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Archive for June, 2010

Birthday Girl…

not an actual image but u get the idea...

Ok.. so.. here it is.. My birthday post… I am having a birthday in TWO SLEEEPPSSS!!! Squueeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!! As I tweeted yesterday… It’s not EOFY (End of financial year), it’s BIRTHDAY! And I am privileged to share my birthday with Megan Blandford, John Farnham, Pamela Anderson and Princess Di. I think Megan is my favourite of those… She is a real person who I have met IRL, and she is pretty cool.

Anyhow… The 1st of July, is also the first day of the new financial year, and I find it somewhere smack bang in the middle of the year. As Megan so rightfully pointed out below, being smack bang in the middle of the year, it means: PRESENTS SIX MONTHS APART!!!! I LOVE PRESENTS!!!! It is also “Canada day”, and July 1, is apparently “Emancipation Day”. Interesting. Or not, depending on how you look at it. To me, it is my birthday. And that is all it will ever be.

Birthdays are important to me. They mark something. I have always loved a birthday. To the point that I would count the sleeps away and annoy my family sooo much every year with tales of my upcoming birthday. My family used to go mad, and I have to admit that even as I am now an adult, and all this seems rather juvenile to count sleeps, I don’t do THAT so much anymore, but I DO get SO EXCITED about my birthday, even still now.

Birthdays come with a set of rules I have set in my life, and this is all to regulate the fun. I know, this sounds anal. But bear with me…. The rules are as follows….

1. There are no calories on my birthday- so if I wanna eat cheesecake for breakfast then I WILL!

2. Birthday presents should not be practical in any way. shape. or form. Birthday presents need to fit a criteria of being on a list of “wants” not “needs”. I mean it’s nice to get a pair of shoes, but if I really need them, I’ll be able to justify that purchase for  myself… I will not however be able to justify purchasing that pretty handbag for myself, or buying those pretty boots, or that pretty skirt…. You get the picture?

3. Birthdays should be all about indulgence! It’s YOUR day. They only come once a year, and you should be spoiled.

4. Cake is a food group.

5. If possible, work should be avoided on the day of birthday. I have been particularly lucky on this one. I am moving toward the latter part of my 20s, and I have never been to work or school on my birthday. My birthday falls in the July school holidays most of the time, and for most of my working life, I have managed to take the day off where it didn’t fall on a weekend.. This year however, I have placement. That cannot be avoided. 😦

As kids, we had a number of birthday traditions which I cherish to this day… My Mum always used to make a cake from the 1980’s version of Australian Women’s weekly birthday cake cookbook. She still has it… But the fun was, we would never know what cake she was going to make, and she refused to take requests really. She would be all night the night before the birthday to make the cake, and I remember it was more exciting than Christmas when we would wake up at the crack of dawn to go and see what had been made. My favourite ever was one similar to the one pictured here of a doll cake.

On Birthdays we were allowed to have a friend over to stay, which was a treat in itself. And we were allowed to pick what we had for dinner. And we were allowed to have a lunch order from the canteen. Which was also a treat. In the later years, we had cheesecake from the cheesecake shop, which was fun too.

On birthdays we would all 4 go into mum and dad’s room and open presents in their bed. Which is quite a funny memory in itself to think that there were 6 in the bed.. Funny indeed.

But you know what….? No matter what, birthdays have always been a special time for us… They were never a non-event. And I think that’s the point. A birthday marks more than just getting a year older. It should never be a non-event. A birthday should be celebrated, it should be special, it should be out of the ordinary. And that’s all I want for my birthday this year… Though, I’d take the birthday without getting a year older if I could….

this is one of my favourite photos, not because we look beautiful, but we look like we were having fun. And we were. It was taken at my youngest sister's 18th birthday dinner. And we laughed all night.

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*insert heart here*

I don’t have a heart… Some days I feel like I don’t. And I know.. I am a contradiction in terms… A more paradoxical version of a person does not exist.. The other day I was writing about the lack of “care” discussed in my education as a nurse/midwife. That I felt the text books were too clinical, that I felt the text books taught me not to treat the person, but to treat the disease.. And I did receive some comments from those who read stating that perhaps they teach a certain level of detachment otherwise how could you continue? How could you continue in the face of the abusive/absent fathers?

