Originally Posted by pamamidwife
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