to finish the degree I am currently working on or to transfer to MCU to get a BSM? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 09-27-2011, 04:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey everybody!

    Are there any midwives, student midwives, or aspiring midwives out there who became/are working on becoming a midwife before having kids of her own?

    Did any of you start your CPM midwifery education without first getting some other college degree?


I am 22 years old and am very interested in becoming a CPM...I have completed fours of college but still have two years left in my undergrad...This is because I changed my major twice, married my husband after my junior year, and moved with him from Ohio to San Francisco for his job after my third year of college, which meant I needed to transfer to another school...blah bah's a bit of a long story....


Anyways, a year a go I decided that I really wanted to become either a doula or lactation consultant, or maybe both. Since you can't get a degree in doulaing or lactation consulting :) lol, I decided I should finish up college in a field that would be relevant to working with women, so I decided to major in human development with a concentration in women's development. I enrolled at a local community college to finish up the GEC's I would need to transfer to the university where I just started my hum dev program last week.


Here's the problem, this summer I have become increasingly interested in becoming a CPM, but, at first, I told myself that I would just continue on with my degree in hum dev and simultaneously work on becoming doula, and then would work on my CPM education after that. But now that I have started school again, I am really wishing that I could work toward becoming a CPM NOW instead of working toward this other degree that I am less interested in...I keeping thinking about how I could transfer over to degree granting MEAC accredited school like the Midwives College of Utah instead.... But since a bachelors of science in midwifery is a bit of an unfamiliar concept here in the states, my husband thinks I should finish the degree in hum dev first. I think he is worried that maybe the BSM from one of the MEAC accredited schools is somehow less legitimate than a typical college degree... 


I work really hard in school; I still have a 4.0 after all this time, but this just all means that I am way more stressed out than the typical college student...which is why it bugs me to be spending an extra 2 years in school, if I don't absolutely *have* to...I really have the urge to start working toward exactly what I want NOW....I've been fumbling around for the last four years, and I am tired of it! If I transfered over to MCU and began classes in January, I could be a CPM by the time I am 26/27. My husband and I don't plan on having kids until our early 30s so I could work as a midwife for a good 3-5 years, or even more, without the extra stress of being a mom. I love the idea of being able to solely focus on establishing my practice for a few years before having my own babies...But sometimes I also think that I might be jumping the gun... It might be better to just finish this hum dev degree and gain some experience as a doula. I'm sure the knowledge I would gain from this degree could also be very helpful as a midwife. Maybe I'd find that being on call isn't for me or that I just would rather remain a doula or something...I'm so conflicted...


If anybody has some insight on all of this, I would really appreciate it!

For those of you CPMs who did get a degree before embarking on your CPM education, do you find that that has helped you in getting hired? Do you think people trust you more because of your college degree?

Do people even ask about college degrees, or are they just more interested in how you received your midwifery education?

If you had known that you wanted to become a midwife at a young age, would you have gone for it right way?


Any help would be MUCH appreciated!

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#2 of 6 Old 09-28-2011, 02:56 PM
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If what you're wanting to do is practice as a midwife and you have credits you can transfer, I would go ahead and get the BSM. There are states where it's easier to get licensed as a midwife if you have a degree.

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#3 of 6 Old 10-01-2011, 07:06 AM
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Some things to consider when weighing all of this out:

*do you think you might ever be interested in going to grad school?

*ever think you may possibly be interested in CNM route?

*are there any jobs you want to work in besides midwifery? (the burn out rate can be pretty high)


If you think there is even a chance that you may want a master's degree in the future or to go the CNM route, then finish your current degree! The BSM will not transfer to most schools as a degree they will accept.


Many of the MEAC schools that offer a BSM also offer a master's degree for those who already have a BA/BS, so you could have a master's in midwifery. Or, you could have the option of doing an accelerated nursing program/CNM program after completing the BA you are working on. To be honest, finishing your current degree will give you more flexibility and career options in the future.


I have a college degree from a regular university. I actually worked on it while also working on my CPM. I had done most of the work prior to embarking on midwifery and then finished the last two years while finishing my CPM and then starting my practice. I am glad I have it. I am not so glad for the student loans, but you know, that is just part of it all ;)  I just feel like I have lots of options as far as furthering my education or if I needed to do something other than midwifery for work. Clients and potential clients don't ask about my college degree or what it is in, they are more concerned with my midwifery education and experience (as they should be). Still, I don't regret my degree or feel that it was a waste of my time or anything.

Erika, mama to three beautiful kids (plus one gestating), and wife to one fantastic man.

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#4 of 6 Old 10-05-2011, 11:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you both very much for your insights!


