do know, however, that the choice is really about when not who I certify with. Because, ultimately, my loyalty is to my family—the four people who allowed me to personally experience the joy of natural childbirth.

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