Monday, September 15, 2014

Feathers in the Fall

This morning I am feeling lifted up.  I feel lifted by the bright sunshine.  While the temps have definitely dropped, there is something comforting about the impending change of a season - a freshness and newness that can't be ignored.  I look forward to seeing the leaves turn beautiful colours and then fall to the ground, almost as if they are telling us that we can also release what residual energy is left from summer.  To hold those moments, those beautiful sunny, warm days close to our heart and allow them to colour us all shades of beautiful.  And then, when we are the most brightest, gorgeous colours that we can be, we can finally surrender to Fall and all that it has to offer.

I am feeling lifted and supported by the love and encouragement around me.  Thoughtful, guiding and unexpected cards in the mail (we really all need to make an effort to embrace "snail mail" and what it represents.  A "simple" I am thinking of you note in the mail speaks volumes and has the power to warm the heart in a matter of moments).  Kind words and compassion towards our family and just knowing that we are thought about.  A team of love and help around the house while I embark on a new journey this Fall.  So much love and support is constantly flowing around us and it is beyond moving and incredible.  It lifts me up.  Higher than I ever thought possible.

I am feeling lifted and rejuvenated by words, pictures and songs that seem to come around at just the right time.  This morning I read this great post and it is really staying with me.  This part in particular is like bells going off in my head:
  1. Authenticity is liberating. – By allowing yourself to be yourself, you allow others to be themselves around you too.  This creates an honest, liberating environment in which to live.  In a society where people love to point fingers and poke fun, you can only fight social judgment with naked honesty.  When you speak up about your challenges and open yourself up to receiving care and support, you allow others to do the same.  The truth is, we’re all in this together, undergoing the same learning process and internal struggles.  We’re all equally perfect in our imperfections.  There’s no reason to hide behind lies.
How incredible is that?  Authenticity is liberating.  Wow.  Yes.  What we bring to any situation, relationship, job or discussion is unique and incredible because WE are unique and incredible.  Instead of hiding behind this mask of what I THINK I am supposed to be - the perfect mom, yoga student, future midwife - I am today choosing to be ME.  And I am not saying *just* me because that is doing myself a huge disservice.  I will be ME and wholly me in all of my awesomeness and being.  I make this choice every day to either pretend to be someone, who I think I am supposed to be, or I be myself.  No excuses.  No apologies.  And while I am learning that this is reviving my soul and feels so liberating, I am also learning today that this also causes a ripple effect and allows those around me to be themselves easier as well.  And vice versa.  How beautiful.

I am feeling lifted by new opportunities this Fall.  For a chance to expand on my knowledge and step out of my comfort zone a bit.  And to do so with all of my being.  I am also comforted by a familiarity that this time of year brings.  University application time is fast approaching and I am ready.  I am excited and embrace this time of year and what it means for my moving forward.

And finally I am feeling lifted by feathers. I have a deep love and appreciation for feathers and it's no secret that I adore them.  Not only are they beautiful but I love what they represent for me.  Comfort.  Support.  Encouragement.  And it appears that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree as the girls have been spotting these soft beauties everywhere in our backyard the last month or so.  It is incredible and also SO comforting.  They will run to the house with another feather, of varied sizes and shades of white and add it to our mason jar.  I am not kidding - we have a jar that is filling fast.  Every time we put another feather in the jar, my heart lifts a bit more.  They are appearing in the most interesting places - like a tiny one place on the dash of our truck or the medium sized one that floated right in front of Alanna's face while she was at the craft table.  Beautiful.

On this beautiful, (almost) Fall day, I hope that each and every one of you that happens to read this is feeling uplifted and encouraged.  Reminding yourself that you are a beautiful soul that is perfect.  Another quote that I recently came across and love is this: "We are not all bodies with a soul but rather we are all (beautiful) souls with a body."
We are all souls that need love, support and respect.
Much love.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Dear Aubrey

Tomorrow you start Junior Kindergarten.  Tomorrow you will get on that big bus, alongside your big sister.  You will surely be filled with excited laughter and chatter but I know that deep down you will be a bit nervous.   I don’t think that nervousness will last long, but it will be there.

Please know, sweet girl, that all day I will be sitting with you, holding your hand.  I will be putting my fingers to your necklace that you chose for me to wear all day, and reminding myself that you are safe and ready for this.  I will picture you, playing dinos with your friends (you are SO excited to play with all the dinos in the classroom!), but once in a while you will think of home and your hands will also go up to mamas heart necklace that you chose to wear for your first day of JK.

