I have been reminded with pictures of my car with the desert in the background, or from my car, with the same, of images with the rolling hills of rural Kentucky, of the ocean in Rhode Island… (Pictures with my kids have been omitted, my 14-year-old doesn’t want them shared.)
I realized while driving another thousand miles without thinking much about it before, that this whole self-care thing had to include car care – because as a Birth Worker, I was dependent on the vehicle I drive to get me to the families I serve, no matter where they are.
My little Kia Soul is nicknamed “Scarlett” and is a little red 5 door car, that has seen both sides of the country – the Pacific Coast, and finally this last week, the Atlantic Coast. She has the cargo space I need for what I do, has been faithful in being able to carry two young people, one now a teen, and the other coming up on being a teen, more cargo than you’d think would fit into a little car, and has never failed to get us to where we need to go reliably.
Without the proper care and maintenance, that car couldn’t do what I need of it, and I wouldn’t be able to support the families I do – including my own. It makes me realize that I need to do the same for my self as the car is in some ways an extension of me with regard to being able to get to the families that need me.
So just like regular oil changes, wiper changes, fluid upkeep and other assorted things the car needs, I have to remember to drink enough fluids, eat healthily and get adequate rest when I can. As a birth worker, your vehicle is the vessel that carries your body to where the families you serve need you at, no matter what type of birth they are having. Don’t you think maybe you should take just as good of care of your car as you do to your body?
I think you and your car are worth it, and I hope you do too, so when you think of self-care, don’t just think of that extra glass of water. Think of tires being inflated well and oil being changed so you can get where you need to go without additional stress. You will likely appreciate it, beyond words, in the long run
Annie Hill is a Traditional Midwife in the Midwest, as well as the head of the Madriella Doula Network’s Advisory Board. She splits her time currently between St. Louis and rural Kentucky and has recently developed a fond appreciation for water heaters, and central heat/air. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org for scheduling hands-on workshops for Madriella (and other organizations – you don’t have to be a Madriella Doula Network member to appreciate a hands-on training,) Doula students.