Everything at once.


How is it possible that so many events can happen in such a small timeframe? And that all the events carry some form of pain and emotion in them?

We came back from the coast to Cuenca last week Tuesday. It is cold here. Really cold. 7 Degrees at night and, if it is sunny, 19-20 degrees during the day. Winter in Cuenca. 

We met with people about our business idea last week Wednesday. We were in an airbnb in the centre of town untill Friday. It is a new experience for me to be in a centre of any town. That you can walk anywhere, reach any shop or restaurant you want by foot. I never knew this could be nice. 

We walked to the DHL office to pick up a parcel from the Netherlands, we walked to the people we would meet and back home after.  At 2650 meters altitude walking takes an effort, but the sunshine made up for that. 


On Thursday I became busy with the pending hearing (the day after). I thought it didn't 'touch' me anymore, but there I was, feeling stressed. My dear colleague, Rebekka, was going to represent me and we went through some final talks about what she was going to say and what I thought of that. That night, I hardy slept. At 4 am (Ecuadorian time) I was awake again and sent Rebekka another message to wish her luck. She wrote back that she was on her way there, by car. The hearing was going to be at 13.30, Dutch time. 

I fell asleep again shortly and dreamt I was there. I was late, couldn't find it, felt stressed. But somehow people were friendly, which surprised me in the dream. I woke up restless, but not feeling so negative anymore. 

When I spoke with Rebekka and another colleague, who went with her for support, after the hearing, they were sitting in the car on the way back home. They were both feeling 'carefully positive'. Rebekka was surprised by the 'normalness' with which she had been treated. She was used to demeaning behavior in these courtcases against midwives. But non of that. The whole hearing was an adult-like 'conversation'. She felt that she said everything she wanted to say and that they had really listened. At some point the judge said something like; 'so this case is mainly about someone who doesn't keep good records, doesn't write everything down?'. 

And I don't. I have principal reasons for this, which Rebekka brought across on my behalf. She also answered all their questions about why I did this, why I did that, etc. She knows me quite well and we have been through more of these kinds of things together, so I am positive she did well.

Still, I couldn't sleep the following night either. It never ceases to amaze me how much this keeps stressing me.


In the mean time we decided we needed a long term rental. We gave ourselves another week in another airbnb to get this sorted. We looked through all the real estate websites looking for a house in a quiet and green area. As these are Ecuadorian websites, they are not up-to-date and we realized most of the things we liked, were already gone.

We got hold of a real estate agent, we found some people through facebookgroups and 'gringopost' and made some viewing appointments over the weekend, for the following week.


When I wake up in the morning, I always check my phone, while still lying in bed. Some habit that is left over from my midwifery days, I think. I go through messages, apps, emails and look on Facebook. 

On Mondaymorning I did the same.  Strangely enough there were at least 10 messages and some whatsapps. I opened the first, which said 'It must be horrible to start your day like this!'.

So then alarmbells started ringing. WTF? I opened another message, which contained a link to a provincial newspaper. And there it was ' Holistic midwife under fire after a death' and under this headline; ' A baby has died in the hands of a holistic midwife from Warnsveld, who hasn't followed any in-service training. The Inspection for Health Care sues Tanja Smeets.'

And the article...sensation-seeking and full of un-truths. 

I opened an email where someone had been kind enough to photocopy another newspaper. In this newspaper they had put in some sentences from my website, totally out of context, so as to have 'my story' in there as well (or something?). Wow.


I am not surprised that a journalist (she sat at the hearing, had no back ground info, heard 'dead baby' and lost her brain after that) comes to the conclusions as she did. I know it sells. And yes, it is strange that journalists are allowed to write untruth about anyone and just publish them. But somehow it didn't 'hurt' me. I could not relate to anything she wrote. And eventhough my name was above the article, it wasn't about 'me'. The comments of people (or 'sheeple') who believe what she wrote and wanted me dead (or worse) also didn't touch me. I am not kidding you; I was not hurt. It is hard to be hurt about something that is not about you, I found out.

