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Looking for Advice

Last post 11-28-2012 6:49 AM by tahirahs. 15 replies.
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  • 01-05-2011 4:28 AM

    Looking for Advice

    Hello everyone. My name is Raven and I'm currently a junior in high school. This year is an important year for me considering coming this fall I will be a senior and applying to colleges. Over the summer I plan to explore as many options as I can in a variety of topics. Lately though one specific subject area has been on my mind. Childbirth. Now I'll start off saying originally my idea was to go to college, get a degree in history and a minor in creative writing, and go from there. But I can't seem to get midwifery off my mind.

    When I was little I used to watch the TLC's Baby Story daily. As I got older things changed. Only after I accidently stumbled across a Fanfiction story dealing with this one book character I liked experiencing childbirth did I remember my previous interest. Yet there has always been some sort of curiousity or draw towards childbirth. Anyway from there the story, or the labor and birth of the story, stuck with me.

    I researched a little. The more I found the more intrigued I got. However how do I know its not just something that will fade away again? I don't understand why I'm so fascinated with the miracle of birth. It just seems so... special but besides that there hasn't been any personal experiences. From here where do I go? I have hangups meaning I can't stand people vomiting. In fact I freak out in lack of a better description. Trying to improve though. As for blood and gore I've got no problem if being a horror film lover is any indication.

    I've always wanted to study abroard, mainly a dream of mine has been to go to Scotland. Is there study abroard programs for midwifery? Could there be a chance of an apprenticeship in another country? Also if I did go to study for midwifery I'd study it all. Everything is of interest to me. Being a doula, being an childbirth educator, and so on. There seems to be so many possiblities but out of reach. I'm not sure how to get started. I did order this one magazine off of Ebay (forget the name) and contacted a variety of people. Am I too young to even consider being a midwife or having a career involving childbirth? Is there an age requirement?

    I would want to study direct entry midwifery. The other route, nurse midwifery, doesn't appeal to me as much. However things could always change as I know. Well for now I think thats it... Oh wait one last thing. If I do decided midwifery is the next step for me what kind of classes should I take senior year to prepare myself?

    Thanks and I look forward to reading the responses!

  • 01-06-2011 10:10 AM In reply to

    Re: Looking for Advice

    I don't have an overwhelming amount of advice for you but I will offer this:

    I too have always had an interest in birth, as long as I can remember. I always felt it should be "natural" and not messed with. My instincts told me, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." This is what we've been doing for thousands of years and we are alive so that accounts for something, right?

    Anyway, what pushed me over the edge and into my calling was attending a friend's birth. She desired a natural birth and asked if I would help her. I had absolutely no training at this time but knew of a friend who was a doula and asked her for a few key things to help my friend. I attended my friend's birth and helped her achieve a natural birth in the hospital!! I was so elated!!! That was when I ABSOLUTELY knew I belonged in birth work.

    I'm not sure what else to offer you except if you know of a family member or friend that will be having a child soon, talk to them about their feelings and if they would accept you into their birth space. I think this would help you in one direction or another. 

    Good luck!!!

    Ashley Larsen
    Certified Professional Doula
    Support The Mama~Prof Doula Services
  • 02-04-2011 1:16 PM In reply to