All day we will be missing you terribly and I am sure Alden will look out the window many times, wondering where his sisters’ are.  But as much as we will miss you, we are even more happy and excited for you.

Our sweet second born.  Our little wise owl.  I picture you, first born, your brow furrowed as you screamed in anger at the nurses.  I think of the many pokes and prods you endured during your first few months of life, and the uncertainty we were all faced with. 
  I smile through my tears as I recall you at a year old, taking your first steps on the back deck of our old house, after your birthday party.  
I will most likely relive your first 4 years thus far over and over in my head, not only tomorrow, but certainly for the first few weeks of school.

It seems surreal to me that we are already here.  That your packed lunch bag is sitting in the fridge, and your first school outfit is laid out at the foot of your bed.  It seems unbelievable to me that you are about to embark on this new journey – when I still see you as the tiny 7lb 13oz baby that you were just over four years ago.
I remember when you were sent to the step up NICU at McMaster a day after your birth.  We went from being in the luxurious suite at Mac to NICU.  I will never forget you in your little bed in the far corner of the room.  How, every time for those few days you were in there, I would hear you before I even entered the sliding doors.  I would scrub my hands as fast as I could, wanting nothing more than to have you in my arms again.  Even for the few minutes that we weren’t with you, you would start screaming.  And now, here we are four years later and this time we are letting you go a little bit except this time you won’t be screaming.  Instead you will be wearing your new outfit with the pink flower on it and you will be carrying your much loved Monster High back pack that is far too big.  You will take your sister’s hand and cross the road, and climb those big steps into the big yellow bus.

There have been so many times so far in your life in which we have been there to hold your hand.  We have always been by your side and I would be lying if I said tomorrow would be easy letting go a bit.  It will be mighty hard.  However, I will release my hold a bit, feeling confident in the strong, amazing little being that you are.
You are such a strong, feisty, hilarious little girl that always stands up for yourself.  That makes it easier.  You are competent, courageous and kind.  That makes me so proud.  You are curious, willing to learn and a great friend.  That makes me certain that you will thrive in JK.

We are SO proud of you Aubrey.  You have come a long way, and you are only moving upwards and onwards, at a fast pace.  You are a true model of strength, being true to oneself and courage.  You always push the limits but that is something that we are so thankful for.  You don’t stop at no often times, which as your mama, can be frustrating, but even more times than not, makes me know in my heart that you are strong.  You will move mountains – this I am sure of.

Please be kind tomorrow Aubrey.  Please remember to use your manners, speak your truth and use compassion at all times.  Remember that everyone who is in your presence is often times taken back by you forwardness but that this amazing trait of yours is admired by many (myself included).

I am so proud of you.  I cannot even wait to see you bouncing off the bus tomorrow, your brand new outfit smeared in sand and paint, your hair in shambles.  I am so excited to hear all about your day and the fun that you are sure to have had. 
Tomorrow a new journey begins – and we are so thankful to be your parents to be a part of it.
Love you so much, our sweet Bree owl.

Loads and loads of love.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014


It has been a truly incredible summer that I am sad to see come to an end.  At the same time, however, I truly look forward to the "newness" that Fall offers.
In the Fall Aubrey starts JK and Alanna grade one.
In the Fall, I will truly take bigger steps to once again fulfill my midwifery dream.
The Fall promises visits to the apple orchard, over-size flannel shirts, crispness in the air and beautifully turned leaves to be amazed by.

It is also sure to offer many opportunities to reflect on the summer, and truth be told, also the spring.
If I can be honest, that reflection has already started, and I am letting those thoughts in.
Just a month and a half ago, I got to a point where I decided that I needed a break.  I needed to stop obsessing, analyzing and worrying.

I thought about what I truly hoped for in this summer and no where in my summer 2014 bucket list did it say "feel sorry for myself" or "go over things again and again in your head until you go crazy."
So I stopped.

I got off of online social media for a while.  I made an effort to move my thoughts from "I wants" to feelings of pure gratitude for what I already have.  And boy, when I began to do that, it was clear to see that what I have to be thankful for FAR surpasses any dream or goal or desire for the future.
All I need is already here.

Yoga and I had a deep talk and our connection is deeper than every before.  Part way through the summer I committed to doing yoga every day for 30 days.  Some days it would only require a 5 or 10 minute deep stretch and other days I would go for over an hour.
My Spring image of myself outside doing yoga as the sun set became a reality.  I would find a spot out back that I was certain wasn't just urinated on by Dez and drop onto the grass and begin.
The kids often joined me and if they didn't, they normally knew to leave me be for a bit while I got my yoga on.
It was remarkable.
I learned very quickly that, when I became one with the moment and when I surrendered to what I have no control over, the worry, the anxiety, the doubt slipped away.  And more amazingly. I was able to carry on those feelings into my life once yoga ended.
Now, that is not to say that I was some yoga enthusiastic that "namasta-d" my way through every situation but I did, without a doubt, have more times of releasing what I can't control and being more in tune with myself.

