Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I want to be a midwife SO BAD

But I'm gonna hafta wait. [sigh] It's just not my time, sad as I am to say so. Why do I say so?

As you may or may not know, I just barely missed getting a spot in the glorious but life-sucking UIC Master's in Nursing program that I would have started last January. (I was actually closer to being in than I thought, but I'm not going to post about that here.) Anyway, although I was dead-set on that program before I was married, I later decided I was glad I didn't get in. I would have made a pretty bad wife if I were in that program. I would have been at the school all day, and home just enough to sleep. I would do that to me, but I can't do that to Matt. Some people do, and that's totally fine if it works for them, but I just don't want to do that anymore.  So... school option number 1, nixed.

After I got the "You're-not-in-yet" letter from UIC, I started a dozen or so files on the other nursing schools in the area. Many were accelerated Bachelor's programs, where I'd get my degree in a year.  But this would bring me back to the same problem I had with the UIC program -- too much time in school, not enough time to actually be the wife I want to be -- so those are out.  Besides, I'm trying to make it through school without loans, and those programs are 20k - 50k.  That's a bit more than I have managed to save up.  And although there are loan payback programs from the government and hospitals upon signing contracts, you have to pay all that upfront.  And amazingly enough, a white girl from the burbs with a good upbringing making an okay amount of money that already has one degree can't get any scholarships.  Go figure.  So anyway, the other fancy accelerated programs are out.  Option 2, nixed.

Last fall, while taking a Microbio class at Truman College, I found out that they had a nursing program -- I could get an Associates and be able to sit for the exam and get my RN in 2 years.  Huh.  That wasn't too bad.  So I got my info together, kicked some major bootie on my placement tests, and just found out last week that I'm in.  YAY!  I'm in somewhere!  I'm on my way!!!  Or something.  So this starts this fall.  And it seems that it's only about $5000 for the whole 2 years.  Good, gives me something to do other than my accounting job I can't stand.  And it's pretty marketable, that's good, too.

And then, a month or two ago, a friend from my Biology class two years ago told me that if I had free time, I should complete a nurses aide training program.  She said that all the girls at Marquette that had been nurses aides were much more comfortable when they got to clinicals.  And it gets you a bit of networking at hospitals, so that can't hurt.  It's only $1000, so that's not too bad for a certificate that will get me experience and a job that I can have while getting my RN.  Anyway, I got into a CNA program at Truman, and that's an 8 week program that starts in June.  So, yay!  Another start!  Woo-hoo!

And then... early this year, after talking to Kim, I found out about a great midwifery training program.  It was for Certified Professional Midwives, training for homebirth.  I would love to get my hands into homebirth -- I think homebirth midwives have a far greater knowledge of birth as a normal process, and really want to learn that.  And tie that in with my RN that I'll be getting, and I'd be doing pretty well.  So I called the head of the program and got myself in.  Yay!  Midwifery, here I come!  YAYYAYYAY!

And then... in February I went with many of us midwife-wanna-bes to Springfield with the Coalition for Illinois Midwives to lobby for the Homebirth Safety Act.  This would legalize the CPMs, and allow us to be regulated.  That whole legal thing would be nice, let me tell you.   Being an underground is no fun.  So we all went down there, and it was kind of a rush.  Getting involved with the lawmaking process, all the networking and persuading.  Yeah, it's politics... politics, blech... but it's gotta be done.

And after realizing a number of things about me and my life right at this moment and where I am in this world, I realized that maybe working for the coalition on this new bill may be the best use of my time, rather than working towards my own midwifery training.  

It took me 2 months to make my decision final... I only just sent the email breaking the news to the head of the program.  That was a really hard email to write.  And it took me a while to finally send it.  


I want to be a midwife SO MUCH.  I want to help moms.  I want to support families.  I want to spread my knowledge, and encourage women to look for their own answers to their questions.  I want to empower and enlighten and embrace women and their experience and their health.  

It almost makes me wish I had not gotten into theatre in undergrad, wasting my time with acting when I should have been on my way to being a midwife.  I would be one by now, making my way, making waves.  ...But I'm not.  And I loved the work I did, and I don't regret it.  But it's still hard.

I'll be a midwife one day.  It may be a long time from now.  But I will be a midwife one day.  

Find your dreams, everyone.

1 comment:

  1. Kate, not that everyone takes the course I did, but it took me 2 decades+ to be a midwife. I have been IN birth since 1983, but didn't become licensed until 2005 here in California. I was a doula, a childbirth educator and a birth photographer for hundreds of women before I became a homebirth midwife. I also raised 3 beautiful kids (who are all in their 20's now) and gathered a lifetime of maturity (including spiritual) and training before going out and taking 2 lives in my own hands, literally.

    I have one regret in my life and that is not becoming a CNM. You are in an illegal state. It might be YEARS before IL sees legal CPMs. I *highly* encourage you to go the CNM route and then move to homebirth midwifery after that. Several reasons, the main one being if you are a CNM you will ALWAYS have a job. Being a CPM is precarious at best (and at worst in an illegal state), but being a nurse, you will always be able to sustain the family if you had to (and we NEVER know what life is going to hand us, so it is always best to be prepared for all the possibilities). You are SO CLOSE to getting that nursing degree. Please, please don't stop.

    CPMs need CNMs in the worst way. We need CNMs that are not only tolerant of CPMs, but are kind to us. You will be able to write prescriptions, we cannot. You will be able to do more procedures for women than I ever will be able to. CNMs are an avenue to kind doctors and respectful hospitals. We *need* you.

    Please keep going. And look into Frontier Nursing School. It is an at-a-distance midwifery school with an amazing reputation. Some of the best midwives I have ever worked with came from Frontier. That way, you can stay with your man AND get the education you desire. You need to be a BSN before you go, but it is worth it. I promise.

    There are several things you can do before becoming a midwife and the two top ones are being a doula and teaching childbirth classes. Both of these get you totally immersed in birth, into the hospitals and learning more and more about birth, not just the romantic side, but the down and dirty side that includes days without sleep, being called out on Christmas morning, being thrown up on, leaving your man in the middle of the movie, etc. Birth *is* a wonderful place to be, but THE birth is the least of what being a midwife is. (I think you already have a grasp of that.)

    One last thing. We (anyone) can not empower anyone else. Women empower themselves. We can offer tools, information and support towards their own self-empowerment, but we can never empower another person.

    Empower yourself, girl. Keep thinking, but know that if I had it all to do over again, if I wasn't so old and already a CPM, I would be a CNM in a heartbeat. You are so close; please don't quit now.