Along with the huge change in location this summer, I have (so happily) implemented some change in my career course.
A habitual prayer of mine is that I will know what God wants me to do with the things He has given me--time, my family, my health, my knowledge, and my talents. I firmly believe that all good things are from God. I don't want to waste or discount what has been given. Even more, I want to discover the things that make me ME. In short, I am getting to know myself better with each one of those prayers. And the better I know myself, the better I serve the people I love.
After the (amazing, life-changing, course-correcting) Breathe Intensive, I felt that with my Mothers project, my increased leaning and beginning towards birth photography, and my renewed motivation, I was exactly where I needed to be.
But I felt like I was missing something. Some piece of the whole picture. Something more.
I prayed and listened. I wrote, I pondered, and I puzzled until my puzzler was sore. What is it? I asked. What am I looking for?
And the answer came after weeks of this process, quietly but with unmistakable impact. It came in the form of a funny, made-up word, doulographer, one for which I wish I had the copyright. (Let's assume I do, considering no one else has nabbed it yet. Hey, nabbers! Don't nab! It's mine!)
Doula + photographer = Doulographer
A doula. I needed to become a doula.
I took this answer and held onto it for a while. I prayed some more, and listened some more. I tried it on for size, visualizing myself attending the births of friends, and then people I don't yet know. I held a newborn or two (haha) and inspected their sweet faces, thinking about the lengths their mothers had gone to in order to bring them here. And then finally, I asked: Should I become a doula?
And it was like the YES was spoken to my soul. I knew it. I knew it and I cried with relief, feeling that at last I had found the missing part of the whole picture.
I will continue with my photography in full-force. This is not a replacement to my photography, but a supplement. And while I don't think I could do a good job at both at the same time, I am happy to do either.
I'm happy that as a photographer I will have this added credential. I recognize that to ask a mother to allow me to photograph her birth is enormous. For her to say yes is for her to trust me implicitly, to ask me to be present during one of the most sacred moments of her life. I want to have something concrete to my name when I ask for that privilege, something to accompany my photos.
I have ordered and received my application packet, and from April 18th, I have two years to complete all the steps necessary to certification. I am reading the first book on the reading list, and communicating enthusiastically with one of my doula-friends through email. I feel so decided with this. I don't really see the end-product of all of this, or where I'm ultimately going. I don't care. All I know is that this is where I am supposed to be. Here, now, doing what I'm doing, which is something immeasurably comforting.
It's like coming home, making this choice and moving in this direction. A couple of days ago on the phone, my mom told me that I have a few ancestors who were photographers, and (at least) one who was a midwife. It makes my heart soar to think that perhaps I'm just doing what is only natural to me....I always wanted to say, "It's what I do....it's in my blood." :D
I do have a long way to go. But I can't wait.