Discovering the midwifery community at the ACNM Annual Meeting
By Susana Vega, CNM
I do not lack love. I do not lack joy. I do not lack
companionship. But when one of my roomies at last year’s ACNM 57th
Annual Meeting & Exposition started pouring out Vagina Warrior buttons across
our cheap, somewhat pungent hotel bed, I knew I had found the missing piece in
I knew it again while overhearing passionate debates over which
education session was most interesting; breast cancer updates or pessary
fitting? Lyme disease or neglected placentas? And knew it yet again when my
preceptor graciously met me in the midst of her hectic meeting schedule and,
while sipping wine, quizzed me on how to handle shoulder dystocia. Never mind
that she was a new board member with 1,001 things to do; she made time for her
students. I had found my kind.
it on that first day and in every moment after during my stay in Long Beach,
I knew it in moments such as when a fellow student stood up and
advocated for transgendered individuals and numerous active members applauded
her advocacy. Or when I was blessed by an experienced midwife in an intimate,
peaceful gathering ceremony. Or while learning how to be politically active and
effectively use my voice for our profession and the women we serve.
Last year in Long Beach, I was thrilled to attend as a student
worker, giddy and exhausted and overwhelmed in my final months of schooling. So
much to see! I signed up for everything; there were sessions and workshops and
gatherings all beckoning for my participation. Certainly there was no time to
relax. I had to be a part of it all, to breathe in every strand of this vast
web. Was it the smart thing to do? Perhaps not. Do I remember it all? Hardly.
But it was much like birth and the care we provide women: they may not always
remember the details, but they will always remember how we make them feel.
As I prepare for this year’s meeting in Nashville, I know that I
may not ever experience that same precise sort of awe and infatuation as I had
a year ago. The instantaneous awareness of all that being a midwife was and
could be evolves, as such moments pass with every tiny heartbeat. Yet those
moments lie within me, nestled and warm, forever remembered as coming home and
being held by loving hands. Learn more about the ACNM 58th Annual Meeting & Exhibition in Nashville, TN or register in advance at www.midwife.org/am.
Susana Vega believes in
this crazy idea that honest communication, respect, and love will bring us
peace and vehemently denies that it’s possible to have too many midwifery-related
T-shirts. Besides practicing as a newbie Certified Nurse-Midwife at Manassas
Midwifery and Women’s Health Center in Virginia, she loves to tweet, so stop by
and say hello @SusanaMV6.