When I arrived I met up with Nikki (the daughter of my dad's old navy friend who became my friend a few years ago). She met me at a train stop in Kensington and we walked a few blocks to her friends' house where they were having a "friendsgiving" meal. I said hi to some familiar faces and slowly tried to make my way to the food table. I had not had much to eat on a full day of traveling and socializing seemed impossible without some nourishment.
As I was scooping myself some collards in peanut sauce, the woman next to me introduced herself. We stood together eating from blue plastic plates and began a conversation. She asked why I was in Philly, I told her I came for an interview at PENN, she told me she was a beginning doula, and the conversation proceeded as one might assume: we talked about being doulas, hospital vs. home birth, and everything in between. Later on in the the evening, another woman arrived who was also a doula and she joined our conversation.
All in all it was encouraging in the sense that there are folks here with shared beliefs and perspectives about birth that I can be supported by. It was real in a way that I got to hear the frustrations of women working in the struggle to re-humanize birth on this coast and in Philadelphia particularly. It is going to be challenging to work in a city where there is only one known home birth, licensed midwife. Also, Pennsylvania still does not have a licensure pathway for midwives of this state thus making midwifery "illegal". It will be a challenge and a necessity to be working in birth here if this is where I end up. I feel that I may up for this sort of challenge.
more to come...