What do "you" think is the best route to becoming a midwife? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 07-22-2008, 05:27 PM - Thread Starter
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I really want to be a midwife. Currently though, I am working on my bachelor's in religion. I thought about changing to nursing and then getting my masters to become a CNM. But, there is also a midwifery school in my town, so I could go there as well to train to be a liscensed midwife. TBH I'm not really sure I getwhat the difference is. Someone care to explain? How did you choose what path to take?
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#2 of 12 Old 07-22-2008, 05:34 PM
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#3 of 12 Old 07-22-2008, 06:14 PM
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I personally chose not to go the CNM route because I don't want to be as strictly regimented. I do not like anything that makes me practice in an institutionalized way, for me that means that I am not interested in practicing in a hospital or birth center because I don't want to be a slave to policy. I also believe that continuity of care is extremely important and am not interested in shift work.

There are great CNMs out there that have made a huge difference in hospital birth for many women and great CNMs that do home births, but I personally would prefer to be taught in an environment that is very trusting of birth and want to practice in a very hands off way that allows the parents to define my role. I feel that this would be harder to achieve as a CNM, where you are taught in a much more traditional, medical way. Also, I have no desire to go to nursing school.

Those are my reasons, but I don't think they are the only valid reasons out there! Good luck

Marilyn, married to my soulmate Jay and mommy to Elijah Blaze 08/04/2003 and Mila Soleil 10/02/2011 . 
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#4 of 12 Old 07-22-2008, 06:29 PM
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I recommend that you get as much formal education as possible. Unfortunately your options for earning a degree in midwifery are extremely limited unless you want to become a CNM, but I would still go as far as possible. Even if you can't get "midwifery" education, you can still get college credit in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, nutrition, psychology... all incredibly relevant to being a midwife.
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#5 of 12 Old 07-22-2008, 08:40 PM
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It all depends on what sort of midwife you want to be. Sometimes it's hard to form your own ideas when you're being spoon fed values, philosophies and knowledge that comes from a different model than you are currently believing in. It takes a strong person to challenge the status quo and current myths and beliefs about birth (even in midwifery schools this happens!!!). I'm not saying it can't be done - it really can, but it takes someone who is willing to look beyond the education they're being given.

Money is a huge issue, too. If you're wanting to be a homebirth midwife consider loans that you'll have to repay when starting your own practice. This is a huge strain and sometimes midwives take on clients they normally wouldn't simply because they need the money.

For homebirth midwifery, I really appreciate programs like Ancient Arts Midwifery. AAMI offers women the opportunity to get a rock solid, comprehensive education, at their own pace, at a tenth of what the midwifery school in my state costs.

It sucks to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a midwifery education only to realize that maybe midwifery isn't what you want to do.

I suggest reading, reading, reading and finding a philosophy and approach that fits in your heart.
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#6 of 12 Old 07-22-2008, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by pamamidwife View Post

I suggest reading, reading, reading and finding a philosophy and approach that fits in your heart.

I really feel this is the key.
I am not a midwife. someday i will be. I began by asking this same question about 3 years ago. This is what I have figured out.
You have to start at the end and follow it back to the present, if that makes sense.
Read. Read every book you can get your hands on about birth. Read things that are main stream as well. Read Spiritual midwifery, Birthing from within, anything, go as far as reading Pushed. I recently found a really good book called "Giving Birth: A Journey of Mothers and Midwives" by Catherine Taylor. Easy read, and makes you think.
As you do, pay attention to how the things talked about in the books make you feel as you read them. Not just the people you may read about and their feelings, but even how each birth is handled and the feel you get from each situation. you will then begin to really think about your own feelings and ideas of birth and what being a midwife means to you. You have to be thinking of the kind of person you are and what you want to offer the women that you serve. What do you want to bring to birth.

If you feel that you would do best to help women in a setting where they want the medical "back up" of a hospital and don't yet have full trust in there bodies. They want that reassurance, then the CNM route may be more for you. You could bring normalcy to a not so "normal" place to give birth.

If you find you have strong leanings in the importance of autonomy in birth and that trusting birth is most important, you may want to avoid the nursing and more medical scene and work toward learning , apprenticing and becoming a homebirth CPM, or LM.

You may be somewhere in between and the adventurous sort and want to eventually work in or operate a free standing birth center. This can be done in some places as either a CPM or a CNM.

