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Moving to Maine

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hi Everyone. I'm tentatively planning on moving to Maine when I graduate midwifery school in 2 years. My grandmother was born and raised there, and I visited her once when I was a child and fell in love with the state. I have realized that I cannot live far from the ocean (I've lived/been raised in Rhode Island, Florida, Scotland, and Ireland), and I am in love with big trees and forests. I also see a need for more midwives in Maine.

My knowledge of Maine, however, is severely limited to the few stories my grandmother told me before she passed away. I need some practical advice about city vs. town life, alternative culture and community, weather, and politics.

I am specifically looking at Kittery, Wiscasset, Ben Harbor, Eastport, Rockland, and Rumford. These are all areas that are in need of midwifery care, but I know nothing about them besides what I've read on Wikipedia.

Any advice or suggestions would be most appreciated!
post #2 of 8
I live in the Rumford area and can tell you a bit about it. Feel free to PM if you want more specifics.

Ocean - from Rumford, it is a bit further away than in the other locations you are concidering but it is quite easy to take a day trip to the ocean from the Rumford area.

Big trees and forests - defintiely have those!! and lots and lots of them. Wood products and wood industry supplies a lot of jobs around here. This area has many small mountains covered in trees - gorgeous veiws everywhere beautiful hikes in tree shaded paths are abundant.

A need for midwives in this area - definitely! I had to do a lot of searching to find a HB midwife to come to my home - she is over an hour away. She still doesn't have a backup midwife to come to me for the birth as most others are 1.5-2 hours away and it won't work for their schedules. It is a lot of miles and in bad weather, those driving times could easily be doubled. There used to be a CNM/NP that worked at the Rumford Hospital but she left over five years ago and they got another OB/GYN instead Too bad because she was a CNM/NP and was the only female primary care health provider that could also deliver babies. The central location of Rumford could provide a lot of midwifery outreach to areas that have little or no midwifery options (areas near Rangely, Farmington, Bethel/Newery, etc.)

City v. town v. rural life: Your choices out here (Rumford area) are town or rural life both of which are much different than the bigger cities in Maine (Portland, Lewiston/Auburn, Bangor). You definietly need to check out any town personally before you get your heart set on one. They all have their own quirks. Rumford proper has a paper mill which IMO stinks far too much for me to ever live in town. However, one can easily live 10 minutes away and not have that problem. The town has a natural food store, medium-sized grocery store, drug store, Walmart and a few dozen other little shops/stores/services. A little bit of culture but you can also drive a bit (30-60 minsutes) and have more of that. LOTS of outdoor recreation!! You can usually get most of your daily/weekly shopping needs done in the area. Lots of craft fairs in the fall and winter. Lots of folks that are artisans or make lovely handmade items - you could get anything made or grown for you here. Bigger box stores are about 40 minutes away in Lewiston/Auburn or Augusta. People are nice and you really get to know them rather quickly especially if you ask for advise Generally, most folks are hard working and practical people. You can live a bit further away and live in a rural area - fresh air, more land, fewer neighbors but you will be in your car a lot more. You could live right in the middle of a pine or hardwood forest and still be about 10-30 minutes from town. I really love the rural lifestyle here!

Alternative Culture and community: There is some of that in the Rumford area but not as much as the other areas which you are concidering (natural foods, food coops, CSAs & farmers market, yoga, other crunchy/natural folks, organic farms, homeschoolers). There is more alternative culture closer to Farmington (due to the University there) and the Bethel area which are both relatively close to Rumford.

Weather: it is cold most of the year but the summers are usually fantastic, autumn colors are amazing especially because of the mountains. We are in zone 4 for growing but depending on exactly where you live you might be in a slightly warmer or colder pocket. Elevation in this area makes a big difference. The rumford area is a bit colder and has a shorter growing season than the other places you are concidering near the coast. On the coast, spring thaw/last frost is about 3 weeks ahead of Rumford. We can get heavy snows but usually less ice than the coastal areas. Roads are fairly well maintained but in heavy snows, it just takes a while to clear everything. Snow tires are usually needed.

Politics: this really varies from town to town - in general, I think Rumford is socially conservative but easily votes in most democrats.

Other info on Rumford that might be of interest to a midwife: The average income in this area is lower than much of the state, many people receive some sort of government assistance. This is espeically true in the Town of Rumford. The closer you get to Bethel or Farmington or Lewiston/Auburn, the income goes up more. However, property prices are also lower and there can be some very good buys in the Rumford area. It seems that teenage pregnancy is fairly common as well as single young moms. There is not a lot of jobs available in the immediate area if you are looking for one for a spouse/partner. They may have to drive to Augusta/Lewiston for work.

