I am currently a student in a CPM program, the National Midwifery Institute. Like you, I got the birth doula certification done and attended some births before taking the leap into midwifery education.
Obviously, I don't think that direct-entry midwifery is inherently dangerous or I wouldn't be pursuing it. I am completely comfortable with the CPM credential and believe that for someone who loves learning and will pursue knowledge on their own, those midwives will be better educated than an OB or a hospital based CNM.
I don't think any level of education short of a Doctorate, would be enough. For those people, thinking that doctors are better than midwives or that hospital births are safer than home births is their philosophy. For them, you can't measure up. As a midwife, you'll be able to help educate those people about midwifery care, but don't make it your job to change their minds.
I think your goal is attainable. Heck, I didn't think that I would be able to do what I'm doing now; working as a doula, working 40 hours a week at night to pay for school, taking care of my kids and being a student midwife, but I am. (Thanks to an amazing husband!).
And I definitely think that a combination of the methods you mentioned can produce a qualified midwife. I don't personally believe that any of those things alone are enough, but I think that you can piece together a program for yourself that will make you the kind of midwife your clients will need.
For me, what that looks like so far has been:
- working at WIC as a Breastfeeding Counselor
- training and attending births as a doula
- taking the neonatal resuscitation training
- attending the Midwifery Today conference
- attending La Leche League conferences
- taking the BirthWorks childbirth educator training
- enrolling in the National Midwifery Institute and starting to look for a preceptor
It will include:
- years of study
- apprenticeship with several midwives
- renewing my neonatal resus. card every other year, hopefully with Karen Strange again
- training as an EMT or LPN