I’ve been plugging away at my 11 mandatory book reads and lots ‘o’ papers to write. Tonight, accomplishing 2, which I’m feeling quite accomplished about! ; ) Also have emails out to various people I need to interview and then report about, and so that really has me feeling like the ball is rolling!
Here is my first paper…. a brief autobiography:
Amy Jarjusey – BWI Autobiographical Statement
I am a mother of four amazing children. Each completely unique of themselves, and that started as early as conception. Each pregnancy distinctive, each labor and delivery process just as much so (unique), and my journey through motherhood even more so!
My first exposure to natural birth, breastfeeding, peaceful and attachment parenting culture was through my experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer in The Gambia, West Africa. I will whole-heartedly admit that I did not, at the time, realize just how much this life’s experience would impact me down the road. My experience there focused largely on my work. As much as the culture was something I lived and breathed daily, it was ‘their’ culture, not mine (at least in my mind at the time). Only a few short years later when my husband and I were expecting our first son, did I really realize just how much my time in Africa impacted me. I entered my 1st pregnancy feeling very excited and very sure of myself. You see, I was also a nanny for several years, which I truly loved dearly, and so I “knew kids” (or so I thought).
Going into my 1stpregnancy, the two things I was certain of was that I wanted to have a natural childbirth, and I wanted to nurse. Of course, my certainty waivered heavily due to social and familial pressures of what childbirth “should” be like for a woman. Having just been back from The Gambia for a short time, and being so far from friends who might relate, as well as not knowing any other parents, this was quite a 1st time journey for me. For my husband, it seemed quite natural and he had a hard time understanding my minor freak outs at times! But, he humored me by going to Bradley Method classes with me and was very supportive in the stuff I felt I needed to do to be ready (and only now, I realize it was more the mental and emotional ‘ready’ that mattered the most)! Each one of my pregnancy experiences has lead to a new and improved empowerment of me, as a stronger woman and mother I can honestly say looking at myself as a first time parent, starting out and then me as a parent now, as been quite an evolution. And for me to suggest that growth as seized would be quite foolish as I find my parenting and my philosophies in constant growth pattern as my children get older and I learn from nurturers in my life, not to mention learning to follow my heart more.
Upon first knowledge that we were indeed pregnant, my intentions of an unmedicated birth were solely based on my fear of needles. The pure thought of a needle being stuck in my spine was enough for me to figure out “how to do this the natural way!” It was after that selfish decision, and lots and lots of research, did it come to me how vitally important it truly was to me to have a natural birth. My husband and I choose Bradley Method at the time, and went from there. As I later describe my birth stories in more details, it is overtly clear to me that I feel that a woman is innately born to birth naturally. However, I will mutter in the very same breath, that things happen during childbirth which may lead us down paths we least expect. What is most important in my mind is that a mother is self-confident in her decisions to ultimately have the safest birth possible, keeping her and baby protected and healthy.
I currently work for Cultural Care Au Pair where I do quarterly safety trainings for au pairs from around the world. I have also worked with after school programs, as well as designed and implemented homeschool classes for small and large groups. For a period of about 3 years, I was a co-leader of a local API group that a friend and I started. We are a homeschooling family surrounded by an amazing community of families with much of the same life-philosophies. When I read about Birth Works and the philosophy of “teaching women self-confidence, trust and faith in their innate ability to give birth and nurture their child”… I feel I’ve found home. This resonates with me deeply and was the main reason I choose the Birth Works certification over Bradley Method or other disciplines. I have many friends who teach Bradley and others teaching in various other disciplines, but ultimately, we want to reach out as a community to help and empower women. So I feel that despite our choices in certification, we are on the same path to build a stronger future for birthing women. Ultimately, I needed to choose philosophy that resonated within me. Something I never had to “sell” to anyone as their Childbirth Educator because I was just that passionate about it…. Birth Works is that for me, and I’m excited to learn more, grow more, and share this with future families who will share their journeys with me.