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Being a midwife with young children and/or homeschooling? - Page 2

post #21 of 37
I'm also only at the looking point so far, and appreciate all of the stories! I realize that because my DH works from home, we have a lot of flexibility that would actually make it much easier to do. But, on the other hand, he already handles a lot of things around the house, and I think if he's on-call for me being on-call, we'll have to rebalance some of the daily tasks so he's not getting overwhelmed.

I do think homeschooling is a great cohort to midwifery, with the lack of strict schedules. We do a lot of outside classes now, and I worry about missing tons of those if I were at a birth, but, then again, if DH could take over with the kids, he could probably take them to those things, too. I do think we'd also need to look for other care, too, though.
post #22 of 37
thanks for starting this thread!

i am in the school portion of my mw studies and although i attend births here and there, i am far from being away even every week. i have turned down 2 apprenticeships, because i had to be honest with myself and realize, like tema put it so beautifully, this is the season of motherhood!

i have a 4 yo, 2 yo and am due with #3 in july. i expect we'll have more kids, and we're working on building a strawbale home/homesteading.

one awesome advantage i have is that dh is home 24/7, and although he is disabled, as the kids get bigger and i am apprenticing/practicing midwifery full-time, i don't ever need to worry about childcare. and we lean towards extremely unstructured hs/unschool, so between dh and i, we both feel that everything fits together well. he fully supports my goals, but i also have to work on his timeframe, so to speak, and not take on too much, or do too many things at the same time. at this time though, the kids are too young for me to even leave dd with him for more than a couple hours. my kids are very mama-centered, dad is fun, but when it comes down to it, only i can give them most of what they need at this point in their young lives.

yes, it is discouraging, and somewhat depressing, i feel like i'm moving in slow-motion and turning down once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, and like Collinsky, i feel a little bit lame and losery about it all, but you know what? i'm happy that i'm doing what i can midwifery-wise for now, making a good decision for my family's well-being and happiness and not losing sight of my goal. my main goal is to be able to pass the narm in 2012, the year i turn 30. also, i'm trying to grow my doula business and trying to put on free community natural-childbirth education classes.

i think what has worked for me is to really figure out what i and my family can handle, make goals and then start working towards them and keep hope, no matter how slowly it's going.
post #23 of 37
First, I noticed that there are quite a few student midwives here that are also spouses to service members (as am I!) - and I am wondering if any of you know of a midwifery-service minded yahoogroup? And if not - would anyone be interested in staying connected by creating one? I would be willing to do the startup work, if you are interested, just say the word. I have felt so alone in my midwifery work since my husband joined the Army. Midwifery has been a true calling for me since before he joined, but ever since - it has been next to impossible to finish - because of already said circumstances, which I know you all understand! It's *hard* in the military - harder than when you're out and near a static "family" - whether that means close friends or family or both. But you know this!!

Second, I wanted to say that I also homeschool, and I have 4 kids - and one on the way. When I was most active doing my clinical work, my husband was in officer school, and I was at "home", in between duty stations - since he was in training for 10 months. My family was able to care for my 4 children during this time, and it was really awesome. I was never worried when I was gone (2-4 births/month and 1 prenatal day/week) - I was always "fully there" at prenatals and births BECAUSE I knew my children were well-cared for - something, for me, that I can never go without. I have to know my children are cared for, or my mind won't be in it. I worked with my own midwife (that cared for me during my births), so I knew her style somewhat from my own births, as well as some friends that I had referred to her that I had been at. She also homeschooled her 8 children (and is still homeschooling). She has a busy and thriving practice. She completed her AAMI work in one year. She was pretty gung-ho about it all. But she also had friends and family around during her training...something we military-spouses usually do not.