You need to think about the area you want to live/practice in. Look into the laws and regulations. A CNM will often, as was said, be much more closely regimented in what she can and cannot consider within her scope of practice than a homebirth direct entry midwife.

There are many ways to get a good education. As was said, many things you can study that work right into it as well. You have to be able to take what you learn at an establishment and learn what you can about it and then decide how you feel about it as well. A good hands on education is so important. Apprenticeship is the ancient way of training a midwife. Women learning from each other and all the experiences that take place within that.

You will find if you are serious about this that you learn something new from every birth. From every birth story you are told or read, even from every question and answer thread you read on this forum. A true calling to midwifery seems to grab hold of you some how and wont let go.

I started with a difficulty trusting the process completely, and really not knowing what to do with myself, just that I had to do something. So I started reading. The more I read, and watched, the more I realized what a beautiful normal natural amazing process the birth of baby really is. I started paying attention to women talk about their birth experience. I trained as a Doula thinking that would hold me over til i was in a better place to move forward, then realized after attending my first homebirth that doula work is not for me. way to hands on for me.

My personal philosophies surrounding birth have gone from one end to the other over the last 2 years. My path now will include an education through AAMI, in conjunction with, or followed by apprenticeship to get me to becoming a certified, possibly licensed homebirth midwife. I will most likely work in classes at my local college in anatomy & physiology, medical terminology, and whatever else I feel could be helpful to me to go along with the courses i have already taken in years past.

Now that I have written a book, i thank you if you got this far. I wasn't going to type so much, but it is a subject close to my heart right now, so I had to share all my thoughts

Lisa~Was Aspiring Midwife~Now-AAMI Midwifery Student #2020~Mama to Zackery 3/29/96, Drake 9/22/01, and Selina 10/26/03...and here was the link to my new blog
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#7 of 12 Old 07-22-2008, 10:15 PM
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I am right in the same boat with you!

I am an undergraduate studying speech therapy (a career I am no longer interested in!) but it is too late to change my major to nursing...so I am going to have to see where to go from here

so no advice--just letting you know I'm with you!
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#8 of 12 Old 07-23-2008, 08:21 AM
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I recommend the book Paths to Becoming a Midwife. You can buy it at the Midwifery Today website.

The path I'm taking feels right to me, but it's not the right path for all aspiring midwives.
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#9 of 12 Old 07-23-2008, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by busybusymomma View Post
I recommend the book Paths to Becoming a Midwife. You can buy it at the Midwifery Today website.

The path I'm taking feels right to me, but it's not the right path for all aspiring midwives.
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#10 of 12 Old 07-23-2008, 11:58 AM
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#11 of 12 Old 07-23-2008, 01:33 PM
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In many ways I could say be one the way I became a mw
but actually I would say job shadow midwives - and interview others if you can't find more than 2-- you will have plenty of questions. It would probably help for you to do some values clarification- what do you want from your work/job, what are the common issues for mws in your region/state/ what is the legal standing of either type of mw also look a things like scope of practice of each type when you look at the laws --- also midwifery is a huge burn out job with lots of attrition and so something to consider is how will you be set to do another job if you quit being a midwife (will you be able to attend school again or will you need to earn ASAP)
CNMs who work in hospital or birth center settings are in group practice and there is usually a schedule for time off and on call time as well as clinicals and regardless of the laws in your state even if CNMs can be fully independent providers (not in every state) group practice usually includes a doc who will probably have more control and say over protocols -- on the plus side they usually have insurance and even a retirement plan--
LMs more often are entrepreneurs-- may also be affected by any backup situation they have and more often than not are on call 24/7 , you will need to have some savvy or learn how to run a small business along with the details of being a mw- now i have met LMs who do have 401Ks , and have health insurance as well as work in a group practice so they do have time off so it is possible but up to you to figure out and develop for yourself
in any case those are some of the details I know that there are tons of others that may help you decide which path is for you
good luck
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#12 of 12 Old 07-23-2008, 10:17 PM
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I first decided what my midwifery goals were. I came to the conclusions that being in a hospital environment all the time would not work for me and that what I really wanted to do was attend homebirths. Then I did a lot of research into my state laws regarding homebirth midwives. My local government requires CPMs to attend a MEAC accredited program in order to be licensed. So that narrowed down my list of options and I chose what I think will be the right fit. I'm still at the very beginning stages of this journey, so I'm sure it will change some as I go along, but for right now I feel content.
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