shyness thread..I wanted to chime in on the "shyness" thread...
First, I think that the midwife herself lends a lot to how accepted an apprentice is. That doesn't mean she is the end all of how the student is accepted, but I think if a midwife chooses her student well, then she will be in tune with her, and likewise the student - they will work together well, hopefully, and the clients can see that she is an asset, and not a hindrance. I would be very uncomfortable to work with a midwife if I didn't feel she truly wanted to teach me. If the midwife doesn't want me there truly, then how are her clients going to want me there? So I would examine my relationship with the midwife first.
Second, I have 4 children, and have used the same midwife each time. My midwife had an assistant, and her daughter as a student. At the time her daughter was only 15 years old. I adored her daughter. But I really couldn't stand the assistant. She was VERY outgoing. I am an outgoing person too, and I enjoy outgoing people, but I just didn't enjoy her as a person. I think she was too loud, and it didn't seem like she was in tune with how to act at certain times. I just didn't enjoy her. I did however still "allow" her at my birth. I trusted my midwife, and I didn't feel she would bother me so much that she would hinder my labor or birth. My reasoning was that if my midwife wanted her there, then that was important to me. A lot of midwives are more comfortable with having an assistant. As a student, it is important to feed off of your teaching midwife as well as the clients. Some clients are very sociable, and will gab and chit-chat away with you from the first time they meet you. Others are more quiet (like you!) and will ask you a few questions (how long you've been studying, or how you know your midwife) and then politely direct their conversations to the midwife the rest of the time. You need to just go with that flow. Follow their lead. This is a time for learning, and when you follow the lead of the client and the midwife, you should see easily that things will be smooth for you.
I can't imagine going to a prenatal and just blabbing and being completely outgoing (and i am a pretty outgoing person). You have to mirror the client. If the client wants to get to know you - they will. There is nothing wrong with sitting back and waiting for your teaching midwife to tell you what she wants you to do. Watching is learning too. Usually there are opportunities for you to welcome the clients, as well as to say goodbye to them, and sometimes that is plenty of interaction. I always try to listen well to the teaching midwife, just as well as the clients need to listen. Because that is how a student will learn.