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Why I Want to be a Midwife (or why does midwifery attract so many wannabes?)

This is a post in reply to a comment on a post from Barbara over at Navelgazing Midwife

I've muddled around with this post for a long time and I think I'm finally happy with it.

Like a lot of us in the birthy blogosphere I am an aspiring midwife.

I have a few reasons for wanting to be a midwife. In the main I see a need in my community for midwifery, perhaps homebirth midwifery in particular. There is no midwife in my immediate community. There is one freestanding birthcenter in my state. It's about 2 and a half hours away and is staffed by Certified Nurse-Midwives. Thats the only out of hospital birth option besides unassisted that is legally available. Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) are the only birth assistants mandated by their certifying body to receive training in out of hospital birth but CPMs are not legally authorized to attend any birth in my state. I can choose to birth in a hospital assisted by a Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) if I'm willing and able to travel an hour or more. There is a CNM in my area who has recently graduated from The Frontier School of Nurse-Midwifery but as far as I know she has not yet set up practice. There is (or at least was, 5 years ago) a CNM in practice about an hour away. About 2 hours away either north or east there are clusters of both CNMs and CPMs.

I find the body of knowlege encompassed in midwifery to be fascinating. As a woman and as a feminist I enjoy the demystification of my own bodily processes. Just as a birthing woman, gaining resources and information about the normal and the abnormal, techniques and treatment involved in managing either is incredibly empowering. I have learned a lot just researching my own births and reading as much as I can about birth and midwifery. One of the most important things i have learned is just how much more there is to learn. Going into a formal training program to earn the title of Midwife would give me some structure to my studies and hands-on experience with clinical skills.

I think of midwifery as both a teaching and a caring profession.I want to share the empowerment I have found. I love helping other women find the things they need to know for their own births. As a midwife I would have the opportunity and obligation to pass on the things I learn.

I also believe I would be a good midwife. Who doesn't want to find something they love to do, and can do well? Some of the things i think I already have that might be the beginnnings of a good midwife? I listen.At my current job I have recieved compliments from my customers for my empathetic nature. I'm not tied to "being right", so I think I'd be good with mama's who choose to birth differently than I would. Communication is a two way street and I think I'm good at telling too. I can already envision myself conveying information to new parents on controversial topics like vaccination, or circumcision, or VBAC. I think I have the emotional/ mental stability and stamina to handle midwifery.

And moving beyond my personal reasons and qualifications I think midwifery serves the greater good. Its an honorable and simple profession that doesn't seek fame and fortune. Midwives are not accountable to many beyond each mother-baby dyad. No corporate adgenda to bow to (though I do realize midwifery politics can draw one into dogmatic allegiences if you let it ;>) They say "peace on earth begins with birth." and I think theres some truth to that. I think midwifery model care for the majority would be more economically and perhaps environmentally sustainable.