Self-Care? Just Do It!

I think I finally figured it out...

That elusive “self-care” ideal, I think I’ve figured it out! (Hint: It’s actually simple. Sometimes we make things harder for ourselves then they need to be)

That said I’m at a crossroads, as I see the end of my schooling in the horizon and the beginning of of a thriving midwifery practice in view, I’m in the middle of a “pause”.  

I’m currently “off-call” and using this time to rest, reflect, heal and reset.

My hope was that this 3-week period with no expected births, no prenatal or postpartum visits and unlimited family time, would be the exact right amount of time to refuel before going back on-call in the thick of a new school year starting for my kids, new demands, new opportunities and an impending September “birth storm”. I started getting worried however, when I found my first several days off-call with me able to do little but sleep, eat, and sleep some more. Some days it felt like I slept on and off all day. ‘

Maybe that's fine for some folks, but as a mom of 6, off-call doesn't mean off-call of my mothering.  It usually means that I have more time to actually spend with my children, and I set expectations for myself that all of it will be quality time. But for several days, I had my children occupied in all sorts of ways (including allowing a ton of screen time...I feel icky even saying it but it’s true) while I stayed in bed.  The scary part was that I really couldn't get out of bed...I was experiencing true, total and utter exhaustion.

Being on-call takes everything out of you. You don't have the luxury of going out of town while you wait on babies to be born, even getting a massage or checking into a spa for a bit is problematic because your phone needs to be with you and on at all times, plus it’s really hard to completely relax when you know that someone could call you or need you at any moment.

That said, my crossroads moment while I’m off call is to really figure out and bring in solutions to my life, that will enable me to feel more balanced, healthier and filled, as opposed to walking around on high alert, stressed, overwhelmed and depleted, and here is the catch, EVEN when I’m on-call.

How do I make balance, ease and grace a part of my life overall? How can I avoid burn-out, even while living a demanding life as mother, grandmother,partner, friend, lactation consultant AND midwife?  This is my challenge....and as I prepare for this final PUSH, while I have a moment to myself, my desire is to have this balance and self-care thing all figured out.

Last night, after showing my husband a powerful video on how yoga therapy helped an 86-year old woman with scoliosis straighten out her spine,(see it here  he gave me the simplest and most on-point suggestion. “Why don't you get a yoga mat and set it up in front of the TV and follow along to a few yoga videos when you are up early in the morning. You’re usually up before everybody else, and so that's some good private time for you.”

DUH!!!!!!! Why hadn't I thought of that?  As a matter of fact, I had 5 new yoga mats in my car I had purchased sometime ago for a mom’s class I was teaching. I didn't need to buy anything, didn't need to sign up for a class, none of that.  All I needed was my willingness to set aside some time for me. Well I’m happy to report that through the power of Youtube (and my own gumption) I treated myself to the most delicious yoga class this morning. It.Felt.Great!

It was easy to  search for a yogini that felt relevant and nurturing and since I had been hearing alot about kemetic yoga i searched for a beginner kemetic yoga video and found Watch the video I practiced with this morning here

Choosing a beginner class was ideal because even after doing yoga regularly for several years (before I fell off my self-care wagon), it challenging to do even the most simple poses!  That said the gentle stretches felt amazing and I felt my body start to “wake-up” in the process.

As a person of color the kemetic poses are so affirming!  I felt connected through the ages to the ancient practitioners of Kemet with poses mirroring things you would see in hieroglyphics or in ancient Egyptian stone reliefs.  I felt powerful and whole. The intention is now set for me to complete this practice everyday. I walked around the walking track across the street from my home a couple of times too, to get the juices flowing before completing the 45-min practice.  What a beautiful way to start my day.

While in the poses my mind scanned over my body, and noted all of the places i was having aches, pains, stiffness and dis-ease.  I sent love to those areas and compassion too. I felt tears release as my muscles softened...reminding me that pent-up emotions are stored in the body and need to be released on a regular basis and that is another benefit of exercise. I also felt into those areas and remembered that I have other tools at my disposal for my healing. I remembered how good it felt to receive acupuncture and vowed to call one of the many acupuncturists I know for a session, an adjustment from my favorite chiropractor and oh yeah, that massage I’ve been wanting...that needs to be hooked up. On a regular basis, that’s the key!

