Fall 2015

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This fall has been an utter whirlwind – just like every fall in Boston. I always tell people that it’s my least favorite season (and it is) because unlike any city I’ve lived in before – all below the Mason Dixon line till here – Boston crams all its activities into the fall. In Florida, there are four ‘seasons’ to evenly separate fun, but with the looming winter, and summer vacations done, fall seems to be the time of year that Bostonians not only love, but need, their pumpkin-spiced lattes just to keep the pace.

This fall I’ve tried really hard to not overwhelm our calendar, but with family in town, birthdays, Bradley, ARE tests, and trying to see all our friends before we’re under several feet of snow, it’s proved to be difficult, but manageable. Even looking back on last fall, I keep thinking ‘why did we do so much?’. I know I tried to cram in everything we could possibly do into my third trimester, but even thinking about how overwhelming it was makes me cringe and hope that next fall we do an even better job of not stacking our plates to the brim and won’t be so eager to dive into more.

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But I’m going to type the scariest sentence I’ve written on here in awhile, which completely contradicts my last one – I’m thinking of going to midwifery school. To even say that I’m ‘thinking’ about it feels like I’ve just let you all see me in my underwear or royally embarrassed myself publicly. I actually went to an Open House at Birthwise Midwifery School this Monday while my Dad and Grandma were here and it felt completely surreal to sit amongst a group of women who are passionate about supporting women in natural, normal, low-risk birth (and who Isaac enjoyed flirting with between feeds and playing with Mike).

As we went around the room introducing ourselves and sharing our stories, my eyes started to well up with those tears that sit behind your eyes. Anytime my typical routine is broken, there is a vacation-nuance to the day, but this felt extra special. Unlike running errands alone, this was an opportunity to just sit, and listen, and drink my tea hot while absorbing all that I could from this wonderful program based in Bridgton, Maine. I’d been feeling particularly lonely and like there was no good place for me to fit this fall and this somehow filled the gaping hole I had in my heart for work that so few of my close friends and family appreciate.

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I was in Hippy Heaven thinking about Jesus and my kids while discussing vulvas and pelvic floor anatomy, and I couldn’t believe that there was such a disparity between my passions and pursuits. I felt like my loneliness was in some ways masked for a day, and in other ways, exposed to a greater depth. It felt messier, harder, less obvious. I felt like I was too square for the round hole and too round for the square one – I could fit, squeeze, bend, but nothing would let me fit beautifully. There was no perfect answer or group or place. There were groups or places that would understand aspects of my heart, but only to the degree that they could grasp and support. And so a little after 2, I made the trek back to Boston with Isaac and Mike, back to Marin, my Dad, and Grandma, and to my Christian non-crunchy friends and my non-Christian crunchy friends. Back to my reality.

There are no days off with three-year-olds – and Marin could not wait to see me and tell me how much she missed me. She pent up a day’s worth of emotions to let out by dinner, and there were the “she didn’t do this before Isaac”’s quickly stomped by the “she wasn’t three before Isaac”’s. I didn’t talk a lot about going to Birthwise publicly or out loud, but it loomed at the forefront of my mind – and so did the possibility of attending. I could go part-time, over 6 years, but then who wants to study 2.5 hours/day for SIX YEARS? I could go full-time, and Marin could go to preschool, but what about Isaac and then what about more kids? I could space my kids out? But I have no desire to do that. I could have less kids? But I don’t want to do that. I could go later? But then I’d miss memories with my older children after naps are in the past and we can go on road trips or I’m preparing my high schoolers for adulthood. I could wait till my nest empties, but that’s 30 years out and I’d miss all the amazing strides home birth and maternity care are making and the activism surrounding it and maybe, just maybe, I’d want to sleep by then.

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What I came to realize was that deep down, I just wished I could be 21 and I could just go, and my strategic heart could be efficient and get it done in the 3 years it would take to complete normally. That I wasn’t helping support Mike’s career or raise small humans or volunteer when this conversation took place. That it was free – so that if I made the wrong choice, there wouldn’t be a financial consequence. That I only had to be responsible for me. And if I went a little deeper, that I trusted Jesus still with it all.

I told Mike – “I just need to write. If I could just write, I could process this trip”. And so here I am typing my brain onto our computer, spilling my guts, and emptying out my heart that so desperately needs to be reminded that God is for me, and His plans are better than my own, and that somehow this is going to pan out better than I anticipated. That I’m not 21, and I have two kids and a husband at 28, and that God didn’t put me in a box when that happened, but He did trust me with stewarding those relationships well, and I’m going to (continue to) do that. That in 30 years, I’ll look back and think of how little faith I had for a God who cares deeply about me and has paved the way for my calling on this earth. I’m taking the long, prayerful road because I recognize there is no peace to be found in the plans and strategies I make for myself and I’ll be tormented by my own logic.

I am lonely and I’m in need of a good friend in fall, and Jesus is that friend if I let Him. So that’s where I’m at. Don’t hold your breath for me to become a midwife, but don’t be surprised if I do. 23 711 121315

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One thought on “Fall 2015

  1. thejaneite says:

    Ashley, reading this made me so proud of you, so proud to call you my friend, so humbled in terms of my own uncertainty about the future, and so excited to see what God does have for you. I hate that that feels so cliched to say, because I’ve been doing a lot of thinking recently about the passions God gives us, the ones that are clearly from him. and I feel that your passion for women and birth and all that those entail (while not things I have an interest in) are amazing and inspiring passions and can glorify God. which is the cool thing- I really do love that he gives us such diverse desires and longings. what’s harder to love is when those desires seem to conflict with each other. thank you for listening to him and sharing about it, because it reminds me to do the same. your drive and your passion are amazing and I know God will use them for his glory and your enrichment somehow. even if it is hard for now.

    ~Lydia

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