I know my biggest problem right now is not having a midwife to work with (that isn't at least an hour away!!!). But in the past, it has also been finding reliable, trustworthy chilcare - as well as reliable and trustworthy BACKUP childcare....and to have it be ON-CALL all at the same time!!! Wow. That is a lot to ask! Not to mention deployments making everything much harder. As our children age, it'll be come easier, but if we always have a little one, it is hard. Once you establish your own practice it becomes possible to bring a sitter and your tiny ones - but that is a hard one to ask of your preceptor....depending on your relationship.

My husband is currently deployed right now. My current plan is to finish my own AAMI work, take come A&P classes, and then within the next 2 years or so go to Maternidad La Luz for their 1-year program (with my Army spouse!!! LOL). Talk about shot in the dark, eh???? If you're military you know what I am saying - because how could that even work if he was deployed while we were there????? Ugh. Talk about needing a reliable nanny or family member if that happened. Right now, my husband is considering graduate degree program that you can apply to and if accepted to to any school of your choice for a post-graduate degree...(hence the plan would be for him to go to El Paso, where he will be doing a masters program full-time, and still being paid by the Army, while I am at MLL). HA! Well, the way we see it, is that if all of that happens - then it is truly meant to be. And if not, then eventually, eventually, my midwifery education will come, slowly, but surely....it will, because I want it to. But in the mean time, there is at least a plan, and a contingency plan! What else can we do???

post #24 of 37
This post seems to be about two issues.

Homeschooling and midwifery work really well together, ime. When I get called to a birth, all my kids are usually with me. Also, relaxed homeschooling or unschooling works pretty nicely with my schedule.

Otoh, being an apprentice midwife with young children is DIFFICULT, ime. I could see how it would work if you have supportive family and/or lots of money! Unfortunately that's not us. My dh works a lot, we do not have family here, and I pay a fortune for good babysitting. Often I have to make tons of arrangements (like the time recently I was at a labor for over 24h and had to arrange three different sitters over the 24h period! Ugh!) and make lots of calls, and cross my fingers that everything will work out.

Often I come home totally exhausted from a long birth, and my house is a mess and my kids are wild/clingy because they missed me. Sigh.

It's definitely a challenge to do a self-paced program with young children. I find it very difficult to find a balance.

I'm painting a dark picture, but I really agree with those who said there's a season for everything. Life is long. You don't want to pick between being a good mother and a good student/apprentice.
post #25 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoomaYula View Post

Often I come home totally exhausted from a long birth, and my house is a mess and my kids are wild/clingy because they missed me. Sigh.

It's definitely a challenge to do a self-paced program with young children. I find it very difficult to find a balance.
A little off topic here - but I can't believe you come home to a messy house!!! Besides my kids being well cared for - one of my requirements for ALL of my sitters is that they leave the house looking like it was when they walked into it - or better. I say it up front too. I do NOT ever want to come home to a house that is destroyed by children and not tended to by the person in charge!! I also tell the sitters that if the kids make messes, I don't necessarily expect THEM to clean it up, but they NEED to facilitate the cleanup. 30 minutes before I am expected home I tell them they need to start cleaning up the house WITH the kids. That includes dishes they've used, food they've prepared, toys, blankets, school - everything. Clean up! Tell your sitters that you expect that of them - especially if you are paying good money!!

Also, I wanted to say that the "self-paced" program sort of falls into the homeschooling realm, and I think is EASIER with small children around. I can put the kids in bed at 7:30 or 8:00pm and have 4 or 5 hours to study (I'm a night person!). I don't have to get up super early to scoot kids off to school, so I have always been able to sleep in until 7 or even 8 sometimes. Even when my kids get up early it isn't so bad because they have school, and we have a routine, etc. We also have a schedule we try to follow most days, and the schedule is posted and we ask our sitters to follow it when we use them during the day/week.
post #26 of 37
I think if you can make it through the apprenticeship, being a midwife with younger children is easier than being an apprentice. As an apprentice, you are at the mercy of someone else's practice, schedule, limits (or lack thereof), etc. As a midwife, you are the one who sets the prenatal schedule, determines how many clients you'll take per month (if any in that month), and how your practice will work. For example, there are times when my kids are at the birth center with me for prenatals. I HATE it and they do too, so we try to avoid it if at all possible, but sometimes it's unavoidable. Also, when I have a non-mobile baby, I take the baby with me for prenatal days. It's just easier that way, for me, the baby and the sitter. That would NEVER EVER have flown in my apprenticeship. Things were much busier, for one, and for two, it just wasn't a kid-friendly practice (for clients it was, but not for us).

