So this is just a super quick (cause I have work to do) post for International Women’s Day. This years theme is all about Gender parity, and reaching equity….. Obviously, I have discussed this issue Before in relation to pay parity so I won’t go crazy on that again. But I thought I would take a minute or three to tell you about three amazing women who have impacted my world, my journey. There have been WAY more than three, obviously, and if I tried to name them all we’d all have to go to bed without any supper (which my family will be doing if I don’t hurry the hell up here). Because, you know. I do the cooking.
Kidding, we are ordering in a curry tonight.
So I decided I would tell you about three amazing women I know, or knew, and how they exemplify for me, the diversity of women. Warning. This post is low on distracting memes. Sorry!
First, the teacher.
When I was in standard four (year six for the young’uns) I met a teacher call Miss Sauer. She was my teacher for three years. She was funny, and interesting and smart. She traveled constantly and had a million stories. She had catch phrases. From her I learned that there were different ways to live life than those I had seen all around me to that point. It was the eighties, and she was girl power before girl power was a thing. She was a single woman, who worked hard and played hard. Who was amazing at her job. Who loved kids but had none, and quite possibly wanted none, though I don’t know for sure.
She had this way of making you feel like you could do anything. Like you could be anything. She talked about walking through restaurants in foreign countries on the way to the loo and getting lost in the kitchen, or going on a cruise and getting seasick. She talked about her travels; She was Brave. She did all these things, alone. Or, at least she seemed to…. In retrospect, she may have been a lesbian, or had a male lover. That wouldn’t have been a thing she could have shared in 1987 at my Catholic primary school. She smoked like a chimney, I know that much.
She challenged us, all. To be the best, to think harder, to explain our thoughts, to read more. To be kind. To be responsible. She probably had her faults. But, I didn’t see them. I saw her as an amazing woman, and I remember her as an inspiration. Apparently, so do others.
I met Jo when I was 25. I was pregnant with my third child. I went into the local midwifery clinic, and told the receptionist I was looking for a midwife who would support a home birth. Jo was walking down the stairs, and said “I will!”. And that was that. I booked in with her, and felt completely un-judged and totally supported throughout my pregnancy. She showed no surprise or judgement at anything I said or did. She was caring and compassionate. She taught me a lot as a pregnant woman, and supported my growing interest in midwifery.
She was there on the “big” day and supported me to a wonderful birth and managed all kinds of crazy (look, to me it was normal, but I have to admit that if one of my clients called me to a home birth when they were at the wrong house and my back up was away, and I got to the house and their mum had gotten lost and run out of gas at 3 am while trying to pick up the older kids, and the sisters new boyfriend was staying for the first time and the mum locked herself in the tiniest room in the house, and then after the baby was born, the dad went to bed with it and fell asleep and the mum went outside to hang out with her family…… I might have at least one funny look cross my face. Jo didn’t though) with a grace and calm that belied the fact that I was her sixth birth of the weekend.
She supported me to establish a great breastfeeding relationship with my baby despite my previous failures in that area, so much so that I fed the boy for two years even though I returned to work when he was only a few weeks old, something else that she didn’t bat an eyelid at (at least, not where I could see her). She may well have thought I was crazy, but I saw her as an inspiration, and remember her as an amazing woman. I love the fact that thanks to facebook, I get to stay in touch with her!
So, we learn things from all kinds of places, but this last person is someone I have known since we were just 14. She has taught me about trust, love, strength, redemption, growth and resilience. We had lost touch over the years, as she battled infertility and our lives went in different directions. When she called to tell me she was pregnant, I was so happy for her. She was made to be a mum, and I knew that it hadn’t come easily. I include her here not as a client, although she was one. I include her as an inspiration in how to overcome adversity and challenge. How to find the positives in life and how to be outstanding at doing everything you do to the very best of your ability.
I know that if she is reading this right now, she will be saying “who is she talking about?” Because she doesn’t recognise her own awesome. She doesn’t know or believe how many people look at her in awe. She thinks she is not as “smart” or not as “important”, because she judges herself against the wrong measuring stick. She is the woman who devotes countless hours to coaching her kids teams, and to fundraising for the PTA and school, even when sometimes she didn’t know where her next meal is coming from. She is the woman that can organise any event in no time flat and everyone there will love it (she did it for me with my hen night, in about an hour and a half).
She is the woman you cannot see for two years, then call at three am in a crisis and she will be beside you in minutes. She is the woman who can turn up to your house when your kid is in the hospital and clean and reorganise everything in the place ready for said kid to come home unable to walk, right down to putting flowers on the table and a charger by the bed with less than two hours notice. She is the woman who loves her husband so much that she could hardly breathe when he was seriously ill…. then rallied and held everyone else up while he recovered.
She is my best friend. She inspires and Amazes me. It seems incredibly fitting to me that she was born on International Women’s day, because she represents everything that is great about women. Strength, weakness, fear, love, fortitude, vulnerability, all in one amazing package. Happy birthday, my wonderful beautiful, amazing, Lou.