Failure is a pretty big thing. Trying something and having it end badly is horrible, but even worse is the fear that comes with failure. Sometimes this fear prevents us from beginning anything, sometimes fear cripples us halfway through, often when we're just about to succeed. I was going to give an potential example of that about my mother driving on the St. Catherine's Skyway, but then decided that I didn't need to give her any bad ideas. :) Failure in and of itself isn't necessarily a bad thing. But the fear attached to it can wound and even kill our potential, hopes and dreams.
I've been thinking a lot about failure because I'm embarking on a new course. Most likely this will be what I do for the rest of my life. Somewhere on the transition from scared, panicked absolutely clueless single mom to (mostly) confident mom of three, I've fallen in love with birth. I'm fascinated by the process and how every woman is unique and different, especially when it comes to bringing new life into the world. Over the weekend, I spent about 16 hours talking about birth, researching birth, and watching videos about birth. We even did birth art after interviewing a woman who had given birth. My hope is to become a fully certified doula and specialize in teen and unsupported/crisis pregnancies. Eventually, when my children are much older, I would like to apply to midwifery school.
What's interesting is that this dream itself came out of failure. I got pregnant right before my 21st birthday. I wasn't married, wasn't even exactly dating my not-then-boyfriend. We had been together for about 4 years, but that time was mostly off. Our relationship was extremely rocky. My parents were not impressed. I was terrified, overwhelmed and sleep-deprived. I knew nothing about pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. I knew nothing about parenting. Thankfully my next-door neighbour was also pregnant and took me under her wing. Thanks to her I learned about breastfeeding, natural childbirth, babywearing, co-sleeping, attachment parenting and most importantly midwifery. Thanks to my unexpected pregnancy, I developed a passion for teen moms and those in crisis during pregnancy. I also found a new community with many moms where I found great support during those early days of "what on earth am I doing?!?" Motherhood did not come naturally to me!
Today I did a lot of thinking and came to accept that failure is okay. When I fail, I learn. That's how I cook after all. The first time I make a recipe something always goes wrong, even if it's just me doing something the hardest possible way. The more I do it, the better I become. Or I learn that no matter how many times I try to eat salmon, it still makes me sick. Failure is a key component in the process of self-discovery and refinement. How I handle failure is very important to my sense of self. Do I take all the blame? Do I take any of the blame? Do I stay hindered by fear? How do I reframe this experience and learn from it?
Believe it or not, this is what I'm thankful for today. My fear of failing and feeling like a failure has receded quite a lot today. And I took a big step in conquering my fears by contacting a local midwife for a tea date. One step at a time, I will get this done and go where God wants me without being strangled by fear. This is a huge change from last night's attitude. My wonderful husband will be soo happy! :)