I’m Sinéad O’Flanagan, I’m twenty-four and I’m a midwife. I came here to Chicago last year. It was Wednesday 15th July 1925. I will never forget that day, because as I enter the States, I could have as well been slapped onto the moon. Nothing here looks, smells or feels as it did in the village where I was born in the Shannon Valley… and that was even fine with me, at the beginning.
When I left Ireland, I left nothing behind. I’m the last of my family, a family of midwives and healers. I was reared by my Granny to be a midwife, knowing herbs and their powers. Knowing the bodies and minds of people, especially mothers. Knowing how to look beyond the flimsy veil of this world. But when Granny died, the world topple upside down for me. I was still very young and people didn’t trust me. Granny had been respected and sought after for her wisdom. She was an elder, she had been a mother herself. I was young and unripe, what did I have to offer to anyone?
As time passed, I came to believe the same, that I had nothing to offer. I begun to think that place, which had been Granny’s and my family’s place for centuries, maybe wasn’t supposed to be mine. So when I had the possibility to leave, I did. When I came to Chicago, everything was new and different, but I thought maybe it should be this way. Maybe my path was to build a new life in a New World.I will never forget the day I entered the States. I might as well been slapped on the face of the Moon #histfic Click To Tweet
Life is so strange, you know? It has the weirdest way to guide you.
When I started working here, helping people in my own Irish community, I met a woman, an old woman. A midwife herself. An Irish woman, she said she was, though she was born right here in Chicago. But she was so much like Granny and like her, she could look though me. She saw right away I wasn’t walking the path meant for me, a path she herself knew so well.
She gave me this coin. She asked a promise of me and she knew exactly what she was doing. She was a healer, after all.
Character photo by myakmysia