Can you be a Midwife and a Mother? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 09-14-2012, 07:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Midwives and students... how hard is it to do both?

 

I am very very seriously considering going back to university to take the MEP (a 4 year degree here in Ontario), but am just not sure how easily my family will be able to manage a midwifery lifestyle.

 

Current midwives; does your SO work outside the home? Do you have nannies? How difficult do you find arranging childcare? Just how often are you paged in the middle of a birthday party or other family event, and how difficult has this been on the family?

 

Here in Ontario 2.5 years of the degree are spent in clinical placement. This will require me to on call and available the entire duration (ie. no part time job or supplementing the family income), and will also require our family to buy and maintain a 2nd vehicle. That will be a big financial adjustment to our family (I currently work f/t and bring home a good chunk of income every month). Are there any students reading that have been there, done that? How did your family handle it?

 

I know it is possible, as many of midwives have children of their own. I am just trying to get an idea of what I can expect. 

 

Thanks in advance for any/all advice, opinions and stories!


Happy wife of Mr. Rabbit; proud momma to DS1 (07.07.09), DS2 (02.11.11) and expecting baby #3 01.27.13.

 

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#2 of 7 Old 09-14-2012, 09:10 PM
 
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I did the MEP of which you speak ;) and am now a practicing midwife.  When I was going through the program, I had a 3 year old and was pregnant with my second. I completed the second part of the program with a babe in tow.  It's definitely not easy.

 

You need, first and foremost, a spouse who is 100% behind you and is willing to be a single parent for much of the time that you're a student. This program is hard on spouses.

 

The first year and a half is theory at whatever site to which you're admitted. It is possible to get advanced standing to the program, which wipes a year off of that... but can be difficult to accomplish. The best chances of this are at Ryerson, using distance ed courses through places like Athabasca.  Call the school for more on the requirements if you're interested in that.  Alternatively, also at Ryerson, you can do that first theory bit on an extended program whereby you do it part time over several years. The clinical placements are always full time and always time-eaters.  You will wind up co-sleeping with your children if only because you get to be in contact with them for a bit.  You may be required to travel away for long periods of time.  You will be chronically exhausted.  The first clinical placement is with midwives (5 months) then 3rd year is interprofessional (nurses, OBs, peds, lactation consultants) and the final year is again with midwives, but it can't be the same practice -- so unless you're in a major centre with multiple practices, that may be difficult. Many of the OB placements are in Toronto.  Also, the practice placements are by lottery so you aren't guaranteed to get the one you're angling for.  Some preceptors are more understanding of student moms than others, etc. Most students will tell you they had a placement that was great, fun, good teaching, and some will tell you they've had placements that either were 'absentee' or border on the abusive. It all depends.

 

Having said that, it's overall a good program. It produces competant midwives. Being a midwife is easier than being a student; if your child has a birthday party you can usually book that off call by arranging it with your partner midwives.  But there will be good 4 day stretches, now and again, where everyone has a baby and your family doesn't see you, followed by stretches of downtime where you're thinking, 'wow, I could really get used to this'.  It rarely marches along in a predictable fashion. ;)  As a midwife, you become 'unreliable' as a mom. You can't just go get groceries with the kids; you have to have backup, somewhere to drop them quickly, if you get called.  You'll arrive late or not at all to soccer games. You'll sing bedtime songs by phone.  But there are days too, where you get to spend all day Thursday and Friday with them because you have no clinic and no home visits.  And usually, you get a month off twice a year for vacation. Some midwives work it out differently; a week on, a week off (but then you're sharing with another midwife so your week on clinic is CRAZY followed by a CRAZY week on call); two months on, one month off, etc. And yeah, we have a nanny.

 

You can also try to work part time as a midwife... ie, if you found someone else who wanted to work part-time and thus each take half the time on-call...  once you're in practice, you can arrange that kind of thing.  Keep in mind too though, that where you work may be an issue. Some practices in your area may not be hiring, or it may not be a good fit for you.  You may need to move in order to find a work arrangement that fits for you. And if you aren't working as a midwife (which is amazingly rewarding btw, I love my job) it's not something that easily translates to... say, labour and delivery nurse. Because you're an RM, not an RN.  So if you can't find a job at the practice in your city, what would you do?  Would you move your family?

 

Good luck in your endeavors... I admit, you do feel a bit like a super-hero, dashing off in the night to quiet homes for labour assessments, and it's very special to be involved in this part of families' lives.  I'd say, now, that it's been worth it, but it's been a long hard road, and many people drop out along the way. So it's good to know the sorts of challenges you might face. :) 

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#3 of 7 Old 09-14-2012, 09:18 PM
 
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I am in MEP right now and the pp covered my basic experience thus far. Know that current students have set up a Facebook group called Canadian student midwife hopefuls. It is a very active group that helps people in your position with their questions. Hope that helps.
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#4 of 7 Old 09-17-2012, 09:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Spritz - wow! Thank you so much for such a detailed and helpful reply! I am very seriously thinking of applying to the 6 year stream at Ryerson for 2013. But as soon as I decide "ok, we are definitely going to do this!" I get nervous and put it aside. This has been ongoing for the past few years! I know it is definitely something I want to do, but I don't know if I want my family to have to do this, too. DH is very, very supportive, but sometimes I wonder if he understands just how intense things will become.

 

Prone_to_Wander - I joined the group this weekend, this is exactly what I needed! There were so many answers to questions I hadn't even thought of yet (such as transfer credits from previous degrees, doing A&P beforehand if I don't get accepted first try, etc). This will be so helpful - not to mention being able to connect with other women in the same boat! Thanks again!


Happy wife of Mr. Rabbit; proud momma to DS1 (07.07.09), DS2 (02.11.11) and expecting baby #3 01.27.13.

 

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#5 of 7 Old 09-24-2012, 06:22 PM
 
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I have seriously been thinking of applying for this same program but it appears that I need to take some high school courses that are perquisites.

I tried to find that group on Facebook but no matches are coming up.


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#6 of 7 Old 10-02-2012, 06:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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SweetKidsOfMine, try searching Canadian Midwifery Student Hopefuls instead of Canadian Student Midwifery Hopefuls. I also need a prerequisite or two, and it appears many in this group are also upgrading or taking credits in order to apply. Reading through the old posts on this page has been super helpful!


Happy wife of Mr. Rabbit; proud momma to DS1 (07.07.09), DS2 (02.11.11) and expecting baby #3 01.27.13.

 

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#7 of 7 Old 10-20-2012, 10:21 PM
 
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i am in the third year of the MEP ... definitely very challenging with kids, and mine are all a bit older but still it's tough. somehow we are making it through one day at a time. at least when i am a midwife i will be home and won't wonder where i am moving, i can take less clients if i need to and i will always have my kids with me. when you are required to move around it sure complicates things, especially considering i am not from Ontario.


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