“Write about the weekend” has been sitting on my to-do list since Monday, and it must move along before another weekend goes by. So here we go.
I spent last weekend at a midwives retreat with women of all ages and backgrounds – from daughters of midwives, supporters of midwives, aspiring midwives, midwives with many years of experience. Where do I fit in that list? As an aspiring midwife and an active midwifery supporter. An explanation of that could take over this little effort before you could say “baby,” so I’ll leave it at that for now.
The weekend was a time of refreshment, fellowship, learning, and doing. What a joy to be with a group of diverse women who can relax, enjoy their commonalities, set aside their differences, and learn, grow, and work together.
WORK – We spent hours working together on a bill to put before the state legislature next session. The group that hosted the retreat uses Formal Consensus in it’s decision making, allowing everyone to speak their minds, one at a time, in a respectful way, until the group comes to an agreement about each decision. It is a tool that facilitates effective discussion and insures that everyone has an opportunity to have their voice heard and their questions answered. To participant in getting “up to our elbows” in this work on next year’s legislation and to see the respect and thoughtfulness with which we plowed through it was truly a privilege. We also worked out a Legislative Values Statement – a list of “deal-breakers” which will give clarity of thought as we work toward making midwives legal in our state.
From my perspective, my part in the work of the weekend was to represent the mothers and fathers who support and/or use the services of the midwives, as well as to get to know the midwives on a deeper level and come to a better understanding of their needs and concerns. A humbling task, but one that was a joy. The midwives were respectful of and attentive to everything I had to share. It was fun and encouraging to get to know many of them more closely.
LEARNING – There were two fascinating workshops that I attended. One was on the Placenta – its function and how to deal with potential difficulties. The other was on Shoulder Dystocia and was immensely practical. This probably isn’t an appropriate place to go into more detail, so I’ll just say that I enjoyed my first taste of that type of teaching.
REFRESHMENT AND FELLOWSHIP – /nod. That about sums up the rest of the weekend! Originally we had planned to go down Friday evening with all the Blessings so I could participate in the legislative discussion, and then drive home on Saturday. However, Friday morning we realized it was far to hot to torture the children with eight hours of driving (round trip) with no A/C. After calling around, I was able to ride down with someone from my area whom I had never met in person. I’m not sure we needed gas in the tank of the car; we might have done just fine on the power of our chatting. It was a fun ride.
Because I rode with someone who wasn’t planning to come home until the retreat was over on Sunday, I got to stay the whole weekend, which was priceless. I was able to truly bond with the women there; to be encouraged and to hopefully encourage others. I was personally refreshed in a way I never expected, to the degree that all day Monday while I was running around doing the “Headless Chicken” routine… I wasn’t even bothered by it! I was refreshed physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. And I was challenged to new growth in areas I wouldn’t have guessed ahead of time.
So there you have it – my fabulous weekend!