The day after my fundraising morning tea. I had to come back to Earth with a thud! Whinging child, family responsibilities, the laundry to do…I’d much rather be preparing for my trip, caught up reading “Where there is no Doctor”, looking up teaching resources that I could take with me, bask in the incredible warmth and support that has come my way from people interested in my trip. That’s the dilemna in life isn’t it, always the fine line finding the balance between following your passions and facing your daily responsibilities. The whinging child is alseep – I thought that was the problem – the house has been cleaned and the laundry is being done. Silence…
I have felt overwhelmed by people’s response to my trip. I have heard from people that I haven’t heard from in ages. It’s been wonderful. Another joy has been older people sharing their stories and experiences of Papua New Guinea. One man told me he was there during the war and they had to soak their feet in conties crystals every day and they were allowed to change their socks twice a day – unheard of in other areas of service but skin infections and tropical sores were a real problem. Another lady told me to make sure I wear only loose cotton clothing as the humidity is unbelievable – that made me think of my underwear: may need to visit the shops soon! Another lady reassured me that the boat I’ll travel in will probably not be a dugout canoe, rather something with a motor – that was reassuring. I feel that a whole community of people is with me as I prepare to go and will be with me when I’m there. And I was going to just sneak off…
Knowing that there are people who are interested in my trip helps me to stay focussed. I feel a sense of responsibility to them now. I want to please them. I have a group of supporters that I feel accountable too. I think that’s a good thing. It will help me to be professional, conscientious and productive. I want to report back to them and let them know how they have contributed to the success of the trip. And I was just going to sneak off…I can now see why God pressed on me the need to share my journey with others and to ask for help to get there.
You must be thinking I’m mad – going to PNG because someone happened to ask me whether I’d like to go there, the very same week I received my midwifery registration papers and was wondering what to do about my career!! Well, I think I would be mad if that’s the only reason I was going; that would be ‘clutching at straws’ and grabbing onto anything that came my way to justify a decision. No, saying yes to going to PNG as a midwife wasn’t just a response to the question being asked. It was a response to 4 other relatively recent moments/events/comments in my life that confirmed for me that this trip was the right thing for me to do.
1. When I resigned from working at KEMH in June 2010 (in fact, exactly 2 yrs today was my last day there – amazing) I had a deep sense that the next thing I did in regard to midwifery would be totally different. I did not want to work in a hospital again. Don’t get me wrong, I have benefitted enormously from my experiences in hospitals, but I felt stifled.
2. Early last year when toying with a few ideas of what I wanted to do with my career, my husband said, “What we need to do is send you on a short term mission trip to do your midwifery”. I was amazed. This was exactly what I wanted to do, but where would I start? I knew there were opportunities but they were usually for trips 4-6 weeks long. I couldn’t leave my family for that long; not yet.
3. In 2008 I heard a woman, Jenni van der Moezel speak about the PNG Birthing Huts project. Jenni was involved in Baptist Women Australia and was working with the South Pacific Baptist Union and a local PNG midwife called Sister Kay Simon to raise money to build birthing huts in remote villages. The huts were to be a safe and clean place for women to give birth. After the talk, I went up to Jenni and said that one day I wanted to be involved in a project like that, but my children were too young at present.
4. In 1999 my husband and I took a year off work and went backpacking around the world, through many third world countries. I was a newly trained midwife then. I just had an overwhelming sense that one day I would like to work in developing countries, teaching the village birth attendants.
When I reflect on those 4 moments in time, I’m not surprised that my immediate response to the question was “YES”! I can see how God was preparing me for this moment and that He had a plan all along.
I’ve threatened to write a blog for many years and now the time has come! You see, I’m planning a short term mission trip to Papua New Guinea in August this year and so much has happened that I just feel I have to write it all down. Why not share it with others too? This has been such a journey for me and I haven’t even got on the plane yet…
Where did it all begin? Well, towards the end of last year I received my midwifery registration renewal notice and was wondering what I should do – to register or not was the question. I hadn’t worked as a midwife for 18 months since leaving my position at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Perth, WA. In fact, I had not done anything midwifery related for that entire time. I had deliberately avoided the ‘childbirth’ scene as I really needed a break from the field. For so many years I had advocated for women, in particular those who had had a previous caesarean birth. I was emotionally tired and I needed to have some unadulterated time with my family; to slow down, gain perspective again and find myself. It was a very good thing to do.
I knew that my renewal notice would be coming and so I had started to pray about what I was to do. I remember thinking “Am I done with Midwifery”, “Is my life going to take a new direction now”, “Lord, what are your plans for me”? Within a few days of receiving my renewal notice, a friend of mine at the school my children go to asked me if I’d be interested in going on a trip to Papua New Guinea as a midwife. My answer was an immediate ‘yes’ and I went straight home and filled out my registration papers…
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