Have you ever felt so tired inside and out that you just wanted to cry but…couldn’t?
It’s not depression. I’m not depressed. I get out of bed. I go through with my day. I find enjoyment in small things. I just feel…exhausted.
This isn’t news either, I realize. I’m working a 40-hour a week job in which I see an average of 35 patients a day, I commute 40 minutes by public transit each way, I’m taking a class every Sunday for three hours and I am actively interviewing, meeting with clients and attending births at all hours. Even as I write this, I feel guilty saying that this is ‘busy’ since I’m not shuttling kids around all day. Still, I feel so busy and just tired.
I’m doing such awesome things though you guys. I am seeing BABIES BORN. I’m watching moms become moms and dads become dads. I get to see dads go from disinterested or unsure to, “HOLY CRAP!? That’s my SON!” then racing to cut the cord. I talk to loving nurses and doctors who very clearly want the best for my clients, regardless of what they’d do. I get to help women see how amazingly capable they are and see them fall in love within seconds. It’s so ridiculously wonderful and by far some of the best moments of my work.
The flip side to that is…I see a lot of not so fun stuff. I am having trouble walking away from each birth after seeing care providers disrespect my clients, knowing it didn’t have to be like that. Hearing someone say, “Well you’re ONLY three centimeters…” and then walk out of the room. Seeing them perform vaginal exams without even asking before penetration. I see family members trying so hard to convince their daughters to just, ‘take the drugs’ and ‘why do you want to suffer?’ I see a lack of lactation support in hospitals, a lack of true, unbiased childbirth education, I see a lot of scared women who are not being helped by their friends’ horror stories of how awful their labor was, how tired they were after their baby was born, how badly it will hurt and how their life is over.
So. Naturally. Sometimes, the bad outweighs the good. I can’t seem to step away from each birth and feel like I really helped. Instead, I walk away feeling like it could have been different and I couldn’t help MORE. This is primarily why I suspect I’ll be applying to Midwifery School in the next couple years. Once I get some other things settled – I really think it’s the only way for me to really change the system. As a mentor of mine said, at least if I were their care provider, I’d know that they were treated with respect and would be heard. I at least would know that someone believed in their bodies.
What I am finding is that…I am struggling to open up. I’m struggling with all of this inside. The good, the bad and the ugly – all wrapped up inside. I sat in a circle of amazing doulas last night, listening to birth stories. Some were so beautiful and wonderful, while others were absolutely tragic. I was so proud to listen to these beautiful women tell the stories they’d been a part of and was blessed to support them. Even through all of this – I felt alone. I felt like I didn’t belong and didn’t fit in. I found myself wanting to share but not being able to figure out WHY I wanted to share. I just wanted to talk. As a particularly hard memory from my last birth popped up, someone I didn’t know well looked me in the eye and said, “You know, if you need one of us to cover you for even an hour during a birth, so you can take care of yourself, you need to do it.”
In that moment, I wanted to go off and talk to her. There was something about this person’s energy and spirit that I just…felt safe with. I had felt so alone that night, in the midst of all this love, but in that moment I just felt like I needed to cling to her. Instead, I gave her a hug before I left and made a note to email her a thank you today. I cried when I left the workshop because I felt like I didn’t know how to make deep, meaningful friendships. The kind where I don’t feel guilty calling them and needing them. I NEVER feel bad when someone needs me, but…it’s different. It’s me. I’m too much for anyone.
So. I’m struggling with just being emotionally tired. Exhausted. Worn out. I can’t stop being a doula, taking classes or reading about birth because it really feels like who I am inside. I can’t stop working the paying job even though it’s crazy because I make decent money for us and they love me there. I love my patients. I’m not quite sure where to go.
I just am finding it hard to reach out and say I need a hug – without some REASON for needing to talk and hug. Just because isn’t enough for me. I had no idea I struggled so hard with being vulnerable but apparently I do. I worry too intensely about what someone will think of me, will my thoughts be crazy or too spinny. I don’t even contact my own mentor that gets PAID to help me because…I just don’t know what to do. What to say. Why we are meeting. Then it makes me anxious.
I came home early from work today at 3pm and crashed. For 2 hours. I’ve been weepy ever since but I think it will pass.
I’m just really tired y’all. Thanks for keeping this space open for me.