On Being a Tour Guide


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I was born with a freakishly great sense of direction. My husband doesn't bother trying to read maps, or plan out a route to a meeting. He just consults with me, what he calls his SPS, Shana Positioning System. Just like some people can do complex math in their heads (NOT ME), I was somehow gifted with a natural map and a compass in my head. It's not perfect, but it serves me pretty well, and I have actually worked as a tour guide in the past. In addition to my natural gift, I enjoy studying maps, geography, and history. Anything to give me a better sense of where I am and where I am going. I rarely get lost, and don't panic if I do, since I have enough confidence in my general sense of direction to get myself out of anywhere.

The other day I was at a consult for new clients, and I was explaining my role to them, when it occured to me: I'm a tour guide for birth. It's not my job to pick the destination, or even the nature of the route, but I guide and support along the way. I am knowledgeable about various speed bumps that can come up, detours and rerouting. I navigate the path confidently, but know that each time is a new exploration, with its own wonder and discovery. I can gently remind those I guide when they are straying from the route they chose, and either help them find their way back, or forge a new road. I bring with me certain tools to help make the journey a little easier, but mostly use my confidence and knowledge to support those who may be a little uncertain.

As I navigate my journey as a birthworker, I guess it should come as no suprise to those who know me that I find myself once again in such a role. Some things come naturally to us, and it is our job to embrace those gifts. Just don't ask me to do any mental math and things will be just fine.


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