A look back and a look forward

I don’t know how to label this post “A look back and a look forward” for SEO purposes, which seems fitting when looking back over a year like 2020. As I sit here thinking as I write, I find myself having to move through the feelings of shock in order for the thoughts to come through. Plus, I am writing this from my COVID sick room.

A look back

2020 began with much gusto and big plans for me. I’d just sat for the Lamaze exam and was looking forward to aligning my childbirth curriculum with Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices. It was a great start to the year. Virtual Lamaze classes will begin early in 2021. Stay Tuned!

So it was time to the door for another long hoped for dream. I registered for the intensive week-program to become a Lactation Counselor in Chattanooga in March. I had my calendar worked out, and lined up a place to stay. On a very blustery March morning, I loaded all my food, study materials, and clothes for the week and off I went. I wish I could describe how I felt. This really was happening!

Certified Lactation counselor
TN River in Chattanooga

Until it wasn’t. COVID shutdown went into place after one day. Tuesday morning, I met others coming out of the conference center. We were finished. It had taken me years to get to the place. Now what? Second bad news – no refund on my airbnb for the rest of the week. Heartbroken over this long awaited dream, I wondered how I would manage to do all this again.

I loaded my things and started driving home. It was an eerie drive. Traffic was sparse. Businesses had closed. It was hard to find a drink on the road or a place to go to the bathroom. It felt ghostly.

In the U.S., we are never supposed to slow down. Work is everything. Too often, it is how we place value. Suddenly all of that changed. We joined the same gigantic pandemic ocean as the rest of the world; yet at the same time, everything got smaller.

Nashville doulas

Families were discovering each other in ways that cannot happen with go go go lifestyles. And, they found they liked it. Driving became pleasant as people were relieved from the frantic pace. There was collective deep breathing.

Even the earth breathed and the skies cleared of pollution.

As the air became cleaner, other things changed, too. Homeschooling became acceptable and homebirth was sought as more than ever. Many learned they enjoy gardening, cooking, and even sewing! And we all learned to properly respect toilet paper.

People began supporting each other through these uncertain times. It was lovely. I gained new comraderies with some doula sisters as they walked with me to support a special baby. As one year left and the other came, they came to the rescue again to support my clients when the virus appeared in my home. These relationships are new treasures in my heart.

My lactation course went online, and I’m working through it now. That dream is going to happen!

Yet, there were losses:

  • Loss of lives
  • Human touch stopped
  • Loss of fellowship and community
  • Peace of mind was lost
  • New mother lost postpartum support

Fear was a driving force in 2020. Fear is a horrible taskmaster – especially surrounding birth.

If you’ve lasted through these ramblings, thank you. My wish for us all for this New Year is to leave the fear behind. Let’s take forward the good – the newfound home connections and the things we did to nourish our spirits. I’d take the polite driving and clear air, too, please if that were possible.

I look forward to the new families I’ll meet, support, and grow to love this year. I look forward to growing connections personally and professionally.

For 2021, I hope we can all remember to stop and smell the roses. And as I sit here typing with COVID, I literally hope we can all smell the roses.

Marcie Hadley, CD(DONA), PCD(DONA), CLC, and LCCE(LAMAZE), has been serving families since 2010. She especially enjoys getting to know her families, meeting their unique needs, and sharing evidence-based care information. Marcie has worked with unmedicated, medicated, C-section, family friendly C-Section, and VBAC labors, Her postpartum experience includes working with families of first children to families of 10. She has worked with mothers who have experienced postpartum depression and illness following birth. Her goal is to empower mothers in their own mothering wisdom.

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