Once Upon a Time in Western Washington

Hello! It’s been a long time, nice to see you here again. I realize I haven’t posted since, well, I left Austin. There are a whole lot of reasons for not the least of which were adjusting to a new state/new midwife/new clients/etc. as well as healing emotionally for the reasons I left my preceptorship in Austin so abruptly. I’m working through it all and have several posts planned to touch on those subjects.

In the meantime, I thought I’d tell you a story. It is a story about a bizarre convergence of events, touching on mysterious Pagan ways and midwifery. It begins in the usual way, like so:

Once upon a time, a young baby dyke was growing up in the woods of a placed called western Washington. She made friends with a Very Tall Family. This Very Tall Family was so tall, in fact, that they did outlandish things like keep their microwave on top of the refrigerator where the shortish baby dyke could not reach without standing on a stool. The Very Tall Family loved to go backpacking, and the mother in this family talked frequently about how she used to go backpacking with her former best friend, Teddy. The baby dyke heard lots of stories about her escapades and adventures backpacking with Teddy and though she never met the woman, felt like she kind of knew her anyway.

Skip ahead a few years, and the baby dyke finds herself attending a women’s gathering called Longdance. The mother and daughter from the Very Tall Family go, and apparently Teddy used to go too. She learned all sorts of wonderful things, including songs like We Are Sisters On a JourneyShe thought these are purely Pagan chants and delighted in teaching them to her circle mates in her college Pagan/Wiccan Collective.

Fast-forward several years later when the baby dyke (not such a baby dyke anymore, btw) decides to become a midwife (called to be a midwife, really, in an undeniable way. But that’s a tale for another place and another time). She travels a great distance to a far away land called Maine to attend midwifery school. There, she learns about MANA and how it was formed, and also about a woman named Teddy Charvet who was instrumental in founding the Seattle Midwifery School and was the first president of MANA. And then she had an epiphany that this Teddy Charvet was the same Teddy Charvet who used to go hiking with the mother of the Very Tall Family all those years ago (who, btw, now goes by Therese and still loves being in the forest). And she found out that We Are Sisters on a Journey is not just a Pagan song, but a beloved song for MANA as well. In fact it was sung at the very first MANA gathering brought, I like to imagine, directly to MANA by Teddy herself from the bosom of the women’s Pagan circles that later formed Longdance.

And it is in this roundabout way that I feel like I have always, somehow, had a connection to the rebirthing of midwifery in the US and the creation of MANA, although I didn’t realize it until very recently. Curious, no? It does seem strange to me that I’ve seemed to narrowly avoid meeting this woman my entire life.

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6 responses to “Once Upon a Time in Western Washington

  1. Wow, I feel like we should know each other. Maybe we do. I used to attend a circle on the land where Mother’s Longdance is held (Long Lake) and I have a friend who lives on Therese’s land. I’ve thought many times about attending ritual there but haven’t prioritized it. I’m also on a midwifery journey. :) Where did you eventually end up (geographically?) I’m in Bremerton. Do I know you and I just don’t know I do?

    • Kristina, I think we’ve probably danced around each other like I’ve danced around Therese. I never attended Mother’s Longdance and in all honestly didn’t meet very many folks who did attend it. I’m currently in Mesa, AZ for the final portion of my training, but am hoping to land somewhere else when I’m finished (perhaps Long Beach, CA). I wish you lots of luck on your midwifery journey!

  2. i honestly thought i was reading a story, as in fairytale. LOL. i was ready for an escape.

    ahh Bremerton. Kitsap. Silverdale. Small world

  3. who are you!? and why haven’t our paths crossed? i am a birthwise student who was living in phoenix, but just moved to western washington (kingston)….

    we are crossing paths at the wrong time.

    • Sorry to respond so late. We maybe met briefly at Birthwise this past August. But you’re right, we never really got a chance to sit down and talk. I live with Ashley and Becky (well, I did live with Ashley until she went home to Canada to have her baby). I hope we get a chance to really meet one another again in the future.

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