I homeschooled until this year and this year I have one school aged child at home and one in private school. Next year they'll both be in private school. Having a child in school has changed some things for me but mostly it's just different...not easier or harder. When I homeschooled, however, I still didn't take my kids with me for most prenatal days. I explained to my clients who wondered about that that there are some things it's just not fair to ask my kids to do...ride around with me for hours on end doing home visits falls into that category. I had more fun w/o them and they had more fun at home with a sitter.

So long story short: yes, it's possible. It's hard and you need a 100% supportive spouse and a good plan for childcare. My apprenticeship child care was provided by a friend for free. In exchange after I was a midwife, I provided a free birth for her (I still think I got the better end of that deal, though). Now she and I trade child care...I use my trade time for mostly business related stuff and she uses her trade time for date nights and fun stuff with her husband...so now she's getting the better deal . Even with a great network of support, it's still a hard balance to find and some people find that it's not worth the effort it takes to find that balance. For me, it is. Being a midwife, having something that I'm passionate about, showing my children that I am a person with interests and a life outside of our family, all of that makes me a better and more patient mother, so it's worth it to me to fight to find that balance.
post #27 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charmie981 View Post
For me, it is. Being a midwife, having something that I'm passionate about, showing my children that I am a person with interests and a life outside of our family, all of that makes me a better and more patient mother, so it's worth it to me to fight to find that balance.
My dh and I were just talking about this. I expressed to him that maybe our lives would be easier if I could just find peace and contentment in just homeschooling and householding. He said he thought that was crazy, for the same reasons you stated. I still don't know how it's going to work but i do agree that it is worth it to try and figure it out. I just wish I would have been called to this before we had children, then I could've gotten the apprenticeship out of the way!

My dh is not likely to be deployed anymore, but military life is still different and very demanding. Most civilian jobs with this many hours would involve a lot more money...and then we could afford the childcare! I wish I had some family members to depend on. But, I like your ideas about swapping with friends and I will work on being more open-minded about finding creative solutions!
post #28 of 37
I'm glad to have found this thread and to read the responses.

I am a homeschooling mother of 4 who is waiting, waiting, waiting until it is my time to pursue my dream of becoming a midwife.

I began an apprenticeship with a CPM when my second child was 6 months. I attended prenatals for 6 months and then began attending births once my dd turned 1. My DH was supportive and my mom lived nearby and could usually watch the kids at short notice. I loved it, but had to give it up after a few months because we ended up moving to Germany, and having two more children. Now we are living in the UK. There is no direct entry midwifery here - I would have to do a midwifery course full-time for 3 years, or part-time for 5 or 6 years. DH works long hours and we have no family around, and certainly no money to hire sitters or a nanny. I would also love to have another child.

I am 38 and sometimes I feel like my chance to become is slipping away, and that I should just put my kids in school and daycare and get on with my studies. But then I tell myself that if it is meant to be it will happen and there is no age limit for being a midwife. I did go to a meeting of the Association of Radical Midwives a few months ago, and was encouraged by the fact that a lot fo the women who were just finishing their studies were around my age.
post #29 of 37
very very sadly, i see no other way but to resign myself to putting my midwifery goals on hold for now. my apprenticeship worked wonderfully when i had all big kids. but i have a new little one now and another surprise on the way. and a dh w/ a very inflexible schedule, unlike before when he owned his own business pre the economy tanking. i'd do an online school in the meantime if i could, but none are affordable for me atm. *sniff* so instead, i'm settling w/ pursuing an RN degree for now because 1.) it's paid for by federal financial aid. 2.) i can do all my pre-req courses online at night. and 3.) i've GOT to do something (in part because of similar reasons expressed upthread RE needing balance; something outside of being a mom and homemaker). it's only a 2 year program and some of the classes will transfer in the future to a midwifery school.