I did write a reply and a challenge to this journalist to contact me and make a truthfull story, to make up for this nonsense, but I never heard from her on that. And what about the newspapers who place these things; again I am not surprised. I never believe anything in newspapers or on the news, because I have always been very aware of how the media writes and what they think to gain from writing like this. 

I also know that 99% of people might not understand anything about how I worked. They like to do as they are told, in the meanwhile living under the illusion of having the right to choose. I wasn't working this way for them. I was there for the 1% who didn't want the illusion, but the reality. 


However; it was very, very emotional.

Why? Because of all the support I received. So many messages, posts on my timeline, emails, whatsapps, long letters from people who were so angry about the attack I was under.

Somehow this felt painful in my heart, to feel so much support. And also protection:

Lune who went to the newspapers office to tell them what she thought about them and later on got called by the redaction manager about it. Rebekka who kept me posted about all the things that went on in Facebook groups I wasn't in anymore. Like the Birth Movement (de Geboortebeweging), a large group of women (mostly) who fight for autonomy during birth. They were all very upset about the article.

The colleague-midwives were the biggest surprise; how they backed me openly. How they stood up for me in the Facebookgroup of the KNOV (the Dutch midwifery association) against colleagues who are afraid of autonomy and autonomous clients and attacked me.

These things brought me to tears. And this went on for a few days. I think I always felt that I was alone and had to fight alone. But I have to face that this is not true. Why it feels like pain in my heart, I don't know. I cried quite a bit, untill my heart started to be able to 'handle' the support. Crazy, I know.

So this was on Monday (and Tuesday and Wednesday and is finally slowing down a bit, now). 


We also looked at a house on Monday afternoon. It was in the outback, beautiful area, enormously dirty (with garbage heaps in the house and on the property) and a mother of the landlord living on the land, looking upon the house. So; no way. 

On Tuesday we looked at 3 more houses, slept on it and decided to go for one of these, on Wednesday. We went by to discuss details with the current tenant.

And all this was also emotional.

Why? Because we don't know what the hell we are doing here and if this business will take off at all, but we do need some time in a steady place. The moving from airbnb to airbnb is not only costly, but also making us feeling very unsteady and 'homeless'. But going into a steady situation was scary at the same time. Lots of doubts...


Beer was trying to help me relieve my back on Monday (lifting me a little up, under my arms) and somehow I managed to pull a muscle in between my ribs, that moment. We both heard and felt a 'crack' and after that, breathing became painful and laughing even more so. So the total picture is complete. I actually find it funny, but because laughing is painful, I laugh inside.


Tomorrow Eric will get our stored household goods from Vilcabamba in a 4 hour drive to and a 4 hour drive back. He can store them in the house we will be in, while the other person still lives there and is also moving his stuff (a very friendly, elderly, American guy). On Saturday it will get cleaned completely and later that day we will move in and sleep there Saturday night.

I wanted to do a lot of cleaning, but due to my ribs I'll have to take it easy (which Eric is very happy about-not!). 


The next big chaos-time will come when the verdict comes out in August. I am very curious about the outcome of that. It will mark-anyway- the end of a very long, uncertain and painful period.


This is the link to the newspaper article and to my reply to it. It is in Dutch (sorry to all the English readers, more background info in my previous blog 'to be or not to be, sequel'). 


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Comments: 1
  • #1

    Esther (Wednesday, 04 July 2018 15:07)

    Lieve Tanja,
    De onwetendheid bij veel mensen is ten top. Wij dragen je een heel warm hart toe en zullen heel veel positieve energie naar jullie zenden. Mensen die je niet kennen, hebben een gemis, want je bent een heel warm en mooi mens. Wij zijn gezegend in vele opzichten dat jij in ons leven bent gekomen. Ik geniet en wordt daar ook elke gelukkig van!

    Heel veel liefs en knuffels van ons; Esther, Rene, Heaven Leigh (die jou zeker nooit zal vergeten) en natuurlijk Angle Celeste