Breast exams

We’ve spent the past two days palpating each other’s breasts. Which hasn’t been nearly as uncomfortable as you might imagine. In fact, everyone seems quite professional so far, and comfortable with their bodies: eager to learn and very willing to let other’s have a feel if something interesting turns up (for example, one woman in our class has a fibroadenoma, and graciously offered herself up to anyone who wanted to try to palpate it.) It bodes well for the pelvic portion of our class, which will begin next week, and will ultimately involve performing peer pelvics on each other. Along with breast exams, we’ve been going over all the different kinds of breast diseases out there, and how to treat them. SO MUCH TO LEARN. Gah! Our first exam is next week, as well, so this weekend will be devoted to mucho studying, along with Miles for Midwives.

I must admit, though, this all feels a bit surreal right now. It’s hard to imagine that I will ever really will be a midwife. I don’t feel like a midwife at the moment. I feel like a kid, clueless and young and tripping through school. The idea of taking care of real women, delivering real babies…seems very far removed from where I am right now. How do I get from point A to point B, not just academically, but emotionally, in terms of confidence, and identity? I have no idea. I was reading my latest copy of The Quickening (the ACNM’s newsletter), and was suddenly filled with despair. I want so badly to contribute to the profession as a whole, and to do good work, and fight this fight, both politically and locally, to bring better birth choices and options to women everywhere, and to be their advocate, as well as an advocate for the profession….and meawhile, I still don’t even know how to do a pap smear. I know I’ll get there someday, but at the moment, I can’t see the path, at all, and even “getting there” seems like it will never arrive.

But then, maybe I’m overtired at the moment, and need to take a study break. A few of us went to a local Jamaican restaurant after class this afternoon and ate jerk chicken and quizzed each other over the material that’s going to be on our first exam. I’ve been organizing my flashcards, taking notes on the various chapters, and getting my work load under control. I guess I know how to be a student at the moment, even if I don’t know how to be a midwife, yet, so I’ll just carry on and assume that this transformation will just magically occur at some point in the future. Will it???

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