I hope this helps. If you have any specific questions on the area, let me know.
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
bird_verde, thank you so very much for all that excellent info! You answered every single question I would have about that area!! It sounds like a beautiful place to live and raise a family. If I can think of any more questions about Rumford, I will definitely PM you! Thank you again!! I really appreciate the help!
post #4 of 8
I can give you a little info on the Rockland area. I'm in a nearby town and grew up here. There are a set of homebirth midwives in the Belfast area that cover quite a large range of towns. I used them for my second. The local hospital in Rockland has a couple great CNM's and a lot of my friends have used them with great success for natural births. And about 40 minutes away at Miles Memorial hospital there are even more natural friendly CNM's. So for the record, the Rockland area is pretty well covered, in my opinion!

The area is pretty crunchy friendly. There are a plethora of csa's and natural food stores, all types of schools (waldorf, montessori, reggio , etc...) local winery's, a tiny art scene, not much of a music scene. I think people here are pretty liberal, although there are pockets of very fundamental churches. Theres a good mix of well to do and low income. Rockland in particular is home to a lot of lower income folks, and just down Rt 1 Camden is very posh. I live out in one of the surrounding country towns and its great. Rural but still within 20-30 minutes of town. Housing prices are dropping so thats a plus for you! Oh and of course the ocean is right there. There are tons of beaches and parks to hang at. Its amazing in the summertime. Can be a bit rough in the winter but it sounds like you are familiar with that kind of weather.

If you have any specific q's I'd be glad to elaborate.
post #5 of 8
I can tell you a bit about Bar Harbor and Eastport areas

I am in Northeast Washington County and we are seeing a midwife in Millbridge, which is about a half hour out of the Bar Harbor region. We for sure have a need for more midwives here, particularly the Eastport/Calais/Lubec area, we are traveling 2 hours one way to see ours! There are a decent (3 or 4 if I remember correctly) amount of midwives in the Ellsworth/Bar Harbor region though, there are none in eastern Washington county. Also, I would look at Lubec over Eastport, as you have to go through the reservation to get to Eastport and that can be a pain at times.

But as for the Downeast (Washington and Hancock counties) area in general you have a nice balance of the coast and the forest. It is not a very populated area in general so you are probably looking mostly at town life vs city, the only "major" city areas would be Ellsworth and Calais, though Bangor isn't too far a drive either. Bar Harbor get's very busy during summer due to Acadia being right there, but it is beautiful there, not sure I'd want to live actually in Bar Harbor though

It probably would be easier to live more in the Bar Harbor area though vs the Eastport area looking at it from a store perspective. You have a lot more options the closer you are to Ellsworth, whereas you really only have a Walmart, Shop and Save, IGA, and a very small natural food store around the Eastport area. Also, the further east you go into Washington County the more poverty and lack of education you tend to see unfortunately, it is the poorest county in the state and many people are on aid. I'm not sure if there really is much demand for midwives out this way because of that, so it could be better to be more west. You might also look at the Machias area for some balance between Eastport and Bar Harbor, you could also service both areas then as you'd be more central, just something to consider.

The weather is definitely cold a lot, but like a PP, the summer's are awesome and the leaves in fall are beautiful.

Politics tend to be pretty conservative in Washington County, very anti-government at times too. Not too sure about Bar Harbor area on that one, sorry. There tends to be a lack of law enforcement as well from my experience, especially among the islands and harder to reach areas like Lubec and Eastport.

If you have children that you plan to enroll in school too, you may want look at the areas based on that. Since they passed the consolidation legislation many of the smaller schools are slowly being forced to close which often means some long bus rides for the kids to get to school.

Sorry if this is kind of convoluted, I tried to keep it semi-organized, there is a lot of info to give though! If you have an specific questions about Washington County or Hancock County specifically feel free to ask me!
post #6 of 8
Wiscassett is nice. I would actually recommend the town I live in, which is 20 minutes south of there, Bath, ME. It's got a strong sense of community with community events every season. It's also close to Brunswick and Topsham, which have a lot going on. And 45 minutes from Portland, a city in Maine. We've been here for almost two years and really love it. The library is really nice, especially the children's room, there's lots to do, and Bath has a walkable, vibrant downtown with a Reny's and grocery store and health food store. We love it here!

post #7 of 8
I hope you find the perfect area for you up here. I'm a transplant from PA, and love it here (I live near Augusta - ~1hr to the ocean and ~1hr to the mountains). If it might be at all helpful, my website www.birthingyourbaby.com has a Local Resources page with lots of links to Central Maine pregnancy & birth resources.

Birth Roots, in Southern Maine, seems to be doing very well, and might be a place to get more information from, especially if you decide on Southern Maine. Southern Maine and the Midcoast area seem like they have some good things going on birth-wise - more midwives, some hospitals more supportive of natural birth, more doulas etc... Once you get up to Lewiston/Auburn (which isn't that far north), there is a lot less of a natural birth community.

This has been somewhat frustrating for me, as a childbirth educator. Two doula friends & I just started a facebook page, called Birthing Mothers, hoping to kickstart some awareness of choice up in our area. You're welcome to check that out, too.

Best wishes!
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much, Ladies! All the information is absolutely wonderful!

christina, I "liked" your FB page!
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