Becoming a Midwife
“The decision to become a midwife is one of the most important you will ever make, right up there with getting married or having a baby. Becoming a midwife will affect your life that much, become your very identity. Becoming a midwife isn’t just choosing a profession, it is answering a calling that has chosen you and will be you.
Be careful how and what you learn. You must learn to guard your heart and mind. Birth is about women and their families and involves so much more than medical knowledge. Find a program that nurtures you
the way you want to nurture women. Interview harder than a pregnant woman looking for a midwife. Use your powers of discernment. While there are many good programs and teachers, some programs are as harsh as medical doctor training. Find a program that suits you and your learning style.
Midwifery is about loving relationships and will stretch you beyond what you had thought possible, mentally, spiritually and physically. I extend you a warm welcome to the calling of midwifery. It is among the highest.” (Tritten, n.d.)
How do you proceed?
- Read Paths to Becoming a Midwife: Getting an Education. Besides enhancing your understanding of midwifery, Paths will introduce you to many of the midwifery, childbirth education and doula training programs available throughout the United States. You will also discover many self-study methods to help you get started.
- Read all you can about midwifery and birth.
- Look into and a year’s subscription to the magazine, Midwifery Today.
- Begin looking for a program or apprenticeship.
- If you are not sure whether you want the responsibility of being a midwife, consider becoming a childbirth educator or doula instead. Both are excellent training foundations for midwifery and are also wonderful callings.
- Find a midwife to talk to.
- Take advantage of social networking and other online resources to connect with the midwifery community.
- Talk to women about their hopes, dreams, past and upcoming birth year experiences.
- Consider volunteering in your local birth center.
- Absorb as much information as possible.
- Check out online forums.
Learning this craft will take your whole life, because you are never done learning.
The women you attend will also become your teachers. Your best learning experience comes through serving them. Always remember to listen to women.
The following articles may be of benefit:
Just as we each have a responsibility to birthing women to ensure the future of midwifery, as “mother midwives” we also have a responsibility to educate the next generation of midwives. Midwifery is fairly fragile in the US and we must acknowledge our responsibility to protect it.
Mostly I was taught by instructors attached to deep cover, who expected me to collude with the illusion that we were being open and wise. But we midwives know the difference between covering up and peeling off, loosening, letting go—birth language that needs to become our language of education.
All midwives are educators. While not all midwives are preceptors (clinical teachers who train students), educating birthing families is an integral part of midwifery care.
When midwives move from one country to another, they should, with equivalent education and credentials, be able to practice their profession wherever they live.
If you are a student of women’s health, why not take advantage of a great opportunity and enroll in the Comadres Oaxaca Exchange program?
The following contact information for schools and organizations could prove helpful:
International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA): www.icea.org/
Association of Labor Assistants and Childbirth Educators (ALACE): www.alace.org/
Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association (CAPPA): www.cappa.net/