I once again began to trust the process.  To trust myself and my intuition.
My deepest hopes and desire for the summer were in full force and I made every effort to acknowledge and appreciate all the moments.
Watch the kids run around, covered in dirt and water from the garden.  Check.  Have an evening drink on the deck with Al.  Check.  Sit on the deck, the sun on my face and just be.  Check.  Spend as much time with loved ones as possible.  Check.  Lay in the hammock and write in my journal.  Check.  

And while we still have an official 6 days left before school starts, I can say without a doubt, that summer has been exactly like I had hoped and dreamed back in the Spring.
Back when I was still deeply wounded from my rejection from McMaster.  And I can truly say now that I didn’t fully allow myself to feel the hurt, the disappointment and the complete shock until a good month or so later.  It was only then that I sat down and grieved.  And then, just like that, the blessing of Summer was upon us and I feel that it made it easier to accept what was not to be this year.  I even was able to take it one step further and begin to think about WHY it was not meant to be this year and all of the amazing blessings that I get to look forward to this year instead.
I have been reading Eckhart Tolle’s “A new earth” since the beginning of the summer. I go to it and flip to a random page that I have dog eared (which is basically the whole book) and will read a paragraph or two – until I feel more at once with the present.  That book, and my thoughts and feelings since reading that book, have truly been instrumental in my being able accept what is.  It has also allowed me not to take any situation for granted and to see them all as they are: a chance to grow and learn and be the best person that I can be.
I have learned that so many of us think of the present moment as an enemy, as something that we need to be rid of in order to move forward.  When we are thinking of the future and something that we so deeply want, but want nothing more than the present moment to end so that we can be there already, we are treating the now, so essentially, all that you have, as the enemy.
That has really stayed with me.  I remind myself of that daily.  When I am in a moment of thought or a situation that is less than ideal (which if I can be honest, hasn’t happened often this Summer), instead of being angry or upset with it, I have been trying to accept it.  Accepting every moment for what it is, whether it is putting out the garbage, being at an appointment or being stuck in traffic, truly allows you to be one with the moment and to just be present. 

It became clear to me very early on in realizing this that, the more often you fully accept things for as they are, the less they have an effect on you. Every moment of every day is an opportunity to learn and to grow.
So.  What have I learned this Summer?  I have learned that it is important for me and my family for me to practice patience.  That it is ok to call a time out for myself and to step away from a situation and collect myself.  I have learned that I have been way too hard on myself.  I am so able to see the pure worth in every one else around me but I was skipping out on the most important person – me.  And in my typing that, it tells me that I have made great strides in my self appreciation.  It wasn’t long ago that I wouldn’t have even thought that I was the most important person.

By catering to everyone else around me, I was doing a huge disservice to myself.  I was burning out easily and when I was faced with disappointment, I fell apart.  And then I felt even worse about myself.  I questioned my worthiness as a student and midwife, my ability to parent to the fullest and my contribution to my marriage.  Instead of seeing all of the things that I brought forth, I instead magnified what I felt that I wasn’t.  What I was lacking.  And I felt the need to fill that void and step up my “worth” so I looked into any way possible to achieve what I desired so badly.  And then one day, I stopped.  I literally had a voice yelling at me in my head to stop the moment I woke up – and I did.
  I stopped searching and I just began to be in the now.  And then I came across this book and it affirmed for me everything that I knew in my heart but that I was fighting.  And the icing on the cake was that Summer began and I truly was able to stop.  I stopped searching and then I watched.  I watched my kids chase each other around the yard.  I watched and felt my body and soul strengthen as I practiced yoga daily. 
  And then, somewhere in between all that, I started to feel more worthy.  I began to not only accept each present moment but to be thankful for it, for them all.  I began filling my worthiness cup with thoughts about myself that I love and am so thankful for.  After yoga, I would often place my hands on my solar plexus chakra and soak it in white, healing love.  It worked.  It is working.