Phathui5, I do have credits that will transfer to MCU and I live in California, a great place to be a CPM!


Erika, I know for sure that I want to be one (or a combination of) three things: a CPM, a doula, or an IBCLC with a private practice. Therefore, I am not concerned about the possibility of wanting to go to grad school in the future. The only thing I worry about happening would be that I would spend 3-4 years finishing my BSM, practice as a midwife for a while, and then decide that I would rather have the more predictable, tame life of a lactation consultant lol. (You mentioned the burnout rate) I guess that wouldn't be the end of the world though. I would just feel pretty silly. I am also not interested in becoming a CNM. I actually was a nursing major for two years and worked as a nurse's aid during those two years. Those two years taught me that I wanted to be my own boss. I felt like the quality of care I could give my patients was, in many ways, out of my control due to things like constantly being understaffed, etc, and that frustrated me immensely!...I could talk for hours on that subject. I want to be able to put my entire focus into one woman at a time, and to be able to give her the best care I possibly can. 


So, here is what I have decided to do. I am going to take sometime off of school to just focus on finishing my doula certification and on working as a doula for awhile (and, frankly, just give myself sometime to clear my head!). I think gaining experience through doulaing will help me clarify exactly what I want to do. If I decide that I do want to be a midwife, I will enroll in MCU in the BSM program. You can start at MCU at three different points in the year, so I will just doula until I feel ready. If I see that I am leaning more toward sticking with being a doula and becoming a lactation consultant then I can decide to finish a degree in something else. I am 22 and not planning on having kids till I am 30, so I really do have time to sus things out a little bit. But anyways, for now, I am really excited to be able to just focus on working towards my doula certification! Do you ladies think this sounds like a good compromise?



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#5 of 6 Old 10-22-2011, 09:55 PM
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This is a struggle many women experience :) Midwifery is difficult and midwifery education a long journey for a majority of the students. It's more of a call than just a job, it's something that you'll be committed to in one form or another for a big part of your life. I trained to be a doula when I was 21 and I'm now almost 26 and in my first year of my midwifery studies at MCU, It sounds like you do need more time to decide if it's something you HAVE to do because you can't imagine anything else or if it's just a general field you're interested in. There's a lot of hats birth professionals can wear so you're definitely not limited (birth doula, postpartum doula, lactation counselor/educator, lactation consultant, childbirth educator, infant massage instructor, various methods teacher ie HUG, Happiest Baby on the Block, community advocate, etc)! I hope this doesn't come off negatively, I'm struggling myself right now trying to balance everything!


If you really are interested in becoming a midwife there are some serious questions you should ask yourself first. Here's a question from one of my assignments...


"Are you and your family willing to have you leave in the middle of:

Your five year old's birthday party?

A movie with the whole family?

Christmas morning? 


Some much needed sleep?

Church? What if you are the teacher?

Medical appointments with your child?

Nighttime rituals like putting your kids to bed?

When you're sick and throwing up from morning sickness?

When you have to leave a crying nursing baby?

When the weather is terrible?

When you are exhausted from a birth the night before?"


It's definitely not easy, there's not big money in it, your family will have to make sacrifices, but it's hugely rewarding in other aspects. Just be sure when you make your choice so that when things get hard you know why you're doing it and have the drive to keep you going. If not, it's easy to give up. There's so many people that drop out of the programs. If you have more specific questions I'd be happy to help!! If you need more positives to motivate you, let me know too, this came out more as a reality check that I had recently given myself!

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#6 of 6 Old 11-08-2011, 12:47 PM
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This is my first time posting on this forum :). I am also struggling with the same questions. I am 19, and have been a baby lover my whole life. I trained as a doula this past summer, and became enthralled with becoming a midwife. I attend The Evergreen State College, and can set up "Individual Learning Contract" (basically, do what you want, but get college credit and work w/ a PhD Faculty member and pay tuition) to study midwifery and am trying to decide which route to take.


There is a course being offered here next quarter (winter) titled Reproduction Birth and Power that I am considering. I'm not sure what I want to do Spring quarter. I'm extremely interested in taking the midwfiery immersion course at The Matrona next fall. Luckily, I guess I don't have quite the same dilemma because I need to stay enrolled at Evergreen in order to get federal funds to study.


Maternidad la luz also looks like a phenomenal program (I am a fluent Spanish speaker and have lived in Spain for over a year), though it also would be a huge culture shock adventure, coming from living in the Pacific North West.


My parents really want me to wait to study midwifery, and earn a bachelors in Science, rather than the BA I would most likely earn if I begin studying midwifery now.


Do any midwives out there have a bachelors in Science? Has it helped your practice? Was it worth the lost sleep?



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