Embracing change and finding inspiration in new beginnings


  Embracing change and finding inspiration in new beginnings

One of the most important things in life is change. It's one of those things that we accept because it's a part of life, often without ever really thinking about it. Whether it's a sudden shift, such as a move or an empty nest, or something more gradual like aging and mortality, change is inevitable and yet always challenging. When we have to deal with change, it's easy to get derailed. We can avoid dealing with the change by staying in denial, not acknowledging it or holding on so tightly that we try to control it rather than be open and receptive to guidance from Spirit. When we embrace change, however, we can move through it and live our lives fully engaged with the present moment.

I'm writing this article today – my first one posted since being elected President of the Midwife Institute of North America at a very difficult time in my life – because I know that embracing change is what brings about healing and growth in our lives. As President of the Midwife Institute, I would like to invite all of you to join me on this journey of renewal in the spring and summer as we work diligently to reach our goals.

I first became interested in numerology, and the whole idea behind numerology, when I was a young girl. It appealed to me because it was something very visual; something that you could put in your own head without having to read anything or understand anything. As a child I made a habit of going through boxes in my mother's closet and counting how many outfits or pairs of shoes she had. I would do this methodically, with no rhyme or reason, just to see how much she had. I think it was a way of trying to understand the kind of woman my mother was. It wasn't until very recently, when I realized that my daughter is now in the same age range as her grandmother was when I was a child that I recognized the connection between those early memories and what I do today as President of the Midwife Institute.

When we first moved back to Canada from California in 2003, MIMI's web presence was almost non-existent and our financial resources were limited. On top of that there were many people who were working in isolation rather than collaborating or learning from each other. Knowing the work that we do, it made sense to me that we would set up a website and start sharing information. We started by designing a new logo to replace the old one which had been created when MIMI was still connected to the Midwifery Association of BC. Karen Lam-Tanner, our Marketing Manager, came up with an idea for a puzzle piece with images of people from different cultures holding hands.

In 2005, I learned about this new thing called Google ads and spent some time researching what it was all about and how it worked. At our second annual meeting in Toronto, Ontario that fall, I presented an idea to my colleagues regarding Google ads to raise funds for MIMI's work. It was a difficult time for me. Not only had I recently had surgery which left my right arm and hand numb, but I also faced the fact that my marriage was coming to an end. My husband, with whom I had been living and working in California, had decided to return to Canada and leave me there. The Google ads idea was born out of a sense of desperation on my part. All MIMI members were required to attend the annual meeting; this meant that many of them were attending at their own expense. I had no money, and I needed to be able to pay my dues and cover the cost of the meeting. This idea was my way of raising funds for MIMI without asking any of those who were already contributing to take that on.

Google ads seemed like a good idea at the time because web design was a field I knew nothing about, and so I came up with all these images myself. I researched print ad agencies in order to create the ads that you see here today. The first Google ads were made up of three images: MIMI in Asia holding hands with Angeliki, MIMI in Africa holding hands with Revan and MIMI in North America holding hands together with me. The ads were created in this manner because I wanted to show that MIMI is a global organization with a presence in all of the regions of the Earth that we work. It was also very important to do this because I understood from working with midwives in Africa and Asia that their role in the health care system was not well understood by people in North America.

Using Google ads was a good idea because it allowed us to reach out to people who were already on search engines, looking for information about midwifery and reproductive health. We worked hard on those pages, too, and created them so that they could be easily found when people used search terms such as 'midwifery' or 'birth'. We're still working on those pages today. Another good idea was that we had Karen Lam-Tanner design a blog, which we promoted on the main page of MIMI's website in order to encourage people to learn more about the issues surrounding midwifery and childbearing from a global perspective.

What I've learned over the past six years of working with MIMI is that when we share information in this way, with our stories and our experiences, people are inspired by what they read. People are moved; they take action. We have had so many wonderful, wonderful stories come through the blog and it is such an honour to read them all. We have both heard and received many letters from women in the developing world expressing gratitude for the work we do.

So what's happening today with MIMI is very much a reflection of what happened six years ago. There are people working on all continents in an effort to understand the connection between birth and health, to work to bring about better health for women worldwide, by helping them have a healthy birth experience. There are people from all kinds of backgrounds working together to create a better world.

Last fall I found out that my husband was being offered another teaching position with the University of Alberta and that he was going back to Canada on November 1st.


In this essay, I've shared some of my personal history with MIMI and what led me to become a member of the Midwifery Institute. In addition, I've talked about our journey as a community to develop our own independent advocacy work in support of improving women's health worldwide. We are a grassroots organization that never really had a formal constitution or bylaws when we started working together in 2007. We established MIMI as a non-profit society under the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs on March 2nd, 2010, and just recently we became an incorporated society under the Companies Act on September 18th after applying for incorporation back in January.

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