I don’t know what is around the corner.  None of us do.  All we can ever be sure of is the present moment – nothing else.  And we ALWAYS have the choice to either fight it or accept it. That is being in the now and being one with your true self.  With this realization, I get ready to close the Summer 2014 chapter with peace in my heart.  There are things that I will miss about the Summer but the excitement and love I feel towards what is next overrides that.  Whatever is next in my life, I accept.  I open my arms and my heart to it all and smile.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Mojitos, Acceptance and Exhaust Fumes

The past (almost) two months have been a bit of a ride, emotionally, for me.  I went from feeling quite certain that the goal I had been striving towards for the past over two years was soon to be fulfilled, to being filled with disappointment and rejection.
I took McMaster's rejection into this year's MEP as fuel to my fire.  Immediately upon getting the email from Mac, I began looking into other options.
I researched, made phone calls, talked about it and wrote about it endlessly, and repeated this process - non stop.  I never let not getting into Mac totally sink in.  Instead I pushed forward.

Without getting into too much of the (boring) details, I will say that I was accepted into another Midwifery program - in the US.  I was (am) thrilled!  Not even a week after Mac's email, I began sending everything to this amazing school to apply.  I had my Skype interview with them and it was amazing. It affirmed for me that this school was what I was looking for in Midwifery education.
After a lot of back and forth, I accepted their invitation as a student.  I excitedly texted and called people with the: "I am officially a midwifery student!" message that I had been longing to send since this crazy journey began.

And then reality began to set in.  I would be gone from my family for two weeks at a time.  And that wasn't even considering preceptorship yet, in which I would most likely be required to shadow a midwife, in the US.
I was listening to others' advice, words and amazing support.  Before my own instinct.  The morning after I accepted, I awoke to a loud voice literally screaming at me: STAY HOME!  It was overwhelming.  I had never heard this internal voice so loudly before.  I absorbed what I was feeling along with those words, what they meant and how I felt about them.
By mid-day the answer was so clear and I felt a deep peace.
I wouldn't be starting school in the Fall as midwifery student.  That was ok.  In fact, it was necessary.
My kids are SO young.  As a wise woman (also a midwife) pointed out to me a few weeks ago: "Midwifery will always be here.  Your children are only this young once."  While I heard and felt was she was saying, I was, at the time, still clouded with this obsession of being a midwifery student NOW.
It took me almost a month after hearing those words that I really understood.

Since the Spring, Al and I have talked about this summer.  Aubs is starting JK in the Fall and Alanna is making the leap into Grade One.  Big moves!  We want to really enjoy this summer and fill it our summer cup to the brim with hikes, beach visits, camping and bonfires.  We were saying that Alden is finally at the age where he is full of steam and curiosity and can get himself to where he wants to go quickly. Watching him chase his sisters around out back has been amazing.  And this is only the beginning.

I have written not long ago about how, going into the interview at Mac, I wasn't totally reflecting ME.  Somewhere along the road of preparing, I consumed myself with others ideas, feelings and thoughts on the interview process.  I am EXTREMELY thankful for that and will take what I have learned.  However, I need to be me.
I thought I learned this lesson back in May however now I am seeing that I didn't trust myself yet again.

When I came across this amazing school in the US, I was surrounded by the most amazing support and encouragement.  Along with that came the much respected advice.  Instead of taking those words for what they are and seeing how I felt, I once again got swept up in others views on my being a midwifery student in the US.
I needed a good strong and loud voice on a sudden Wednesday morning to once again remind me what I want.  What is best for my family.  What makes the most sense for us.  I appreciate SO much the love and support we continue to receive.  What I also need to learn to appreciate is MY instinct.  I am reminded once again to listen to that.

I wrote down a few weeks ago what is important to me, in regards of my profession.  It is something that I have known for a while and what keeps resurfacing and pulling me towards midwifery.  Empowering woman.  Unity.  Sisterhood.  Respect.  I am so passionate about instilling important and useful information into woman so that they can feel empowered and in charge, as they should.  I believe so strongly in the power and strength in Sisterhood.  In women standing together - supporting, encouraging and loving each other.  Rising each other up.  THAT is why I want to be a midwife.  Catching babies is a wonderful, beautiful, amazing bonus.

So, in reminding myself of that, I am seeing now that there are many ways that this can be accomplished. When I am talking to my girls about respecting themselves and being compassionate, I am instilling knowledge and power in them.  When I am having a deep, meaningful conversation and good cry with a friend, we are providing a deep sense of Sisterhood to one another.  When I am talking to wonderful young women who are expecting or recently have had a baby, I am (hopefully) helping to provide them with useful information and in turn, allowing them to feel more empowered.  I am doing all of these things now - thanks to all of the wonderful people in my life.
I don't need to travel to another country to do this.  It is happening now.

