If you have been paying attention around here, of the thing things I love best about my business (and that’s the entire theme of this Blogfest, Our Biz Our Way) is it being international. And now here’s Karen Wilmot, the Virtual Midwife, our foreign correspondent from Muscat, Oman. Yay!
I get a lot of raised eyebrows when I tell people that I am The Virtual Midwife. The common understanding of a midwife is that we assist women to give birth. How can I possibly do that online and virtually? Thanks to the popular BBC programme Call the Midwife there has been renewed interest in this ancient and beautiful vocation. While we don’t ride bicycles anymore, we still connect with women during the most intimate and memorable moments of their lives. We are invited into the sacred space of pregnancy and we guide and support women over the threshold into motherhood. We are with women throughout the pregnancy, during birth and in the precious weeks after birth, not just in the moment of birth. Our value lies in building relationships, sharing ancient wisdom and reminding women that we are born to do this, creating trust.
The French word for midwife is “sage femme” or wise woman. I am a “sage femme.”
Like many of the best things in life, I never planned it this way. For years, I was happy working in hospitals around the world and offering prenatal classes. But then I had one of those random meetings that catapult your life on an alternate trajectory.
I bumped into a client, her baby now on the verge of adolescence. She hugged me very tight for a long time and then took both my hands in hers and said “I wish every women could experience the deep sense of trust that you gave me when I was so afraid during my pregnancy.” And like all good entrepeneurs I thought “why not?” and shortly afterwards “and how?”
According to all the ads that appear in my Facebook feed, there are countless people who have gone from struggling student to 6 figures in 6 months with online programs. I am not one of them. I spent over 4 years cobbling my course material into a series of videos, ebooks and audio downloads. I created cheat sheets and to do lists. I hired business coaches, financial advisors, techno geeks and social media gurus. I watched webinars and listened to podcasts. I left my thriving practice to spend time in a co-working space in Bali with the goal of making a living from my online presence.
I got distracted by people who lured me with promises of six figure sums and fully booked retreats, but their methods made me uneasy. Their sales pitch was too salesy. I tried to put some heart into their system and adapt their modus operandi to be a little more authentic. Not surprisingly it never worked. A year later I returned to full time employment with my tail between my legs and my dreams of life as a digital nomad in pieces.
While being employed and still doing what I love is hardly I failure, I could not get the idea of The Virtual Midwife out of my head and I remembered a line that my business coach Judith Morgan had shared with me during a session. “Don’t let the runway be too long” she had said, and I realised that despite all the work I had done, I had not even taken off. Not because I did not have the know how. Not because I did not have the content. I was afraid. I kept on thinking “who am I to be putting all this stuff out there, and what if someone disagress with me?”
In fact it is Judith who got me thinking about this with her invitation to be part of the blogfest celebrating her book Your Biz Your Way. If ever there was someone who knows how to do biz her way, it is Judith. She has even written a book about it. I am also an avid fan of her Own it! the Podcast with Nicola Cairncross for that very reason. Talk about two people who do things very differently and both succeed. It’s true. Your biz. Your way. Just do it.
I am a long time student of mind/body connection and I am not immune to a bit of self help. My biggest challenge is moving beyond my own limiting beliefs of what is possible.
Through it all I have realised that I can share my wisdom, experience and expertise through online workshops, luxury retreats, in facebook posts, videos and podcasts. I have just finished my first book and I cannot tell you the pride and joy I felt holding it in my hands and flipping through pages that I had written.
While there are many people offering online pregnancy information, I am the first Virtual Midwife.
Through all the ups and downs of the last decade I have found a way of offering my unique wisdom and expertise in a comprehensive support program onlineand having finally found my voice I can proudly say that I am damn good at it, and there’s no stopping me now.
Read this post in full HERE at Karen’s Virtual Midwife Facebook Page
Dear Karen, Wonderful to have you along for the Blogfest ride! I appreciate you so much for keeping it real and telling it how it is for one woman in business on her own. No wonder you love the podcast so much, that’s precisely what Nicola and I do too. In fact, we don’t know another way and I suspect you don’t either. Good! WYSIWYG. What you see is what you get. There’s always someone who doesn’t know what that means and I don’t imagine it’s you, finger on the pulse and all that.
That story of the woman with the nearly-adolescent child denotes the impact you have on women at a unique stage of their lives and that bond stayed with her forever. I really think after talking to another woman in your line of work recently that this is more crucial than I had ever realised. Women are born to do this, yes. And that belief had led me to think that women, mothers, just take that in their stride which they do and that the trauma, if any there be, was all with the baby. But no. And the thought that you are there for women is comforting, even to me the childless-by-choice. I am sighing a sigh of relief on behalf of womankind.
I think I probably shared with you before the thought of another coaching colleague, namely that there is nothing more important for the future of the world than the way we bring up our children. That you are there from the first moment is special, and must be life-affirming even though I know too it is not always 100% joyous. Whatever, you are a safe pair of hands who must be a very reassuring presence and in our somewhat scary world at times, especially for those women who are giving birth as ex-pats, well… your work is sacred. More power to you. Big respect and love to you and to those women with whom you work, whether they be the mothers or your colleagues. The fact that it is a business too seems almost incidental to the miracle of birth.
Congrats on your book too, by the way, it looks beautiful and I know precisely how that feels as I was only a few weeks ahead of you. Our own babies, eh?