Guide to Albany
Midwifery Mothering & Me

The Special Hells of Motherhhod

For some women, motherhood is a calling, something that they have yearned and planned for since the beginning of memory. For some women, motherhood is a fate stumbled into accidentally. For some women, motherhood has no pull on their psyche at all. For some women, motherhood calls like a siren to their mind, body and soul. More often than not, the trinity of self responds to Motherhood's call discordantly, body, mind and soul singing out of key.

From twenty to twenty five, my mind rationalized the financial and social reasons why pregnancy should be postponed. Yet at this same time, my body was clearly putting out the welcome mat, every month waiting and expecting an internal visitor. During these years (and many times later), my soul ached, longing for my little one, my star-child, the babe I had sensed one crisp, winter night so many years before. To live with that physical, psychological and spiritual discord was agony.

In a perfect woman, in a perfect relationship, in a perfect world, the rational decision, the technical ability and the deep desire to become a mother all happen simultaneously, and poof! A mother is born! It happens. Really. The trinity of self is aligned, a baby appears (either through conception, fostering or adoption) and mothering begins. 

There are other women, just as perfect, that are truly and completely content in their child free state. These women do not dream sweetly of finding a bun in the oven or a Moses basket on the doorstep, nor does such a present arrive. Again, the parts of Self are aligned with the physical reality of mothering (or not).

But what about the rest of us, the rest of the time? What is it like when body, mind and soul are out of sync with motherhood's call? 

For me, in my early twenties, the moaning, crying call of my body and soul to conceive was excruciating. To feel, literally feel my body preparing month after month for a baby that did not appear, the baby that my soul pined for and that my mind was not ready for, that was hell.

For other women, mind and soul are in sync but the body heeds a different rhythm. Infertility, pregnancy loss, and yes, fertility undesired or pregnancy unbidden, these each are hell. They are private hells that many of us have occupied. 

My father once defined hell as separation from God. For me, that definition has a nice ring to it. It resonates for me, and gives me pause.

Today, I offer this definition: Hell is discordance within the Trinity of Self. Since Motherhood is a biological, social and spiritual phenomenon that finds many of us, much of the time out of sync with mind, body and soul, well, that is a whole lot of hell!

Today I offer these thoughts, this prayer: May we all find our way through the special hells of motherhood. May we all consider with compassion the discord that exists for another.  May we all learn to truly mother our Selves. For all, may the trinity of self come to sing its own sweet, resonating song.


May all babies be born into loving hands

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Michelle Doyle

K. Michelle Doyle is a midwife, mother and a joyous middle-aged woman.

Called to midwifery as a small child, Michelle has worked in women's health for over three decades. Born in St Louis, MO, she moved to Southern California for college and stayed for love, marriage and mentoring. In Los Angeles, she was a midwife assistant, labor and delivery nurse, and perinatal bereavement counselor. in 1999, she became a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) and a NY Licensed Midwife (LM). Michelle has worked with multitudes of women and caught well over a thousand babies. After ten years of being employed by medical practices and attending births in Renesselaer County hospitals, Michelle started her own midwifery practice. Established in 2009, Local Care Midwifery was the first Capital District practice to offer home birth services with a licensed midwife. Through Local Care Midwifery, Michelle continues to answer the call of midwifery by providing quality women's health care and loving, attentive care for birthing families.

Michelle's three (now mostly grown) children were born at home with the loving support of a midwife. Along with her husband Kevin, these three are Michelle's very favorite people. Mothering them has changed (and improved) Michelle in ways that she is still figuring out. Entering her sixth decade, Michelle is a busy woman. She strives to balance parenting, marriage, career, physical health, emotional health, spiritual health, community service, creative expression, mentoring and still finding time to sit, breath, and simply enjoy the moment.

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