When I started working as a midwife 11 years ago I joined a wonderful private practice. I worked in a clinic 5 days a week and was on call for births 7-8 days of the month. I’ve always loved helping women achieve the birth of their dreams.
After almost 4 years at this practice, however, I found myself wanting more. I found that I enjoyed interacting most with the few Latina women who came to a public health clinic I staffed one morning a week.
I realized that I wanted to be fluent in Spanish to better serve Latina women. I also wanted part-time work that would give me the opportunity to do what I loved and fulfill my dream of becoming a mother.
I didn’t know there was a job that would fulfill my desires, but I felt compelled to lay the groundwork for finding it, inspired in part by this quote from Scottish mountaineer WH Murray: The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision.
And sure enough, as I took my first step, providence moved. Thinking that I needed to improve my Spanish and better understand Latino culture, I applied to Doctors Without Borders and within a month was offered an interview in their New York office. As it happened I was going to be in New York anyway to run in the NYC Marathon and could easily set up a time to talk with the director of the organization.
During my interview, however, I learned they had no positions for midwives in Latin America. I explained I wasn’t interested in any other placement. So the director said she would keep my application, but didn’t think there would ever be a desirable position for me.
I continued to think of other ways I could meet my goals and trusted something would come to me. Less than two months later the phone rang, and it was Doctors Without Borders telling me that they were starting a new maternal health project in Mexico—and that the director of the project wanted me to join the medical team!
People thought I was crazy to leave my life in the States for a volunteer position in a remote Mexican village. But I knew, like Murray, that I had created this opportunity by committing to my dream and I was not going to be dissuaded.
So I went and I had an amazing experience – you’ll have to read the upcoming article in Verve for more details of that trip!
What I want to share here is that when I got back to the States I quickly found a job - not just any job, but the job that I had hoped would come my way.
And I still am at that same job today and it is wonderful—I work in a public health practice that serves a large volume of Latina women, using my fluency in Spanish and my knowledge of Latino culture I gleaned through my work with Doctors Without Borders. What’s more, it is part-time, and the salary matches the salary of the full-time job I had left to go to Mexico.
My time in Mexico changed my life in other, more profound ways. What I appreciated most about Mexican culture is how they value family and community, and I have taken great pleasure in fostering the same values. I know that my life, and the lives of those around me have been enriched because of this appreciation.
In the end, my time in Mexico opened a window on life in a dramatically different culture and a setting. It also opened the door to a new life for me here at home.
This week I'm rejoicing in the amazing alchemy that occurs when you decide to create a life you love.