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  1. #1
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    Feb 2012
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    What challenges do you encounter in midwifery?

    Being a midwife takes a lot of courage and determination not to mention passion. What are the common challenges that you encounter?

  2. #2
    I'm not a midwife, but my sister-in-law is a lay midwife and I had 5 homebirths with midwives so I have a small glimpse into the world of midwifery.

    I'd have to say that one of the biggest challenges of a midwife is having to be available at a moment's notice, and all that entails. For many midwives, they have children, typically young children. So this means having to make arrangements for child care. Who will pick up which children from school and who will pick the children up from those people... who will get them ready for school and drop them off in the morning, etc. This is probably fairly typical for most midwives who have a family. They may be called to a birth just after lunch, and not return home until lunch time the next day.

    Another challenge would be that a midwife pretty much has to schedule her outside activities around "birth" dates. I remember that with my last birth, my sister-in-law (who had been at all of my other births) had planned to attend a conference with her husband. That conference was right around my due date. It was important to her, and being that she wasn't my main midwife, it would have been okay if she had missed the birth. But I ended up delivering late, and she was able to be at the birth.

    My sister-in-law is studying to get her R.N. and a Master's Degree and will be a fully licensed midwife in a few years. Midwifery is her passion, but so are her grandchildren (she waited to become a midwife until after she was done raising her two sons). She has decided to work as a midwife in a hospital for two reasons.

    1. Women who deliver in hospitals NEED the skills and expertise a midwife can offer in order to avoid as many interventions as possible and have the best birth experience possible in that setting.

    2. It allows her to have set hours at the hospital. She can attend births, but she can also have a life outside of her midwifery practice.

    Some midwives have a partner they work with so that they can have a little more balance between life and work. If they schedule a vacation, the partner will be on-call or available for the delivery, but many women (myself included) really prefer to have "their" midwife do their monthly checks and be the main attendant at their birth.

    I'd say that another challenge for midwives is balance within marriage. It can be very hard on a marriage when a midwife is gone during hours when her husband is home. It's just hard to nurture a marriage when there's not enough time to just focus on each other. I believe it takes a very special husband who will fully support his wife in her midwifery practice because the bulk of the responsibility of caring for the children can often fall on his shoulders.

    And then there's the challenge for a midwife of truly being able to give her children the time and attention they need. I've seen too many children of midwives who went astray during their teen years.

    Being a midwife is very rewarding and I am SO very thankful for the midwives who dropped what they were doing and left their husband and family (or another mum in labour) to be with me. Midwifery is a wonderful calling, and I would bend over backwards to support her in her calling while helping to support her marriage and family as well.

  3. #3
    I think Kate pretty much covered everything!

    Though I am not a midwife yet, I am starting school shortly to take an advanced track to my masters in nursing. Though I used traditional midwives with my children and I support them fully, I feel like having the capacity to work in the hospital is my real calling. Though, I would love to also attend births at home.

    I will say that currently I work as a doula. Though the stress put on midwives is about a hundred times greater, there are some issues that all birth workers deal with in common. For example, being on call for weeks and even months at a time. I have to say the on-call life is very difficult at times. I have four small children and most births happen in the middle of the night. If you work full time in this line of work, unless you have solid backup (which can sometimes be hard to come by), you never really get days off.

    With that being said, the reward of being able to do what I love and what I feel called to do far outweighs the sacrifices. The fact that I have an incredibly supportive husband and children who are used to being flexible also helps.

  4. #4
    Mom2many - I commend you for following your passion AND raising many children. Women who have you supporting them in birth are blessed!

    Warm regards,

    Kate

  5. #5
    Thank you Kate ! =D

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