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Everybody knows someone like this: on paper – their life is the picture of perfection: a great relationship, financial stability, a beautiful home, and a job “most people would kill for” – yet, they’re unhappy.
This was me, and my job was working on the editorial page at the biggest newspaper in town.
But something was missing. That zing, that thing that gets you out of bed every morning – it wasn’t there.
“This can’t be the reason I’m alive”, I’d think to myself.
I longed to be one of those people that didn’t think of their job as “work”.
Photography, interior design, food – these were all things that interested me, though nothing I wanted to make a career out of. I continued quietly thinking about what would fulfill me, unsure of what I would do next.
Then I had a dream.
A dream that prompted me to go to the library and check out every book they had about pregnancy, childbirth, and mothering. This was a complete 180 for me. Prior to this day I’d had zero interest in anything related to women’s health. My knowledge of pregnancy consisted of what the media had fed me – birth was a horrid, bloody pain fest and parenting was an act of wrangling controlling tiny assholes while downing glasses of wine and picking cheerios out your couch cushions.
Nothing I wanted any part of, ever.
All of that wildly shifted as I started actually learning about birth. In one of my library books I read the description of a doula, a word I had never heard before. And that was it. That’s what I was supposed to do.
A month later, without a client or a business plan or any money saved, I quit my well paying job at the newspaper and dove head first into birth work. It wasn’t a decision I made, there was no pro/con list, no debate, no going back and forth. It just was. There was no option except forward. It was a force bigger than me, stronger than my logical brain. It wasn’t “failure is not an option” – failure was a concept that never even entered my consciousness.
Everything snowballed from there.
Realizing all that I thought I knew about birth was a lie, I wondered what else I thought I knew that wasn’t true. It turns out the answer was….
E V E R Y T H I N G
- The food I was eating (skim milk, white bread, processed food, the worst),
- The relationship I was in (typical monogamous union full of the standard lies and compromises, lacking emotional transparency)
- The garbage I was slathering on my skin (toxic make-up, lotion, shampoo, etc.)
- All the friendships I was maintaining out of habit or obligation
And suddenly, I was happy. I had let things go, stopped caring what people thought, had free time, opportunities, inspiration, energy, new friends, great ideas. Space had been cleared for it all to come in.
That was 9 years ago, and it was literally the first day of the rest of my life.
I’m not special. What happened to me isn’t luck or a fluke – we all have it within ourselves - the ability to transform our lives in this way if we just get quiet and listen. If we go forward with a sense of wonder instead of a long list of reasons why not.