I’m writing this for me, but I’m writing this for you too.  I must practice what I preach, self-care, self-care, self-care, everyday!  Somehow, someway!  Even a little dab will do ya!

Follow me on my journey and watch me grow. I’d love to hear about your self-care journey too. Please share!  Cause you know what?  We’re in this together.

Wishing you Love, Peace, Wholeness and Well-Being!

Until next time....




This Crazy Life...

I have grown to love Facebook, posting lots of pictures and comments along with the rest of you, sharing my world and having a glimpse into yours. There's so much to love about it for a social butterfly like me.  But lately I am at a loss at what to post that could represent what is going on in my life as it is right now.  Not only as a mom of six, and all the different ages and stages of children (some of them adults), a grandmother, a member of the "Sandwich-Generation", an ex-wife and wife, a sister, a daughter...but also as a student midwife, determined to make 2016 my last year of schooling so that I can take my exam and get my license to practice midwifery.

Many of the moments I’d love to share are nowhere to be found in the camera app on my trusty Iphone.  They are moments that my eyes have had the glory of seeing, where being in the moment and present to it, would have been destroyed or impossible to experience if I grabbed my device and taken a pic. I am content in that, knowing that my witnessing in itself has etched a memory into my heart that is more felt than anything.  Moments that grow me from the inside out and change my DNA for the better.

So to that end, some of the most profound and glorious moments i have ever experienced as a human life on this planet have no corresponding photographs. Sometimes I have to admit that I do wish you could see some of the things that I get to  see doing this crazy “job”....

Especially those of you who are angry, heartbroken, depressed, confused. Some of the things I've seen will give you true hope in humanity. (I think we all have moments in which we are not sure about us humans these days!) A wonderful supported human entrance into the world is an amazing antidote to anger, fear and frustration.

Becoming a licensed midwife is not just my calling or my business and additional income stream sometime in the future. It’s become my obsession. There is nothing else I think of (besides my family) to such a great degree these days.  My closest comrades are women and men I work with who all share this crazy passion.  Together we are a willing audience to discuss placentas and babies, vaginas and umbilical cords, partners and uteruses, hospital and home births, breastmilk and sleep deprivation, being on call and juggling it all.

It’s a life of sacrifice and dedication. I never considered myself particularly disciplined. However,midwifery is a discipline I've been forced to succumb to, if I want to continue to revel in its deep beauty. It is molding me, yet again so that I can be of service to it. It’s a strict taskmaster with high rewards and great responsibility. It’s the one thing I know how to do that I truly believe makes this planet a better place to be on

Birth of a Midwife

To me, Midwifery has been like raising a child. At times, it demands all of your attention, its totally inconvenient and can be challenging to manage. It keeps you up at night and lets you get very little sleep. It’s got a life of it’s own and you’ve just got to be willing to get on that train and ride it!  It’s unpredictable! It makes you have to think on your feet and manage ever changing events unfolding right before your eyes.  You must constantly choose whether to wait or step in. You hold the space for precious life with your hands, your heart, your wisdom, your spirit, your entire being. Your life becomes inseparable from its life.  You are born again with every birth experience.

It's a symbiosis.

I’ve walked with this child, many long years already..I received my “calling” at a time in my life when my now 18 year-old daughter (my third child) was sitting on my knee, as a wee babe of six months old.  It has taken all these years, all of the myriad of experiences I’ve had as a mother,  lactation consultant and birthworker to bring me to this point.  This is my last year of schooling on my midwifery journey, and now, I am excited to announce that I have stepped into the role as Primary Student Midwife under Supervision.  

What does that mean, you might ask? Well it means that I am still a student, however, one in my last stages of training.  I can work more closely with my preceptors in your care during pregnancy, birth and postpartum.  As a Student, I am always assisted and supervised by one of my amazing preceptors (teachers) both of whom are Licensed Midwives with many years of experience.  

This important last step in our clinical trainings is a necessary one for all students of birth.  It’s such a gift when a family allows a trainee, however knowledgeable, to participate in the process of their families birth experience.

As midwives and students, we tend to work in partnerships. My preceptors and I have already had many years of working together. In collaboration we enjoy witnessing and supporting births and families together!

If you are interested in learning more about midwifery care with the wonderful midwives that I work with, please contact them through their website or email.

Heather Schwarz, LM, CPM
Birthing Spirit Midwifery

Aleksandra Evangueldi, LM CPM


Photos by: Rebecca Coursey