A little background: I am 32 years old, the mother of one six year old son who was birthed at home with his father and three lovely midwives from the NHS in the UK. I have always been interested in pregnancy and birth, and recently made the decision to begin training for my birth doula certification (as well as breastfeeding counselor) with the eventual goal of becoming a midwife. I absolutely feel this is the right path for me -- I would love nothing more than to be surrounded by birthing women and their families for the rest of my life.
That said, the system here is completely different from the UK. Though I am American, I lived in Scotland for my pregnancy and birth, and am much more familiar with their maternity system than the one here. My original plan was to take the CNM route, but for various reasons, I feel this is not the way I want to go. So, I began to research direct-entry education plans, and though I haven't decided on any one program yet, I believe this is the how I will proceed with my education when the time comes.
Or I did. I encountered a thread on a birthing page on Facebook tonight that really made me stop and think. The original post was from a midwife who attends homebirths of those women some would consider high risk -- VBAC's, twins, breech, etc. -- who mentioned having come across what are essentially anti-homebirth and midwife sites. The resulting thread was very helpful and supportive up until the end, when two posters began to talk about how faulty the "system" is, how midwives would never tell their clients about the babies they've "killed", and how when a midwife is accused of negligence, the community rallies around her while crucifying OB's in similar cases. (I am paraphrasing because although I engaged them in respectful dialogue, their posts have since been deleted.)
This really got me thinking. IS direct-entry midwifery inherently dangerous? How much education and qualification is necessary to appease people who believe that? How many births? How many deaths are too many? I believe with all my heart that serving women and their families is what I am meant to do with my life, but this thread threw me for a loop. Am I kidding myself that this path can work for me, and work safely for my eventual clients? Deep down, I inherently trust birth as a natural process and women's abilities to do it successfully more often than not, but seeing such venom directed towards non-CNM midwives and the mothers who would choose them is a little bit horrifying to me. I even see it frequently on the board dedicated to homebirth here on MDC.
I don't know exactly what I'm asking for. Maybe reassurance that my goal is attainable? That it's reasonable? That distance education, self-education, and apprenticeship are valid paths to produce a well-rounded, safe, completely qualified midwife? If you don't feel that way, why or why not? This is troubling me on a pretty fundamental level, and I know it's something I need to work through -- and I will -- but I would very much appreciate feedback from women who are actually living my dream.
Thanks for reading this book and humoring me!