You know that person on a movie set who claps the slate just before the director says "action"? Many years ago, that was me, a second assistant in the camera crew, a "clapper loader" as it's known. I had been working in television after graduating from film school, and then in 1990 I walked away from a promising career without a glance back. As interesting as the television business was, something was missing for me: I wanted to feel passionate about my work. I felt drawn to working closely with people as they made their way through challenges and transitions. In short, I wanted to make a difference in people's lives. I decided to become a midwife. I couldn't have picked something more different from the camera crew if I tried.
I'm not entirely sure what gave me the courage to make that change and shift into the unknown. I do know that it was scary, but I did it. And after a few years I had supported so many women and their partners through pregnancy, labour, birth and postpartum that I lost count. Even after I stopped being an on-call midwife, I continued my work with emerging families as a prenatal educator, a postpartum doula and a coach for new parents.
Those incredible women and their families taught me everything. When to lean in and offer a helping hand, when to hang back and let them find their way. How not to be the least bit afraid of tears, pain, or massive transitions. How to problem solve and how to find out what the problem even is. How to recognize when we are moving out of safety. When to make jokes, and when jokes aren't funny at all. How to talk honestly about difficult things. How to listen. How to be loving, gentle and kind. All of these vital lessons have been woven into my personal coaching practice.
Now, 30 years after making that fateful decision, I can finally see how it's all connected and close the loop: All this time I have been working with people's stories. Helping them know their own stories and then have the tools to envision and create the future they want.