If my heart was to break each time I went into work for the baby whose father beats his mother, and in turn will beat him when he is out…

If each time, I met with the mother who drinks and doesn’t see it as detrimental to her unborn child, I burst into tears. If I felt that each time I met with the mother who doesn’t want to hold her baby because of a deformity, that she loved her baby any less then my heart would break into little tiny pieces.

I guess what I am  saying is, that to be a midwife requires a certain amount of trust. It requires a certain amount of trust in people that they DO love their children, and they WILL look after them.. Otherwise I’d want to wrap all those little babies up and look after them.

And I think this is a big part of the role. As a midwife, I am there to FACILITATE a natural process. I am there to give the woman the tools she needs to make it through the birth of her child. I am there to make sure that no harm comes to mother or child. I am not there delivering the baby.

I am privileged to be a learned member of society who is ready, willing and able to step in, IF. IT. IS. NEEDED. Otherwise, I am stepping back and letting nature take it’s course. I am stepping back, and letting the mother do what she does best. In a perfect world, I am stepping back and letting the partner and father of the baby, if present, support his woman as she births their child.

As a midwife, it is my job to empower the woman and her partner. It is my job to build their confidence in their ability and to provide them with the knowledge and understanding that they need to make the best decisions for them. I need to do this without judging and without bringing my own opinions into it.. It’s not about me.. It’s about those who I am caring for, and making sure that their decisions are informed and made with all knowledge available.

If you don’t feel, you don’t get hurt! I know there’s gotta be a balance.. And I know there will be occasions that will hurt me.. I guess for all those experiences which hurt me, there will be equally those which touch my heart and change my soul….

It’s all a part of the learning process really…. And learning is nothing if not painful. Learning hurts. But at least through the pain, you can find new and exciting experiences. It is only through my repeated failures that I begin to learn. And eventually succeed… Failure means practice and eventually success….. That’s the way I look at it..

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No this is not a wingey post by another student sitting exams…. It’s truly not.. Hear me out…. I do hate the books, I do hate the learnin’s… And I hate the way that the school of nursing/midwifery is run.. I think it is all far too clinical, far too sterile… Forgive the pun, truly.. And read on….

Here is what I hate: I hate the fact that as a nursing/midwifery student, we have to do all the study in the world, I mean it really feels like we just need to study as much as the doctor’s just so we can understand them. But no.. What I hate more than that is that reading about a condition in a book makes it seem like nothing. It doesn’t mean anything. I mean, to read the definition of cancer that I read earlier.. it makes it sound so sterile…. I mean, it’s just words on a page… And don’t get me wrong, I get that as nurse’s/midwives we need to have the medical knowledge behind us, but I just feel that the university system fails to acknowledge the human aspect to it….

When I was reading about cancer earlier, I read this definition. It’s very stark.

“cancer= a disorder of cell division, differentiation and growth…..”

And I don’t even think it hits the sides of what cancer is. Cancer touched my family more than once in the last year. It first came and tried to get my Mum.. She is ok, and then it came back for my Auntie. It’s a horrific disease which rips you to your very core. I know I didn’t go through it, but I watched my mumma. Cancer is fucked up. It’s like the cells in your body just one day decide to mutate and spread, they cause disease, pain and if they are not treated, they cause death.

Some have actually suggested that the treatment for cancer can be as harsh as the cancer itself. The treatment for cancer needs to kill off everything. It needs to kill the cells, good and bad…. And just the simple stark realization that cancer is just that; a mutation of your body’s own cells can be heart-wrenching in itself. I guess this is my point.. How do we treat the human with the disease, as opposed to just the disease?

But this post was not meant to be a whinge about cancer. What it is, is a description. That disease and disorder, illness and pain, cause so much more than we will ever know. That the things that ail us physically are so much more than just a mutation or a failure of the body. It affects a person deep, down to the very core of their spirit. When do they teach that? They don’t. They don’t teach that a person is more than just the sum of their diagnosis. No, they teach us the normal parameters for blood pressure, they teach us what a placenta should look like, they teach us how to manage a patient who is on dialysis, how to give an injection. They don’t have any emphasis on the person, their spirit and who they are. If I want to care for the person, am I in the wrong line of work?

