Did you freak out when starting your apprenticeship? - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-18-2006, 11:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I know how lucky I am to have gotten an apprenticeship and with such an amazing woman. Still I question my decision every day. There are 3 main things freaking me out now. 1. We are in a very tight financial place and it is hard to be putting money out and not getting any back. I live 1.5 hours from my preceptor and drive there about 3 times a week. DH loses money because he's watching the kids and not working and I'm paying tons in gas. I feel like I'm making things even harder for my family. Also because I'm spending so much time on schoolwork and clinic I don't have time to make any money. 2. My kids are little and I'm away alot. I know they are okay, but I still feel guilty. 3. I can't believe the amount of pressure I feel being on call all the time. I totally underestimated how stressful it would be to always be ready to get up and go. Every day I think "I should just quit now". But this is my dream. I am so passionate about birth and especially homebirth. I have this amazing oppurtunity and I wonder if I'm just trying to sabatoge it. I worry all the time about how stressful I am making life for everyone and if I really have what it takes to do this. I guess what I want to know is if this is normal. Did anyone else freak at the beginning and now love what they are doing. Are these feelings a sign that I'm not cut out to be a midwife. Am I alone in this? Edited to add that I also am completely behind on schoolwork. I can't believe the amount of bookwork involved!
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Old 08-19-2006, 12:58 AM
 
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its HARD!!!! i dont have any advice, just commiserating. those feelings are normal, though, and don't mean you should give up

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Old 08-19-2006, 02:07 AM
 
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I can't believe the amount of pressure I feel being on call all the time. I totally underestimated how stressful it would be to always be ready to get up and go.
I can relate. I definately felt this at the beginning of my apprenticeship. I was always obsessive around due dates: constantly checking my cell phone, avoiding plans, etc. I'd tell my hubby I couldn't go out to dinner at a restaurant because I just *might* get the call to go. That part was stressful on me and my family.

It took a little bit, but I did ease up on that aspect. I realized that my life couldn't just stop on the off-chance that THIS would be the night I got called to a laboring mama. Now I just go about normal life, still go out, make plans, go on date-nights with my hubby, etc. (obviously I don't go out of town around due dates) and when things get interrupted... I just go with the flow.

I always have a change of clothes in the car with me where ever I am... and always have a bag packed ready to go with my kids to the sitters.

Part of apprenticeship is learning skills... but an equally big part of it is learning the life of a midwife. It's definately an adjustment that takes a little bit of time to get used to.

((HUGS))
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Old 08-19-2006, 03:03 AM
 
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Personally I felt my education was often more about how to deal with my own life than how to be a midwife! I relate to all of those points you bring up, Septmommy. Talk to your preceptor about scaling back so you can have some breathing room. Midwifery education shouldn't be about killing yourself and neglecting your family in order to catch babies.
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Old 08-19-2006, 03:46 AM
 
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Ohh... you guys are making me excited. I will be there one day. My children are young right now and I am homeschooling them. I will become a midwife somewhere in my 40's or 50's. Sometimes though, I get butterflies thinkin about it. In the next few years here, I may start to doula (professionaly) in the meantime.

To septmommy, I'm so sure if this is what's right for you now, you and your family will fall right into the groove.
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Old 08-19-2006, 10:09 PM
 
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I felt very much the same way in the midst of my apprenticeship (when the new wore off). I drove, had small children, and so on. I cried many night to DH and begged him to "just let me quit." I began to resent my SAHM friends when they complained about the SAHM dulldroms. I wished I only had to worry about what was going on in my house with my family rather than what so-n-so's contractions or cervix or whatever were doing!

I'm done now, and working on opening a birth center. Since August of last year, I've attended 7 births, rather than 7 births in one month. It's been such a nice break and I feel in control again. Yes, I still have to worry about so-n-so, but she's paying me and she's MY client, which makes a difference!

When I have a birth center, I'll be much busier again, but it's my choice whether to take 2 or 5 or 0 clients in a month, and the birth center is actually making things easier because it allows me to set a shorter driving radius and still offer midwife attended birth, which means less time away from my family (b/c I'll only do births within 50 miles, not 120!). My kids have stopped hating my scrubs (the saddest part of my apprenticeship was seeing their faces fall when I had my "work clothes" on b/c it meant I was leaving ) and they LOVE LOVE LOVE to go up the birth center, where I have birth center toys just for them to play with while I'm working (they aren't there when I see clients, but when I'm painting and stuff).

Take it from someone who has been there: it's so much easier when it's your choice and not something you're doing for someone else (your preceptor). It's also a big change and a huge adjustment when you're on call all the time. See if you might be able to take a two week break at some point during the apprenticeship. Part of being a GOOD midwife is knowing when you're getting tired of it and TAKING THE BREAK. It's absolutely amazing what two weeks of leaving the pager and cell phone at home can do for your morale!