    Re: Looking for Advice

     I think it is fantastic that you are considering midwifery at such a young age! I wish I had even known about midwifery when I was in high school! I too cant' get midwifery out of my mind. I have 2 kids, the second of which I switched to a midwifery practice at 34 weeks after I had seen "the business of being born". I never once have regretted my decision to switch! It was very interesting to me that you talked about whether your desire to be a midwife would fade away some day. I have had the same worries because in all reality I won't be pursuing midwifery (in terms of formal education) for probably another 6-8 years (I want to finish having children and allow the youngest to be about 2 years old before I would puruse formal education). But I just can't midwifery out of my mind! In some way it seems I think about it each day or at least regularly. I have started doing some self-teaching (reading books, etc) and that just gets me that much more interested and excited for when I can really get hands on! I also plan on becoming a labor doula within the next year or 2. I have a friend that has been a doula for a few years now. She has worked closely with a homebirth midwife and now that midwife is starting to teach her and wants to pass the business on to her. pretty much a fantastic opportunity! :) It seems like I was set on the path to becoming a midwife. I don't believe in mere coincidences or plain luck and so I am grateful to have found what I was meant to do. As I read your post I was intrigued by how much we seem to have in common! I too was (still am a little bit) pretty squeemish around vomit :) but after 2 kids you kind of just get used to it. I'm like you that blood and gore don't bother me at all! So if I were you, I wouldn't stress too much about the aversion to vomit :) I too have gone back and forth as to whether or not I want to do CPM or CNM. But I think I have rested on going the CNM route. After talking with my midiwfe (she's a CNM) on the topic she told me that right now cnm's can be licensed in all 50 states, whereas cpm's can practice legally in only 28 states (very frustrating!) But I think that over the next few years we may see some changes for CPMs (hopefully!). I had told her that nursing really holds no interest for me in the sense of taking care of the sick, etc, etc. She told me that it was the same way for her, but she liked that idea of being able to practice in any state she would ever move to.

    Like I said in the beginning, I think it is great that you are aware of and considering midwifery at a time when so many opportunities lay in front of you! I have my BS in Psychology and now I really have to start all over (at least going the cnm route) to get to midwifery. I wish I were in your shoes, I'll get there but it will take a little bit longer :) Hopefully some of my comments were helpful, or at least gave you some things to think about! good luck and let me know how things go! peace.

  • 02-24-2011 1:54 PM In reply to

    Re: Looking for Advice

    wow!!  i'm envious too - you are at a great advantage in the sense that you are starting your "quest" so fresh and young and untarnished!  i have yet to start formal studies (i also have young children), but i am completely sure that i was born to be a midwife.  it took a few years and a lot of research, but finally i couldn't deny the pull anymore - it is definitely a calling.  i have been learning at my own pace for almost 4 years.  i want to wait until my kids are grown and i can leave the house for extended periods before i "start the clock" on a formal course.  here is my advice to you:

    • get midwifery today's book Paths to Becoming a Midwife  or if you can afford it, they have a "beginning midwives pack"
    • read every blog, magazine, website, newspaper article, book, watch every movie and listen to every bit of audio that you can get your hands on about childbirth, natural childbirth, being a midwife and breastfeeding (and anything else related to it)
    • if you're on facebook, "friend" some well known names in midwifery and any orgnaizations related to them (eg. midwifery today, midwifery education (caring is sharing), ina may gaskin, jan tritten etc)
    • perhaps attend a midwifery today conference
    • midwives love to share what they know, so if you find any in your area, you should contact them and tell them your story - they will likely have some good advice and maybe even offer you a few opportunities
    • it might not be a bad idea to go ahead with the plans you had to go to college and other areas of study.  being a midwife that women can trust and have faith in has a lot less to do with what and where you studied and a lot more to do with your experience (in birth and just life in general).  if you decided to do this, there is no reason that you couldn't become a doula or child birth educator and get to experience birth while you persue other areas of study.
    • NCM has all their modules available for free online - you just don't get anything to show for studying it if you don't sign up  You might want to just look through that to get an idea of what you would be studying.

    The list is really endless, but i will stop there for fear of losing you!  There are MANY international programs where you get to do a portion of your studies over seas.  Most of the countries though are third world Here is one that comes to mind:

    There are a few in Africa and South America too.  I'm sure there are colleges in the UK as well.


    Hope that helps and don't give up on this path - the world needs more midwives!!





  • 02-24-2011 6:46 PM In reply to

    Re: Looking for Advice

     thanks xmishkax! Thank you for sharing the many resources! It is helpful to hear what others have done or are doing. Best of luck to you!