Yesterday after Alanna's kindergarten graduation, I sat on the deck and watched my family in the back yard.  They were taking the water from our little dinky pool into pails and watering the vegetable garden.  I sat, sipping my mojito (that's right, this happened) and was so filled with gratitude.  These "small" moments are so big and meaningful and if I am honest with myself, ones that I had sadly ignored more than I would like to admit these last two months.
I feel as though I am witnessing and FEELING them once again the way they are meant to be.

I am stepping back from the obsessing, wondering, hoping, wishing and plain ol' driving myself (and I am sure others around me) crazy and being more present.
Ideas are whirling around in my head in regards to what my next steps may be and for now, that is where they will stay.  Tucked safely away, waiting for the right moment.
I am not going to force this anymore.

I am, instead, going to sip my mojitos, hang tiny little socks and bathing suits on the clothes line, swing in the hammock with Al, watch the birds in our beautiful trees, go on more morning hikes with the family, feel the excitement right along with the girls when they see the pixie dust on the fairy house outside that the fairies left the night before, watch our bountiful garden grow and breathe deep.
Smelling the fresh summer air, I am also breathing in peace, serenity and a little bit of exhaust fumes from the kids' mini quad.
A perfect summer, indeed.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Heart, hammocks and late night realizations

I used to love dancing.  A lot.  I grew up dancing in competitions and while I don't miss the competitiveness of it, I do miss the movement with music.  And the flexibility.  Oh, to be able to drop down into the splits again.
More than anything though, I think I miss the freedom of it.
While I still dance around the house with my kids, I don't do it with the same freedom of movement.  I need that again.

Jamming to the Heart cd I just bought (with much excitement), I felt myself move around on the deck like I used to.  My 30 year old body still remembered some of the old moves, and while they may look and feel entirely different over a decade and a half later, they are still there.  My sweet dance moves having been waiting to be dusted off and brought to the surface again.

I need to take more time to dance.  Around the house to Heart, Joan Jett and maybe even some Tiffany (that's right, I said it).
I need to take more time to stretch, to lay awake at night and be in my own thoughts.

I have been doing that the last few nights and there is something so amazingly awesome about it.  I normally am one to fall asleep the second my head hits the pillow, but I have been trying to make an effort to pack 'er in a few minutes early even to just lay there and think.  And be.
It has ended up being more than a few minutes the last nights and I am so thankful for that.

I feel that in that last half hour before I fall asleep, I am really able to connect with myself.  Not only is the house finally quiet, but more importantly my mind and body is.  I am trying to be present and not let my fears or concerns or wants to take over.  They are there, I acknowledge them - but then I am trying to release them and see what else is coming in.

What, I am finding, is coming in, is true, pure and real Angela.  I am trying to dig under my hopes for the future, my goals and my desires and see what is even deeper than that.  Here is what I have uncovered so far:

*I need to stop being is such a hurry.  My dreams, my passions and my hopes aren't going anywhere.  If they are rooted deeply within me, they will still be there when I need them.  My children, on the other hand, will only only be these tender young ages once.  I have deeply consumed myself with MY hopes and goals.  While I know that pursuing these will only help myself and my family in the long run, I also need to remind myself that being present with my kids is my #1. While there are going to be times that I wont by physically present, while I am here, I can make the most if it.  I can stop rushing around with this notion that I need to have everything lined up NOW and move forward NOW.  I am moving forward.  Whether it be a tip toe movement for a while, I am still moving forward.

*I need to stop putting the "small" things on the back burner.  Things like penciling a day in the calendar to take the kids to the beach, scheduling our much deserved and overdue night away for Al and I, making (and sticking to) much anticipated dates with friends.  THOSE things I have been pushing off, in the pursuit of "bigger" things.  I laid in bed two nights ago and that reality hit me hard.  I woke yesterday with a deep desire and drive to make those plans and stick with them.  It feels so, so good.

*Reading thought-provoking books, doing yoga on the grass (I am embarrassed to admit I haven't done yoga in MONTHS!), tending to my veggie gardens, buying (and reading in) a hammock, taking impromptu hikes with kids and Al, listening to music that brings me back to the natural movement of my body, wearing long flowy skirts and used t-shirts, sitting out on the deck with Al, with a glass of wine in my hand once the kids are in bed while we talk about our dreams and hopes and the NOW. --> These things are what I deeply want for this summer.  These things I DESERVE to have this summer.
Anything else that rolls in will be a welcomed gift.