(((HUGS)))

Charlotte, midwife to some awesome women, wife to Jason, and no longer a mama to all boys S reading.gif('01), A nut.gif ('03) S lol.gif ('08) and L love.gif ('10).
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Old 08-20-2006, 01:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much ladies. I really needed to hear that this was normal. It means alot that you took the time to respond and share your own experiences.
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Old 08-20-2006, 01:18 AM
 
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Wow. I think that I am in a completely different apprenticing posistion. I am apprenticing with a local homebirth midwife, and I have attended four births so far with two more left this year. Next year one of her other apprentices is stepping back for awhile (she has three) and the other homeschools, so I am sure that I will be busier, but I always have the option to say "no" (which of course I probably wouldn't!). She lives 15-20 minutes away, less in no traffic and longer in heavy. All of our prenatals are on Mondays, unless it is the homevisit, which is usually on a Tuesday. She works around my schedule and I work around hers. The PP visits are of course all over the weekdays/ends but that is different.

I guess I am used to being on call. I have been a doula for five and a half years now, so I am completely adjusted to it. I make sure to give myself breaks though!! You have to take a month off every now and again, or you will get burnt out. I haven't had a birth in a month and a half and it has been wonderful. I have three coming up in September, one as a doula and two apprenticing births, and then two doula births in Oct and one in Nov (homebirth), so it has been great.

I study on my own, and my midwife has told me to follow where my heart takes me, as far as book learning goes. She has said over and over that hands on will teach me so much, and then if I don't completely understand something, that is what a book is for.

I am incredibly grateful. She is a true traditional midwife. God has put this in my heart though, so I trust in Him to tell me when to ebb, and when to flow.

Quote:
It took a little bit, but I did ease up on that aspect. I realized that my life couldn't just stop on the off-chance that THIS would be the night I got called to a laboring mama. Now I just go about normal life, still go out, make plans, go on date-nights with my hubby, etc. (obviously I don't go out of town around due dates) and when things get interrupted... I just go with the flow.
ALWAYS put your family first. That is one of the biggest things that I have learned about birth. It is OUR passion, and while they can support us, we have to be there for them. It can be so hard sometimes. I make sure that my husband knows to tell me if I need to back down from something. Otherwise I can get caught up.

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Old 08-21-2006, 08:02 PM
 
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Wow, I could have written your exact post several months ago when I started my apprenticeship. I finally started feeling more comfortable with everything and then I attended my 6th birth last night and with the way the birth worked out, I'm just not sure if I can/or want to do this again. I dont know how many times it ran through my mind in the beginning that I should just quit, and it still occassionally does.
So, I'm guessing that the feelings that you're having are pretty normal (either that, or I'm abnormal for having those feelings too LOL)

Finances were tough at first. I tried not working but we just could not make it. Now I work about 3 or 4 days a month, enough to cover my gas and babysitting expenses associated with apprenticing. I have told my preceptor that I can't leave work to go to a birth, and that I have to work some in order to apprentice. She has been very generous about that, plus there is another apprentice, which is great for in the case that one of us is working.
she has also been wonderful about telling us to stay at home with our kids on the days when she has only 1 or 2 prenatal appointments. We are expected to be there on the days of full appointments, home visits, all postpartums, and I try to be there for the initial consults too. I was very upfront with her in the beginning that I recognized the responsibilities of an apprentice, but also wanted to find a balance between midwifery and my family. I am fortunate that she seems to recognize and agree with that.
The tough part for me is having no consistent schedule. Our prenatals aren't on the same day each week, so its tricky for babysitting and just planning things in general. I also feel selfish and guilty for what I'm asking my family to give up (i.e. the loss of freedom with the on call lifestyle, etc) and frequently think about my kids, and am I really doing the best thing for them.
It's a lot to think about, that's for sure.

Christa
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Old 08-23-2006, 02:25 AM
 
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Ah, yes! I remember the freaking out.

Although I am currently on midwidery haitus and don't post here too frequently, I can remember all those feelings quite well. As my apprenticeship wore on and the newness wore off, I felt much better. I ran into my mentor midwife the other day at the store, she asked if I was ready to come back yet. (I am getting there - She's a busy midwife with 3 to 5 births a month and that committment is just too much for my family rigth now. I'll wait a bit longer til my youngest is at least two.)

I clearly recall the first six months being the most trying -just like any new job might be. Aside from book learning, hands on learning, a new lifestyle of being on call, the intensity of birth, the demmands of children, the money issues .... honey, that's a lot for any woman to intergrate!
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Old 08-23-2006, 02:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Aside from having a family, midwifery is the first thing I've ever been passionate about. I think that a part of me wanted to find a reason to quit because I'm overwhelmed by the emotion of it all. Also my first school test is next week and the stress is huge! But I can't imagine doing anything else and it's really helped to hear that it will get easier.
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Old 08-26-2006, 03:06 AM
 
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I always want to quit! LOL! But when I am at those points I am always reminded of my labors. Of the point when my labor was just TOO MUCH and I needed that release that only comes with the birth of my baby. Becoming a midwife is a birth of sorts. And with the right encouragement and with the right mind set you can come through the other side. Just when I feel like I am ready to burst from all of my responsibilities and my head is swimming with information...something happens. A great birth, a moment where I am doing something midwifey and I go, "Oh my gosh! This is my calling! I was made to do this!" And then I am renewed. Just when it gets to be too much in labor we get that rest or the baby comes out. The same thing will happen with your training. IF you are where you are supposed to be.
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