a doula and have been for about 5 years now. I am not offended by the comments at all, can't see why I would have been...
Anyway, I have a really hard time with LOW risk women being in the hospital most
of the time.
Some women are strong enough to withstand the onslaught of continued harranguing, begging, pleading, authoritarian fingerpointing and/or the dead baby card being played by their care providers. This happens more than I care to think about, especially at our more provincial, outlying hospitals. There is unfortunately, very little support for natural birth or non interventive birth at some hospitals. It can be very very difficult for the mom, even WITH a doula, to make the decisions that may be best for her and her family.
Personally, I do not much enjoy doing hospital births anymore. I still feel joy for my clients and amazement at the miracle of birth, but it is overshadowed often by the constant insistant interruptions and interventions. Often the mother sighs and just shrugs her shoulders and gives up and submits to the careproviders who have repeatedly ignored or argued with her requests for non-intervention or other reasonable requests. There is only so much you can listen to and they often "wear them down". My position is often more tenuous at some hospitals, because they can "throw me out" if they percieve me as being troublesome. This is not all docs, nor all hospitals, but I do have to be careful and I am not able to speak my mind to the other careproviders. This isn't really my place anyway, but to inform and support the parents in their decisions, but often, if they are dealing with overbearing nurses or docs, my calm quiet voice of support for their decisions is overridden by the strident voice of the fear of the dead baby, or the fear of pain, or simply the fear of the birth process itself, which manifests itself in the careproviders wanting to "DO" something all the time, and their seemingly pathological inability to wait.
ANyway, I know I'm going off on a rant.
I don't think you HAVE to be a doula to be an excellent midwife. If you KNOW you want to be a midwife and you don't have doubts or things that you need to clarify, then just go for the midwifery route. If you need to earn money while studying, postpartum services might be actually MORE lucrative without the uncertanty of being on call a lot.
For example, in my area doulas charge about $450 total.
I can make $595 in one week doing postpartum work.
No on call, no concerns about unexpected travel, childcare costs, issues about illness or whether I'll make it to the birth.
For $450 I spend about 60 hours with the client, either on the phone or in person, mostly in person.
For the $595 a week, I have set hours and know when I'll be home. And I only work 40 hours a week, normally.
Drawback is that I don't get to attend the birth. BUT I'm funding my midwifery studies with postpartum work now and it's working well.
Since I'm apprenticing and still able to attend births, my favorite kind, home births, I feel like I have the best of both worlds.
If you're interested in PPD work, I think the best preparations are a solid knowledge of breastfeeding, bottlefeeding, basic babycare, swaddling, techniques for calming babies, ability to demonstrate proper babywearing, bathing, grooming (cutting fingernails, for ex.) and an ability to exude confidence and instill confidence in your mom about her own abilities.
Also, being able to always reference your advice, like I will say that an alternative vaccine schedule might be right for you, mrs. ppd client, and here's the book where I found helpful information. (or the website or the other qualified careprovider)
Parents who are besieged from all sides with conflicting advice and information like to have a calm confident voice to help them navigate and best decide what works for them.
just WAY more than my two cents!