“summer, after all, is a time when wonderful things can happen to quiet people. for those few months, you’re not required to be who everyone thinks you are, and that cut-grass smell in the air and the chance to dive into the deep end of a pool give you a courage you don’t have the rest of the year. you can be grateful and easy, with no eyes on you, and no past. summer just opens the door and lets you out.” 
― Deb CalettiHoney, Baby, Sweetheart

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Hopeful Midwifery Student Musings (lucky) #13 - Hope, Thanks & Red Flip flops

A huge thank you to everyone that sent me such loving, kind and supportive messages, phone calls and in person hugs and chats.  After receiving the dreaded email from Mac only last week (you can read that post here if you would like), I was lifted very high by you all.
If I can be honest, my feelings of sadness and anger lasted roughly 12 hours.  I remember when I was waiting to hear about the McMaster MEP, I would say to Al that if I received a rejection email, I would most likely be in mourning for a good month.  I was/am surprised that that isn't the case - and even more than that, thankful.

I am thankful because by being able to grieve not getting into Mac and move on so swiftly tells me that I still have hope and faith in myself.  I am not blind to the fact that, becoming a midwife will not only be hard work but also may end up taking me on a journey that I never thought of only a year ago.  What I mean by that is, I am looking into other avenues that will lead me to the same end result: becoming a certified midwife in Ontario.
I am excited to explore options, test some waters and find a way that makes sense for not only me but also my family.
I feel supported and encouraged by my friends and family and my dear ol' hubby.  That man is something else.  He didn't blink when I told him that I didn't get into McMaster's MEP this year.  Instead, he gave me a huge glass of wine and listened.  He listened to my concerns, my fears and my hopes for the next year.  And not only has he continued to listen, but he is on this wild path right beside me. 
He understands (as much as he can at this point) the hardships that come along with being a partner to someone pursuing midwifery.  But more than that, he understands that midwifery is my passion.  And he told me to not stop.  To keep going until my goal is fulfilled. 
Having a partner that is willing to take the financial burden, household chores and less time in his shop in order to help me succeed means more to me than I could ever express.  And more than that, it gives me more faith in myself.

I am ready to move forward.  I am shrugging off McMaster's denial and going one step further and throwing it back at them.  I understand fully that this was not my year to study midwifery at McMaster.  Maybe next year wont be either.  Maybe I will find another way to achieve my much desired goal.
I am the only one in my life that can set limits for myself. Not a school.  And in my mind, heart and soul, the sky is the limit.  I will succeed because I am crazy enough to think I can.  And I have a whole army of people in my life that are also urging me forward.  How can I stumble back when I have these hands, this love, that is right there to catch me?  I can't.  
And because of that - I rolled out of bed last Saturday morning and smiled.  A real, deep and powerful smile.  And then I wore one of my favourite outfits and spent the day in the sun with the kids.
I had some wonderful, dream-chasing conversations that made me feel so alive and ready.
I wrote pages in my diary and the love and excitement I felt oozed onto the pages of that pink, little book.

And since then, only one week later, I am still truckin'.  I am still chasing these crazy dreams - and to be honest, I am doing so with more vigor that ever before.
Thank you McMaster for reminding me how much I deeply want to be a midwife.  By sending that lovely little rejection letter last Friday morning, you not only lost a wonderful midwifery student this year but you also reminded said student why I am on this amazing, crazy road.

Passion. Drive.  Hope.  Faith.  Pride.  Love.

I think I might buy some red flip flops.  I need to get used to wearing red on my feet - in preparation for wearing my red heels when I graduated from the MEP when it's my time.  You can never start too early.


Saturday, May 10, 2014

Hopeful Midwifery Student Musings #12 - Disbelief

I have put off writing a blog post involving my journey towards becoming a Midwifery student because, quite frankly, I wanted to wait until I had good news to share.
I received the amazing email on March 25th that I was granted an interview at McMaster,  To say I was excited would honestly be an understatement.

So, once I got off the floor from crying in happiness and joy I began preparing.  I had a month to get ready for the interview that I once thought was just a dream from ever happening.
I connected with some amazing people - both in and out of the program currently.  I Skyped some fantastically supportive and insightful people, I wrote notes, I walked around the yard practicing and had a night at the house where some amazing family and friends came over and we practiced.  It was even recorded by my sister so that I could look back on the videos and take notes - and I will tell you this, it is HARD to watch yourself on the screen.

I obsessed for MONTHS over what to wear and ended up going on the way more conservative side than I envisioned myself.