anywhoo. brainstorming a solution to this dilemma has been the story of my life since i attended my last birth as an apprentice and gave birth myself in '08. i obviously still don't have one, but i have faith i'll get there at some point.

it'll all be worth it when all is said and done--both midwifery and motherhood are beautiful work, deserving of their own chapter, y/k? (so she tells herself)

and to all those who say they're getting too old--what about those lovely seasoned granny midwives?! those are the best variety.
post #30 of 37
and just to add--i'm seriously, seriously considering doing the doula gig to hold me over and give me my birth fix. it'd give me some semblance of still moving forward and 1 or 2 births a month might be doable.
post #31 of 37
I have dissolved in tears more than once at the seeming futility of trying to be myself outside of my responsibility for my children and relationship to DH. Simple things like reading a book, or using the bathroom are out of my reach, what makes me think I could actually have a *life* and *career*, especially something as high demand as midwifery? DH asks something like, "What are you going to do then? Give up? Work at Wal-Mart after the kids move out, just for the social interaction?"
Of course not! Doesn't that sound ridiculous? I don't know when I'll get this ball rolling, but I solidly intend to be the little old lady attending births and teaching young moms about breastfeeding and birth control. Like Dr. Ruth with a bunch of herbs and a medical kit!!
post #32 of 37
For those who feel the time might never come: Just wanted to reassure you. You won't always have children at home. I was hoping to be actively practicing by the time I was 50(as a CNM). But, single parenthood became a reality, and I switched majors(I went back to school at age 40). Got my AAS and eventual BS in Computer information systems(couldn't support the family while doing RN rotations- they wouldn't let us) so my actual formal education for midwifery didn't even start til I was 50! I have now finished my PEP process for NARM,and am studying to take the exam in Feb. I started on this midwifery road as childbirth educator and doula in 1984! so, it's never too late, but if i had it to do over again, I would do just what I did, homeschool(begun in 1983), homebirth, and when the kids are older and can fend for themselves(or are grown) then do the apprenticeship. I was a single parent from 1986-88, and 1993-2002 as well. ITA with the "seasons of life" comment. Midwifery is doable, while you homeschool, but for me it was most necessary that the kids had safety and security(given my personal situation). I had no family around at all. It will come in time, if it's meant to be...
post #33 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by cathicog View Post
For those who feel the time might never come: Just wanted to reassure you. You won't always have children at home. I was hoping to be actively practicing by the time I was 50(as a CNM). But, single parenthood became a reality, and I switched majors(I went back to school at age 40). Got my AAS and eventual BS in Computer information systems(couldn't support the family while doing RN rotations- they wouldn't let us) so my actual formal education for midwifery didn't even start til I was 50! I have now finished my PEP process for NARM,and am studying to take the exam in Feb. I started on this midwifery road as childbirth educator and doula in 1984! so, it's never too late, but if i had it to do over again, I would do just what I did, homeschool(begun in 1983), homebirth, and when the kids are older and can fend for themselves(or are grown) then do the apprenticeship. I was a single parent from 1986-88, and 1993-2002 as well. ITA with the "seasons of life" comment. Midwifery is doable, while you homeschool, but for me it was most necessary that the kids had safety and security(given my personal situation). I had no family around at all. It will come in time, if it's meant to be...
Thank you for this!
post #34 of 37
cathicog- thank you for your beautiful post! It was very reassuring and just what I needed to read.

