My kids have been back in school for a few weeks, and well, so have I. Actually, I started taking some online classes this summer at my local university. I was nervous to go back to school, twenty years after graduating with my degree from the University of Utah. What I have found is that I still know how to do the school thing. But I chuckle to myself when I have to type in my online introduction. I should probably just start with, “So I’m probably one of the oldest people in this class, if not the oldest.” It isn’t too hard to guess that from me saying I am a mother to six children.
One thing I noticed through the years of teaching childbirth classes is that I would get more than my share of university professors and students in my classes. And now I know why, evidence based research is highly emphasized on college campuses. University folk tend to want to educate themselves on the topic more than someone outside an academic setting. And they are great for giving referrals.
The truth is, I am actually enjoying the experience more this time around. It is nice to take one or two classes at a time and really soak in the material. Life experience really does count. The two psychology courses I took this summer emphasized how internalizing the concepts and applying them to real life is what will help us remember them. I just have more life experience to apply them to now.
I’m not going to lie. I am mourning the passing of the stage of life of having babies. At the same time I am excited for what lies ahead. It is a whole new chapter I am beginning and I’m not exactly sure where it will lead. I just know that for now I’m on the right path with taking prerequisites for the nursing program. In one way or another I will continue with my love for childbirth and mothering. In the midst of taking classes this summer I was blessed to be present for five beautiful births as a doula, each so unique and different, each with their own rich lessons to leave me with.
This fall I am taking a Library Sciences course. I love it. I finally have better tools to tackle a project that I have wanted to do for a few years now, researching the history of midwives in Idaho. I had little pieces here and there but with the added knowledge from how to search and organize from my class, I now have a list of over twenty midwives. While that is encouraging, I still need more and better sources so, just in case you have any information, I am asking for stories of Idaho midwives whether they be pioneer, settlers, immigrants, or Native American. I have really struggled to find stories of Native Americans because they passed on information orally. So if you have any hints for me of where to look, I would really appreciate it.
Why am I doing this? Karen Cornwall Madsen was able to put it into words for me:
The century-long struggle of women to gain legal equity and political equality, to obtain opportunities for education and economic self-reliance, as well as their ubiquitous efforts to address social welfare and community needs are all stories formerly excluded but integral to what we call American history. Moreover, they are fascinating accounts that introduce a whole roster of intelligent, capable, articulate, and imaginative women into the pantheon of American heroes. We women today are their heirs, beneficiaries of their convictions and their courage to turn those convictions into reality. If one is left a legacy from an unknown source, there is usually a natural curiosity to know the identity of that source and to discover the connections that have linked them together. This kind of curiosity has driven the interest in women’s historians to connect with their own past and to write the missing pages of history. They are not like physicians dispassionately dissecting the corpse of history. They are both intellectually and emotionally connected to their task. As women, our lives have been shaped by our collective history. It has given us “a usable past,” a frame of reference in which we can better understand ourselves and our own personal histories. To be deprived of that past is indeed a loss of an enriching and motivating spirit. (“History: A Journey of Discovery,” September 29, 1998.)
Wish me luck!