The next few entries of this blog are going to be some of the most personal that I have ever shared. You see, these entries are about where I have come from, what motivates me, and where it is I plan on going. A journey and a destination. This is where the story begins.
A number of years ago now, I commenced down a path that I set for myself, and commenced studying Nursing. Three and a half years of my life, in which I gave my all, but also had my doubts. Six months in, I had a crisis of faith, and considered that it wasn’t what I wanted to do, in my heart of hearts. But in the back of my mind, I heard my dear father, saying ‘you must finish everything you start’. Years later, he confided in me that he wished that I had followed my intuition, as it was the one thing that he would have been happy for me to quit on, as long as it was in pursuit of what was in my heart. Since my years in school I had always loved the written word; I had read and read, and written more and more, and sincerely, I would have loved to have studied Journalism and Photomedia, as my heart had lusted at that six month mark. But the world had other adventures in store for me. So I continued down the route that I had started. I finished my Nursing degree, and commenced working on a General Surgical/ Radiology/Oncology/Breast Cancer Care Ward. It was intense, but it was wonderful. There I cared for many patients, and many linger in my memory bank. But none more so than a wonderful, charismatic man of advanced years who was succumbing to cancer. He was the first patient I cared for that passed away, and it was one of the hardest things I had to deal with in my short career at that time. I learned innumerable lessons from this moment, about my chosen career; about how important my role was to patient, and family; about myself, and where I fit in the world, and how I saw it. I still remember him, and his family, ever so fondly. This was the first moment that I really discovered the enormity of life and death, and the living and the departed. Caring for someone on their deathbed, someones beloved one, is just as much an honour as any I have experienced, and I continue to this day (yes, even in the maternity field), to feel this way.
As time went by, I continued working within realm of nursing, on a Neurosurgical Ward and Emergency Departments. I spent time in the city, and in the rural health settings. I gave it all, and decided I wanted to work for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS). To do so, I was going to have to study Midwifery. So I set about on another eighteen months of studying. And I was swept away. The RFDS was now a far away thought. I don’t think there are any group of words that could succinctly describe the privilege and honour it is to assist and witness new life enter the world. It is equal parts joyous, inspiring, heart wrenching, and heart breaking. I’ve cared for women, and families from many walks of life, in private arenas, in public care, and none of it really matters at then end of the day. Maternity care is highly politicized. But even that doesn’t matter. The whys and hows don’t even matter. What matters is that a little life has entered the world. And to witness that very moment when someone falls in love, that is what matters. Sure, you can see people in love everyday, at weddings, at restaurants, anywhere you like – but they’re already in that state. Not to say that it isn’t beautiful. But to be there at that exact moment when someone falls deeply in love – there is no other moment like it. To see that moment, when a mother and father look down at this little life, and fall head first, with reckless abandon in love. That is an honour. It is a privilege, and it helps to solidify exactly what life is about. There have been many times I have wished that I could have stood, with camera in hand, and captured those moments as they played out. Which is why I decided that I wanted to work at two of my loves – photography and birth. It has taken me a while – because I’ve had to grow confident within myself, and my ability, and in obtaining that level of confidence, I decided I needed more guidance, and therefore went back to University. All of it was to work towards moments like I plan on sharing. I have had the very good fortune to have photographed two births of a wonderful lady, who has kindly agreed to let me share these sessions. I do so hope that you will continue down this road with me, and see exactly how beautiful life is in these moments that are hidden behind walls.