Having read Spiritual Midwifery and Ina May's Guide to Childbirth (both written by legendary midwife Ina May Gaskin) during my pregnancies, I've dreamed of visiting The Farm for many years. While looking at their site, I was thrilled to learn there was a retreat offered to birthworkers (i.e., doulas, midwives, anyone supporting pregnancy and birth). Now, with the retreat just around the corner, I'm feeling a more mixed bag of emotions.
I'm thrilled to be in such a sacred space, surrounded by the members of The Farm Community (it's an intentional community in addition to being a place where expectant women come to give birth, after which they return to their own homes). I have never lived in intentional community, though I think often how wonderful it'd be to live in close proximity to our dear friends, supporting each other in our parenting and personal journeys.
I'm also a bit nervous to go off on my own, solo camping on the property (I'm not sure what to expect here- will I be on the property of a nearby cabin? Will I be in a meadow or in the woods?). What if I forget something critical? What if bring too much?
My youngest is still nursing, and while I'm enjoying our nursing relationship, I'm also curious whether our time apart will push us further into the weaning process.
I have never been away from my family, on my own, like this before. If I've attended workshops or trainings, I see them in the morning and evening. I am going to be without my pack for about four days. Yeah, this may not seem like a lot; I know parents that travel regularly for work, school or other reasons, and all is fine. But just like birth and parenting, I realize that my feelings associated with traveling are valid, even if it's someone else's normal.
I'm going to be surrounded by other women that have chosen to immerse themselves in work that supports pregnancy, birth and "the fourth trimester". The work we do stays with us, even when we're not accompanying a woman in labor or witnessing her breastfeeding her child. All of us have been in more challenging situations, where we feel helpless or worried. And yet we (birthworkers) choose to continue in this line of work. When we're on-call, it's not a just a job, but rather a lifestyle. We spend, potentially, five weeks prepared to leave what we're doing, reschedule our day or jump out of bed, all in order to support an expectant family. Being at the retreat, I imagine it'll feel heavy at times, to possibly hear each other's stories, provide loving support and encouragement, all while honoring the stories that we carry with us.
I have wondered whether I'll be interested in documenting my time away, and I don't think I'll know until I'm there. So, keep checking back to see if there are pictures and posts up, documenting my journey to The Farm!