A Sad Goodbye to the Birth and Women’s Center

A final photo of the Birth and Women's Center of Topeka, at least as I know it.September 30th marks the end of an era in Topeka as the Birth and Women’s Center (BWC) will be closing. I’ve known it was coming for a few months, but it’s been difficult for me to wrap my brain around. When I think about it, more often than not, I have to fight to hold back tears.

The obvious source of my emotion for this place is that I delivered all three of my babies there. Leo in 2009. Alex in 2013. Kate in 2015. All three births were assisted by different midwives, all of which felt like surrogate mothers/grandmothers to me. Each birthing experience was unique, and great, and totally perfect.

So of course that’s why I get sad about BWC closing…right?

When I think about it, even that doesn’t completely make sense. I know Tony and I are not having more children, so it’s not like I’m personally losing an opportunity.

Yet still I’m sad… And so I’ve thought about it, and thought about it.

There is more to those baby-having experiences than just producing small humans. Every time I came out of that old Victorian house, I emerged as a stronger, more empowered version of myself. There’s something about the confidence you gain from in being in total control, yet also completely surrendering to your body and letting mother nature do what it’s supposed to do. It’s like you’re a vessel for awesome superhuman powers. It’s one time you can truly see that you’re fully capable of completely amazing things.

So in the end, maybe that’s it. I’m sad because this place that’s meant so much to me won’t exist to serve that role for other women. And I think every woman should have the opportunity to experience that type of empowerment.

Thank you Birth & Women’s Center (and all of the nurses and midwives that have worked there through the years). I cannot adequately express my gratitude or explain what you have meant to me. You will always be one of my favorite places, even if it’s only in my memories.


It’s Been a Decade – My Top 10 Moments

Ten years ago I was celebrating New Year’s Eve at the Love residence in Lebo, Kansas. Of course, by celebrate, I mean stay up until midnight with several of my classmates ringing in our New Year (without any alcohol, of course, since we had 6 a.m. basketball practice the next day). This was our year, the one that would see us each graduate from Lebo High School and strike out into the world on our own.

It’s amazing to believe that it’s only been 10 short years. So much has taken place since then, so many things that have played a big part in my life. Since today is the last day of the decade, it feels appropriate to acknowledge the top 10 moments that have taken place (in chronological order):

May 1999 – Graduated from Lebo High School as salutatorian of my class.

August 1999 – Played a year of collegiate volleyball at Cowley County in Arkansas City, Kansas.

December 2000 – Met Brandon Sheley, a friend of one of my best friends, Jason Carpenter.

September 2001 – Moved to Topeka, Kansas.

October 2002 – Married Brandon Sheley on a beach in St. Lucia.

August 2004 – Had my first solo art show at New City Cafe, and experienced my first sale.

December 2004 – Graduated from Washburn University with a B.A. in Studio Art and a Minor in Women’s Studies.

August 2005 – Started working at jones huyett Partners.

September 2008 – Moved into our house on Tutbury Town.

March 2009 – Had my son, Leo Mason, at The Birth & Women’s Center.