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Ask me that question about 10 yrs ago… I’d have answered without taking a single breath.. I’d have not even had to comtemplate it… for a split second.. I knew where I was headed and what I wanted out of life.. I knew who I wanted to be, where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do… I knew what I wanted, and I knew how to get it….. Even ask me that question 5 yrs ago… I reckon I’d have had a definitive answer for you in some way, shape or form…

I was born wanting to be a nurse. And in some respects… well, actually… all respects that dream is being realised… It WILL be me.. I WILL be a nurse, and even more than that, I will be a midwife AS WELL! I am very excited at that prospect… It is something I wake up smiling about on a daily basis. And I know I am doing the right thing….

But as for the rest… I don’t know.. Someone mentioned something to me recently.. It wasn’t said in a way of being cruel or mean to me.. It was someone who was simply making an observation… Said person simply mentioned that I am too defensive…

I thought on this, and it’s not the first time this has been pointed out to me… I guess I know *why* it is.. I just don’t know how to change something so deeply ingrained in my nature.. It IS a big part of me… I am more likely to take something personally than to rationally think about it and think that people have their own shit going on… and therefore may respond in different situations in relation to THAT, rather than in relation to ME!!!!! Cos it’s REALLY not all about ME!!! It’d get a bit boring if it WERE!!!!

Pretty much from day dot, I have been in some way, shape or form teased, bullied or belittled.. I guess this is what shapes you from a very young age. Kids are cruel, and really far too impressionable.. Sometimes I wonder whether kids should be ALLOWED to hang around each other for all the psychological emotional trauma they can cause for EACH OTHER.. But then the alternative is no good either.. Children who have no interactions with other children suffer as well.. So where to?

I mean… I know this about me.. How do I go about changing this? Do I want to lose my sensitive nature? Does this mean I need to HTFU?? I don’t really know at this point… What I do know is that I am a few wonderful things.. I am fiercely independent, I am and I guess I am writing this cos I need to remind myself.. That I am ok, and if people don’t like me… Then that’s not always cos of anything I have done.. Sometimes it’s not about me at all.. And it’s doesn’t always need to be the end of the world either.. Different strokes for different folks and all that……

Is this all just part of life.. How come when I was 15, 19, 21, 23… I knew what I wanted and where I was going? Why am I not sure now…? Don’t get me wrong.. I am still going to be a nurse/midwife.. But I am talking more about personality things and just life stuff… Do I wanna be a person who is all hard and jaded and can’t let anyone into my heart?

When I was 16, I’d have told you I wanted to meet Mr. right, settle down, get married, have babies, do my nursing degree.. Now I just don’t know.. I mean, I’d like to think I’ll meet someone someday… But I am wondering whether my heart could handle it….??

So here I am.. I am about to turn another year older.. And I guess that means I’m supposed to be a little wiser too right? RIGHT? Cos I certainly don’t feel that I am.. I feel like I am this tiny little naive person who doesn’t know what’s left and what’s right….?

I guess this is all apart of getting older… You start to recognise just how big the world is and what is has in store.. If you’re not careful you can while away your years wondering… And wishing… Instead I think I’d like to try *doing* stuff.. I know that sounds a little vague.. But if I set some goals, even if I don’t meet them, at least I tried.. I gave it my best shot…

If at the end, all I can say is that I did my best.. I am not sure I’m all that worried about anything else…. I mean I might be naive, I might be sensitive. But I am just me.. And in all honesty.. Not one of you out there is better qualified to be me than I am….. Are you? And you know, as long as I know a few more little things about me… I guess I have done something with the last year of my life……

This may sound all a little melancholy. In truth, it’s not… I am at peace.. I don’t regret anything I have said or done.. No quite the contrary.. I recognize that I wouldn’t be where I am today without those things that have gone before… And I recognize I may not make the decisions I make tomorrow without those things in the past….

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