I have 4 young children and I homeschool them. I love the life we have and I also am finding it hard to balance my needs verses the needs of my children and husband. I am doing midwifery self study right now and I plan to take a CPR class next month and in March Karen Strange is coming to my state. I am hoping I can work things out so that I can attend her NRP class. I am taking baby steps and someday I will be able to more fully immerse myself in midwifery study.
post #35 of 37
Update on me: I recently decided to stop apprenticing because I didn't have time for my family and other interests. As much as I love midwifery and want to be a midwife, I'm hugely relieved. I am continuing with school -- slowly! -- and hope that when the time is right for my family and me, I will find another apprenticeship. I imagine it will be several years.
post #36 of 37
If you have young children and an apprenticeship just isn't in the cards right now, the best thing to do if you plan on continuing with midwifery, is to READ and keep up with current info! There are so many books out there...I know there is a list somewhere on this board. You can attend Birth Network meetings (or start one!) Midwifery Today magazines are a great place to get information too. Apprenticing is just one aspect of midwifery but it does require a good base of learned bookwork as well. I'm just saying that midwifery doesn't have to be an all -or- nothing thing. Midwives are constantly learning from many different sources....and as someone else said, your kids won't be little forever! Use this time to self study. Give yourself assignments like 20 vocab words per week....or explain in detail the ways to resolve a shoulder dystocia... how to recognize a postpartum hemmorhage and what to do about it. Pick up a neonatal resuscitation book and study that too. Sometimes, when you're apprenticing, it's hard to find the time or energy to do this kind of study so it's good to do it now. (Being up all night with an infant or toddler can compare to being up all night at a birth!)

There are a lot of students and a lot of apprentices right now (more so than when I started!)....those students and apprentices will have their own practice in a couple years...just waiting for you to come along with all the book smarts, eager for some hands on experience. You never know what's waiting for you.
post #37 of 37
I finished my apprenticeship, book work, and passed the NARM this past 6 months. It's been a long road for me. I first became interested in midwifery after my second child was born in 1992. Since then I've had seven more children and I'm currently expecting number ten.

I believe there is a time and a season and that as we live our lives we gain valuable experience to bring to our clients when the time is right. I have been blessed with an amazing husband. All the successful midwives/moms I know have great husbands! Four years ago the time was finally right for me. I did a number of things that have helped me. I homeschool. I don't know how I could have made it through my apprenticeship without it. My older children have pulled a lot of weight. They cook, clean, teach, babysit, whatever needed to be done.

I also worked with a number of midwives who had slower practices in my area. This gave me the opportunity to see how different midwives do things and allowed me to stay around 2-3 births a month. I found that more than this was too much for my family. Clinic was one day a week. More than two was also tough.

I had the opportunity to spend a couple of weeks several different times over the four years working at busy birthcenters where I could do a lot of births in a short amount of time. These opportunities were away from home so I wan't distracted by my family. One of these was at CASA in El Paso, TX. This experience allowed me to build hands on skills that the homebirth midwives I worked with didn't use a lot.

A blessing for my family was having schedules. I'm pretty laid back and we kind of unschool, but we needed chore charts, meal charts, weekly schedules, etc to keep things running. Our home is NEVER spotless. I've picked my battles. Freezer meals is a wonderful tool! And having a second driver is priceless! Sadly, my two oldest have left home (we're excited for them to begin their own lives, just sad to see them go) and my next oldest won't be 16 until August.

Goodluck to all of you with young children, realize that time brings wonderful experiences that will add to your practice and make you a better midwife. In the past four years I've had a baby that came along to births and clinic. I had another baby with a serious heart defect that required my full attention and a break from midwifery. Now I'm expecting again and I'm starting my own practice! Now I get to decide how many births a month, when to schedule time off, what days work best for clinic. It's a process. One that enriches you and your family's lives. If midwifery is a career you intend to retire from then maybe there is a hurry. If not, enjoy the ride!

Tammy
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