The night before the interview I ate my favourite meal in the world, painted my toe nails red (a fun little fact: on graduation day, Midwifery students don red shoes under their gowns), I watched a funny movie with Al, and I set the alarm for super early in the morning.
I woke feeling fresh and ready.  I was a nervous wreck but ready.  I had a mini cry on the way to the interview, when I heard "I believe in you on the radio.  I could FEEL the love and support lifting me from all over the place.  I had had SO many texts, calls, messages that were so full of encouragement and I FELT it.

While I signed a disclosure and can't say too much about the actual interview questions I will say that they did not pertain to midwifery.  The MMI style interview consists of 10 mini interviews that all consist of 10 minutes. Each room as a question/scenario on the door and you have two minutes to read it.  After a bell goes off, you enter the room and answer the question with the interview for 8 min.  Then you repeat another 9 times.
I left feeling relieved and unsure.  I spent the entire week after rethinking all the questions.  I finally concluded that I did the best that I could, I felt that, besides one room, I answered thinking of many different approaches.  I truly felt that if I didn't get into the program this year, it was because I was not what they were looking for this year.

Two days ago the emails started coming in.  I am a part of a wonderful group on Facebook that consists of MANY Midwifery student hopefuls and current students.  It is a great sounding board and a wonderful resource.  I have made some wonderful friendships through this board and I can say, without a doubt, that every single one of us on there would make truly amazing midwives.
People started posting that they were getting acceptance emails. My email inbox was empty.  I obsessively checked not only my inbox but my junk mail.  Nothing.
Thursday came and went and a bunch of us were still sitting with not email.  The only emails that DID come out were acceptances.
While I was reassured that this could mean nothing, I started to feel the pit in my stomach that told me otherwise.  No one had there been any wait-listers or rejections being posted.  Only acceptances.  I had a cry, a glass of wine and went to bed.

Friday.  I can say that yesterday was a rollercoaster of a day.  I knew that this was the day I would find out one way or another.  After waiting all morning, I began getting angry that they were making us wait.  Torture.  I called the office asking for anything they could give me - I just wanted to know if they were still sending out acceptances or if we should just be expecting declines now.  She wouldn't tell me anything.
Shortly after 12:30pm I got my answer.  I saw the email sitting there and hesitated.  This was it.  This email would tell my future for the next year, at least.
As soon as I opened it, I knew.  The words that I had been envisioning for years was not there.  There was no "congratulations."  Instead I received the very generic "due to the high volume of applicants" blah blah denial.  Denied. Just like that I was being denied acceptance to the 2014 stream of McMaster Midwifery students.  It wasn't happening.  It's not happening.  Just like that, some people in random rooms that asked me questions that did not pertain to midwifery (except for one room, which I feel that I rocked) decided that I was not suitable for this year's stream of the Midwifery program.

It sucks.  A lot.  I have cried more tears than I even expected over the last 12 hours.  To all of a sudden not be a part of this process for this year is truly more to handle than I thought.  I KNOW there is next year and you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be applying again.  But in the meantime what do I do?  What school do I apply to?  Will I even get in next time?  There is no guarantee and I am not sure that I can handle going through this again.
I know full well that many Midwifery student hopefuls apply two, three, four even five times before being accepted.  It's a tough program to get into.  I know that, when I am ready, I will have a supportive, amazing group that will share their stories of despair while trying to get into the program.

I know that one day, when I am a midwife, I will tell my clients or a hopeful student the hardships that I endured while trying to get into school.  I know this.  I know it's a part of bigger plan for me - I get it.  But in this moment, right this second, it sucks.
I am not going to spend a lot of time feeling sorry for myself but I will drink copious amounts of wine this weekend and feel upset and slightly angry.
I will say again to my husband, for the tenth time, "who in the heck is some random guy in a room that asks me the most random question be the one to decide if I should be a midwife?!"

The whole process is the pits.  And what is even more tough is that you can only apply to one of the three schools in Ontario that offers the program at a time.  So this could very well happen again.  There is no magic formula to getting accepted (that I am aware of - but if there is, please someone tell me).
While I could apply to schools in another province as well as in Ontario, that is not something that I want to do, for obvious reasons.  My kids are young - they need me close to home.  And while I fully understand that the Midwifery Education Program is tough stuff on anyone, let alone a mama with young kids, I am ready.  We are ready as a family.  We have talked about it a million times and prepared ourselves for it.  We are ready - and yet here I am waiting to be given the chance.

I don't even know what I could do differently next year.  I don't even know what I said, or didn't say, this year that made the interviewers think that I was not fit for the program this year.
The only thing that I know to do differently and which I am regretful of, is that I didn't truly dress myself.  Somewhere along the lines I got caught up in being professional and buisness-like.  I quickly pushed aside my vision of my long flowing yellow skirt and instead donned a suit - with my hair up in a bun.  That is not me.
When I sat in the waiting room before the interview, I looked around and quickly realized that women were dressed to THEIR style.  Yes, some were in suits, but some wore long flowing skirts and even mini skirts for pete's sake.  But they held their own.  They held confidence - they were themselves.