  • 02-26-2011 6:30 PM In reply to

    Re: Looking for Advice

    Hi Raven and everybody else,

    There are some good colleges to study midwifery in the UK. If you'd like to get in touch with UK midwives to ask which ones they recommend in the UK or in Scotland specifically, I recommend you subscribe to the ukmidwifery yahoo list at

    You could also ask about chances for a kind of apprenticeship there. It would not be a real apprenticeship, but more something like work experience. You could e.g. ask an Independent Midwife or at a NHS Birth Centre. (When googling for Birth Centres in the UK, make sure you spell it Centre, not Center.) Independent Midwives can be found here:

    For more general information about homebirth in the UK, here's an excellent site:

    One thing you should know about midwifery in the UK is, that it always requires college. You can do a direct entry course or first become a nurse, then become a midwife in a shorter course. Whichever way you choose, when you graduate, you are a midwife. There is only one kind of midwife. Not CPM, CNM etc., only one kind, midwife, full stop. This applies to all EU countries.

    You should also know that while the UK midwifery exam is acknowledged in all other EU countries and basically most countries in the whole wide World, it is not acknowledged in the US. So if you want to live in the US in the future, you might have a problem there. Vice versa also applies: US midwifery exams are not acknowledged in the EU.

    Hope this helped a bit. If you have more questions, just ask.

    Sisterly regards,


    Nina Rinkes, homebirth midwife

    "Life shrinks and expands in relation to one's courage." Anais Nin
  • 02-26-2011 6:31 PM In reply to

    Re: Looking for Advice

    Oh, as for the age limit, I think in the UK you have to be 18 to start the education, although I'm not entirely sure. How old are you?

    Nina Rinkes, homebirth midwife

    "Life shrinks and expands in relation to one's courage." Anais Nin
  • 02-28-2011 9:14 AM In reply to

    Re: Looking for Advice

    I'm inclined to agree with the above. I'm an EMT in Washington and we have age requirements for that as well. We also legally deliver babies. 


    I can only speak from my experience, I wanted to be a lot of things in my life. And I did a lot of things. I'm approaching 26 and I've got a lifetime worth of experiences under my belt. But I learned a valuable lesson to never put all of my eggs in one basket too because the thing I wanted to do the most in my life, I was unable to due to health reasons. I volunteered a lot when I was your age, looking for things I liked. I worked at a local thrift store, I taught pre-school story hour at the library, I was on a spouses club board, I worked with my community and eventually began working with my husbands command in the army. As a result, I have valuable experience and resumee fillers as well as many awards. Later I decided I wanted to be a vet tech so I trained and did that. It was fun but I became bored easily. I needed something more challenging. I went onto EMT and enjoyed that for a while but I wanted more to feel like I was having an impact on the world. I thought about nursing and going into OB/GYN-Perinatology and eventually my circle ended at Midwifery. The great thing about becoming a Midwife is that the education requirement isn't so extensive (like becoming a M.D.) that you'd have to start right now. You can always check out other things, shadow a midwife even and see if it's the right fit for you right now. You may see that there are other things you love that you never even knew of. I say do it all! Who says we have to conform to just one profession for the rest of our lives? Good luck to you!
  • 02-28-2011 2:32 PM In reply to

    Re: Looking for Advice

     First off I want to thank everyone who replied so far to this message. You comments and advice have certainly helped. As an update I've started to check in to places in the United States since I do want to get a 4-year degree in another subject as well as possibly study midwifery. I have no idea as of what my plans are on but things are moving slowly. I recently contacted a local midwife and am awaiting a reply.

    I believe thats it for now. :) Thanks again everyone.

  • 02-28-2011 6:38 PM In reply to

    Re: Looking for Advice

     i guess you and i had the same idea Dreamer lol i am also a junior looking into this myself and just posted on here before i noticed you wrote something similar.  but i was wondering if any of you ladies who are midwives could answer my question about becoming a RN first before becoming a midwife? school is very important to me and i also want to get a 4 year degree so i was just wondering if neonatal nursing would be my best option beforehand

  • 03-01-2011 6:26 AM In reply to

    Re: Looking for Advice

    No one can really answer that question except for you.  I would highly recommend the book Paths To Becoming a Midwife from midwifery today (link is in my post above).  It has so many great articles and opinions written by experienced midwives of every kind and philosophy.  Exploring "what" midwifery looks like in its different forms in this country will help you to find the right path for you.  There is SO much more to midwifery than just school and having two children of my own with two different midwives, i can honestly say that being a good midwife has FAR more to do with who you are (and your faith in the natural process of things) than it does in the school you went to or the credentials you have.  Your exposure to birth and the things you learn during your "education" is going to affect every decision you make as a midwife.  I had the most wonderful midwife attend me with the birth of my first child.  It was a difficult labor and yet she was so calm, loving and stoic.  She was a rock.  She is what i envision being as a midwife and i feel really fortunate to have had her as a picture of what true "with woman" care looks like.

