Personal Essay: Finding your Career Calling
By Kellie Edson
I’ll admit, my aspirations career-wise have been all over the map throughout the years. And in true me fashion, they still are a bit muddled, or at least spread out, but they’ve certainly leveled out in the sense that I’m doing things that make me happy and that I’m actually passionate about now.
When I was in college I had three jobs. I majored in English, Creative Writing with a minor in music. Out of college I worked in marketing, both for the university and for a private company. Looking back, I now realize how completely unhappy I was in that venue. Both of those venues, actually. I am someone who works really hard, and who cares deeply about what I do, and the politics and bureaucracy of working for large companies was literally sucking my soul. I’ve also discovered that I have no motivation to work for someone else, especially when the bottom line for that someone else is all about money. It’s just not who I am. And somehow in the midst of all of this, the universe intervened and helped me get the heck out of there. Unfortunately, part of that catalyst for change was severe panic attacks, anxiety and subsequently getting that under control. (You can read about my anxiety struggles in my previous GOTG essay here.)
When anxiety forced me out of my soul-sucking job, it was also around the time I got pregnant with my daughter. My husband and I had to take a hard look at what work would look like as we plunged forward into parenthood. It made the most sense for me to go back to teaching piano lessons (this was one of my three jobs in college). It was flexible and we knew that once Clare was born I could take her to lessons with me if need be (since my husband’s job with Amtrak is so sporadic). I taught throughout my pregnancy and I am still teaching eleven wonderful students each week.
A lot also changed when Clare was born. When I was going through all of the anxiety and panic issues, I also was going through a lot of issues with doctors and I was somewhat traumatized from those that I saw when I was at my worst. I was determined that during Clare’s birth I wouldn’t let doctors make decisions for me about my health. I was going to be in control. I did TONS of research, and read a ton of books.
I took a childbirth class, which fundamentally changed my view of birth. Fear-driven media portrays birth as a scary, emergency situation. But birth is really a natural and normal life experience. I spoke with friends who had gone through it. I hired a doula. Nataly was fantastic – if you are in the market, here’s her website. Thanks to her guidance, we changed hospitals at 35 weeks. Clare was born at Sutter Davis Hospital in a wonderfully intervention-free birth.
In the midst of a sleep deprived newborn haze, a fire was ignited in me. I kept reading articles like this one about birth practices around the country, and how the lack of education influenced women’s decisions and their ‘giving in’ to what care providers had pushed for, and suddenlty it was like a light bulb went on. THIS. This is what I should be doing. It seemed so unfair to me that this kind of stuff wasn’t just common knowledge for women. Why did I have to work so hard to get the information I had when it came to my birth? It was part luck and part my perfectionist OCD tendencies that gave me what I needed.
Helping women gain this knowledge was something I could do. I think there has always been an innate educator in me, teaching piano, teaching zumba, teaching after school programs during college. Teaching and helping. Becoming a childbirth educator would fulfill this. And so now that’s where I’m at. Studying to become an International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA) certified Childbirth Educator. I’ll admit, finding the time to work through the program while still doing my piano and zumba teaching and taking care of Clare is quite the challenge. But I really wouldn’t have it any other way. I also just launched a Podcast called the “Postpartum Podcast” where I chat with moms and birth professionals to help new moms during the transition to new parenthood.
Birth is amazing. Women are amazing. And I feel so fortunate to have found my passion to help women and their families with this beautiful life-changing transition.