So, I feel like I should update: I'm working in a hotbed of women's health, I've transitioned to full time employment after a decade of mommy-centric living, the amount I've learned and adapted to should warrant a post, right? You'd think. But I sit here and I can't think of a single thing to say.
I could say that the work I'm doing is satisfying and fullfilling in a way that I did not know was possible: the mission of Planned Parenthood is one that is dearly close to my heart. Birth control should be easy to get and abortions should be available when a woman deems it necessary.
But "mission-rich, money-poor" is the thing that invariably follows. In order to keep this job and fufill this mission, as I learned late one night laying sleepless in bed and crunching the numbers, means that I take home just about half of my earnings. The rest goes to childcare. And the lost time: I'm often not the person who picks my kids up in the afternoons. I'm not the person giving them their dinner, and one night a week, I'm not the person putting them to bed. Some mornings, I hand them off to be taken to school while I catch an early train to be at the clinic on time, so I miss that time too.
And then Fridays come and I'm so exhausted that I hand them off to their father at dinnertime with a kiss and a wave and no backward glances. And then I sleep and sleep and sleep.
Even on hard days, when we're short staffed and some neccesary website is down and everything is a struggle, there are the people that we see and we help. It might be the underempolyed woman figuring her life out who we can provide annuals and birth control free of charge (through a state funded program called SelectPlan), it might be the guy who's girlfriend told him to get tested and bring her the results so she knows she can trust him (a guy like tht was my first fainting after a blood draw experiece), it might be the person whose partner strayed and now has to be treated for chlamydia. For *so many* of our patients, there's no other place they can turn to.
I am really lucky- I work in a place where truth-telling and anthenticity is valued; I never have to hide who I am or where I come from or what experiece led me to this mission. I work in a place where it is considered completely reasonable to do a sage smudging on a Friday afternoon after clinic closes. A place where discreetly crying in the bathroom is considered part of the job, and not a shamefull extravagance of a histrionic personality. We see a lot of awful things; we'd be inhuman not to be affected.
And I work in a place where every day I see evidence of the *good* we do in the world. Women are *empowered* at Planned Parenthood. They have cheap and easy access to whatever kind of birth control they want, and they have a resource to turn to in case something goes awry in their nethers (affectionaly, I call those appointments Itchy and Scratchy). They have a place to go if their birth control fails (it happens, more often than people like to think. Pills are great, but they're not perfect).
I guess what I'm getting at is that things are amazing and incredibly hard at the same time. I am being stretched to my outermoust, healthiest limits on a daily basis. And because of this, I'm learning to take better care of myself than I ever have. This is all *so good*, even with all the bad parts.