    The birth of my second child was a MUCH quicker and easier labor and she arrived as my midwife ran through the door.  We were living overseas at the time and i had to "take what i could get" for lack of a better term.  My midwife was the only one i could find.  She was sweet as could be, but came to midwifery late in life after being a nurse and had seen many traumatic births in hospital settings.  She did home births, but came with enough equipment to open her own labor and delivery ward.  She had an instrument for everything and shot me with pitocin (didn't ask) 10 minutes after my baby was born to hurry the placenta along.  I cannot express how different the experiences were.  I loved both of my midwives for the women that they were and for what they sacrificed daily to attend to women in their hour of need.  However, one type of care (in my opinion) was far superior and the only reason was that one did not fear birth and the other feared everything about it.

    So i said all of that to illustrate that while school is very important (i went to law school before i even realized i wanted to be a midwife, so i know the importance of school!), deciding what kind of midwife you want to be is even more so.  The world needs all kinds of midwives!!  I can't emphasise enough how important i think it is to be exposed to every type of midwifery before making your decision about what route to take (and starting off by reading that book is a great beginning!!).

    p.s. sorry for writing a novel, but i am very passionate about this!


  • 04-23-2011 10:50 AM In reply to

    • Joy
    • Top 150 Contributor
    • Joined on 04-21-2011
    • United States
    • Posts 8

    Re: Looking for Advice

    Hi Raven,

    I thought I might add my opinion on the age limit. I just finished high school last year, but because I was home schooled I finished early. I am 17, I am a doula and childbirth educator looking for an appretiship. I have been interrested in birth since I was 9 and started a self education course at around 14 when my Mom gave birth to one of my younger siblings at home, unassisted. I started my formal education last summer once I had gotten out of high school, and after watching my Mom give birth to my youngest sibling.(Again unassisted except for hubby) I have a friend right now who is 12 and is starting her midwifery journey as well. So I really don't think it is a question of how old you are, but how immportaint this is to you.  

    It is so incouraging to see another young person iterested in midwifery. Way to go for you!


    "Small minds discuss people, Average minds discuss events, Great minds discuss ideas!"

    "I laugh at the follies of the world. For if I did not I should drown in my own tears"
  • 05-03-2011 5:53 AM In reply to

    Re: Looking for Advice

    Raven, I think midwifery is a calling, a ministry, not a job. I have been practicinng for over 35 yrs and can't imagine getting tired of atttending births! But some midwives do get burnt out. So, I would suggest as your 1st step, contact your states midwifery organization, even start attending their meetings so you get connected with other birthworkers, and ask if there are any midwives that would let you shadow them for a while. Attend a few births, both home & hospital, then go from there.

  • 06-28-2011 9:23 PM In reply to

    Re: Looking for Advice

    Raven-Birthingway College of Midwifery in Portland, Oregon offers a three-year certification education as a CPM. You can tranfer in another year of other college credits to get your Bachelor's in Midwifery. There may be other schools that do this also, but I'm more familiar with this one.

    You may end up following many paths, but you're not too young to have a "calling" for a profession. I got mine at 12. A few careers and two bachelor's degrees later, I'm still feeling it. These other experiences can be so enriching, but yours will be an individual path that is just right for you, in all hope. Best wishes.


    "Gratefulness is key to happiness"
  • 06-28-2011 9:27 PM In reply to

    Re: Looking for Advice

    Xmishkax- Thanks for posting these links and to all others for these suggestions and words of wisdom. One of the great things about midwives - they seem to really support newer midwives and those with the calling. That's such a beautiful thing to see.

    "Gratefulness is key to happiness"
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