A few weeks ago, my husband and I were blessed with giving birth to our new son. We are thrilled to welcome this new beautiful person into our family and to the world! I want to share some of my birth experience with you (no, not the gory stuff!), since there are so many wonderful experiences and lessons I learned and thought you might appreciate as well. I will be sharing these thoughts and experiences in parts and wanted to start by sharing what I learned from the midwives who helped to deliver our son.
This is my first time giving birth here in Israel and I was a bit nervous to give birth here, as the system here is so different than the one I was used to in the US. Knowing that there were many things out of my control in this situation – like who my midwife would be, what my labor was going to be like, and what the hospital care here in Israel is like, I figured the best thing I could do was focus on what was in my control – to stay present with myself and with my body, communicate with my husband, pray….and breathe. A lot. I was prepared to do all of these things, and then a week before my due date, a good friend of mine notified me that the staff at the hospital I was registered to give birth was on strike. I was definitely NOT prepared for that, but again, stayed focused only on what WAS in my control.
My husband called the hospital everyday to find out what the status at the hospital was. The few staff members who were working during the strike informed him that the hospital was functioning on a part-time/weekend schedule, delivering babies and attending to emergencies only.
A few days later I went into labor. It was close to midnight and the hospital was still on strike. My husband and I drove out to the hospital, not having any idea what to expect. Waddling my way to the labor floor, we were greeted by the hospital’s midwives. The full labor and delivery staff was there, they informed us. When we asked about the strike and what it meant for them, one midwife responded that they were there working without having been paid for a full month (and only getting half pay the month before.) She said this with a smile. When we asked why they came into work at all, her response was: “We’re not going to leave you all stranded!”
That was her attitude and she was not alone. Every single person who was on staff the night I was in labor (and I am sure this is true for the entire duration of the strike), be it midwives, doctors, or nurses, gave of themselves 110 percent. Had we not known about the strike, there would not have been any other indicator that things were different in the hospital, because everyone was functioning and working as usual, with full attentiveness, professionalism, patience, kindness and care. My husband and I were amazed and inspired.
Once our son was born, and the intensity of the labor and delivery subsided, we were able to speak to our midwives a bit more about the strike and how it had been affecting them. One of the midwifes expressed that they had no clue when they were going to get paid, or if they were going to get paid at all, and said so with smile and a chuckle, as if it was just another day at the ‘office’. Not one person indicated that they regretted coming into work. In fact the midwife who delivered my son said the opposite. She said that she had heard the one of the other hospitals in the city (one that was not on strike) had 45 women come in to give birth the evening before. She said that not only does she NOT feel bad that she is not getting paid, she felt so much worse for all of the women who were in labor in that hospital and were probably not getting the full attention and care that they required (many women opted to go to another hospital that was not on strike for fear that they would not get the proper care.)
I felt so lucky and honored to have met and received care from these women who are so dedicated, committed to and passionate about what they do. They illustrated to me what it really means to fulfill one’s purpose and passion in this world. I learned that if we really believe in and care about what we do and who we do it for, then we are always willing to give 100 percent, no matter what the circumstances are. That is the truest test of how passionate and committed we are to what we are doing.
Here are some good questions we can all ask ourselves to ‘test’ whether or not we are on the right path or fulfilling our purpose and passion:
- On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the most), how passionate am I about this work/what I am doing?
- How does this work (or field of study) fit in with my qualities and who I am as a person?
- How does this work (or field of study) fit in with my values?
- What do I believe about the work that i am doing?
- Would I be willing to give this work away for free?
These are some of the questions I ask myself on a regular basis to help keep me fresh, clear, focused, and inspired by the work that I am doing.
How about you?
Do you feel that you are fulfilling your purpose?
Are you involved in work that is authentic to who you are?
Please share your thoughts, comments, and questions. You can also contact me directly privately, here.