WOW, thank you, both, for your thoughtful responses! Your input makes so much sense to me.
Yoga4Life, I completely understand when you say that you'd rather start as a CPM, then add on additional skills in the future but retain your holistic, evidence-based, home-birth focus, rather than start as a CNM and have to "unlearn" certain attitudes. I cringe even as I write this, because I know that many (if not all) CNMs have their hearts in the right place, but they have a different set of skills gained in a different environment, and that environment surely affects their approach.
I'm so excited to meet an actual student enrolled at Birthwise--CONGRATS! I hope you have a fabulous experience there! Along with Maternidad La Luz, that is my top choice for an MEAC school. Mind if I PM you with more questions?
NorCalRN, I understand your angle, since you already have your RN. I'm eligible for an accelerated RN program, since I already have a B.S. (teehee, I always giggle when I write that, because that's what I think of my degree alright!). That program would take one year and would cost about $8,000. If I were certain that the CNM approach was right for me, I would be willing to make that investment.
Both of you mentioned Frontier in Kentucky. Out of all the reading that I've done and all the midwives I've contacted, I'm almost certain that this would be the place (well, not literally) for me. In order to matriculate there, however, I'd need to be well-established within a community in order to get the prerequisite experience and to find a preceptor. And right now, I'm not sure where I'll end up living, so that's gonna be tough! Besides, I don't even know if I'd get in, it seems pretty competitive!
In the end... I'm still torn between the accelerated RN/ Frontier approach versus the MLL/ Birthwise approach. Either way, I've got a year to study and save.
Thanks again for your input, it was very helpful!