This post is not meant to be an angry one or one full of regrets.  I want to be able to look back on this part of me journey and see that, in the grand scheme of things, this was a big part of my journey.  I also want this to be a source of comfort for anyone else that may find themselves in this same position, at some point. That's what it's all about - helping each other.

I have made some AMAZING friendships over the past year.  I have connected with some women that not only share my passion for Midwifery but also that I have a deep bond with on another level.  I have had the deepest pleasure of getting to know some current Midwifery students, who I hope one day soon are my mentors.  I also have connected with some beautiful souls that are also on the same path as me.  I am so grateful for them.

I joked to some friends and family a month ago that when I got it, I would need to have an acceptance speech for them.  I am seeing today that, while I didn't get in this year, these amazing people still deserve a thank you speech.  While it's not an acceptance speech, it's what I can offer this year:

To my lovely friends and family:

How do I thank the people that have lifted me so high, that I often felt I haven't touched the ground in months?  How do I thank those in my life that constantly listen to me talk about Midwifery, what to wear to the interview that would change my life and what stone would help open my throat chakra? (which I didn't even wear by the way).
How do I properly express my gratitude to the people in my life whose words, even through a text, allowed me to truly feel capable of becoming a Midwife?  I hope this is a start.

When I first started telling the people close to me that I wanted to become a Midwife, years ago, I was met with nothing but encouragement and excitement.  No one told me that I was crazy or how hard it would be.  I was met with nothing but love.  When I began getting my courses done to apply to Mac, I would receive texts and calls that told me they were proud of me.  Slowly day by day, I began feeling as though I was being lifted higher.
When I doubted my ability to do what it took to get to even this point in my life, I had people tell me what I needed to hear: I was capable.

When I heard the song on the radio on the way to the interview I swear to you, I felt as though I was being carried to the interview with all the love and support that was surrounding me.

How do I thank you for that?  I hoped that getting into the program this year would be a start.  Unfortunately that was not meant to be - and one day, hopefully some day soon, I will know why.  We will laugh over a glass of wine over how obvious it was that 2014 was not my year to start the program.

But in the meantime, I thank you.  Thank you for the love.  Thank you for telling me all the things I needed to hear.  Thanks for taking the time to research questions to help me prepare for the interview.  Thank you for coming to my house with a bottle of champagne only hours after I tell you that I got an interview.  At the time I felt as though that bottle was not deserved.  I am slowly seeing now that it was - oh, how it was.

You have all reminded me, more than once, to step back and see the bigger picture.  It was only a year ago that I didn't even think I had what it took to apply to McMaster.  Somehow within that year, I not only got my grades on par to apply to Mac but I was granted that deeply deserved and sought after interview.

Looking at what is ahead for me and my family - knowing there are decisions and steps to take, I have the deepest sense of comfort in knowing that we are supported.  While I know in my heart I wont stop until I am a Midwife, it makes the process so much more bearable having people in my life that are right beside me.

I recently told a friend that I felt as though I was on a slide.  It was such a clear image to me.  I could see myself at the bottom of the ladder, looking up at the tall stairs - thinking of the work required to get to the top.  The moment I decided to pursue Midwifery.  Day by day I started up those steps, with a team behind me - helping to give me a boost up a step or two when I needed it.  I am at the top step now.  I am teetering over the edge, looking down at the wild ride of a slide.  That wild ride that is the Midwifery Education Program is close.  I can see it.  I can see people that are sliding down that slide right now.  We wave to each other and once in a while they come up to see how I am doing and then they slide back down to where they are right now, on their journey.

I am still on that top step.  I haven't gone backwards.  I haven't fallen off the ladder.  I am still here.  I am still in a state of dismay, confusion and downright anger at times, but I am still here.  I have teetered a bit but what has kept me sturdy are my family and friends.  You guys.
And I know that when it is MY time to take that wild ride down that slide, I will have this amazing support of people that are not only riding down this slide with me, but cheering from the side.

How do I thank these people?  These beautiful souls.  One day I will be able to thank you by walking across the stage in my graduation gown and cap, my bright red shoes proudly displayed underneath the gown.  In the meantime, I thank you through these words.

This year will be one full of uncertainty at times but also one that is full of love, hope and encouragement.  Thank you for that.