Nursing Birth

One Labor & Delivery Nurse’s View From the Inside

Thoughts on Becoming a Midwife…. April 2, 2010

Filed under: Ramblings — NursingBirth @ 9:12 AM
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I have written before about my aspirations of becoming a midwife.  The more and more I care for birthing women as an L&D nurse, the more I meet moms out in the community at birth circles, ICAN meetings, etc., the more I read and see and hear about birth and birth politics, the more midwives I meet, the more and more clear it is to me that becoming a midwife is something that I need to do…someday.

I stumbled upon a blog post entitled “Apprentice Midwife Material?” over at Navelgazing Midwife the other day and it really spoke to me.  Throughout the beginning of the post the author goes into detail about the many sacrifices that midwives make in order to do what they love to do.  While reading them over, none came as a surprise to me.  However, no one can really understand what its like to experience them until they become an apprentice and even then your world is still a bit sheltered.

The author then writes:

“I imagine women’s spirits sagging by this point, those sitting in front of me and those reading this, but there are AMAZING parts of being a midwife, too. But if you don’t want… no, CRAVE… all that I said above, then reconsideration of this career is called for.”

I reflected on this statement for a while and I realized that I DO indeed CRAVE it all….the good, the bad, the ugly, the awesome!  But it is still undecided when exactly my time will come to put myself to the test.  Until then I must continue to form relationships with birthing women through my work as an L&D nurse and through my blog.

Thanks for listening 🙂


25 Responses to “Thoughts on Becoming a Midwife….”

  1. Ris Says:

    You would make a wonderful midwife. You have a true commitment to each woman’s birth process. However, you also serve a wonderful place as a good l&d nurse. I think women who choose hospital birth may be some of the most misled or mis/uninformed pregnant women of all. Your ability to support them in a great time of need, labor, is so important too!! Its unfortunate that OBs have the final say. I know some women really do need hospitals and I know some women have very positive birth experiences in hospitals, its just I don’t know many. I wish I heard more positive hospital birth experiences.

    Even the women I know that don’t regret hospital birth and truly believe they are “high risk” because their OB says so and won’t consider any other option but “I’m a risk” that have had successful vaginal births still suffer from feeling violated by episiotomies, never could establish nursing, were drugged with other drugs when they refused epidurals, were told terrible things when they attempted to refuse pitocin, some were induced at 36/37 weeks for no medical reason and they just accept it because, “i had to, i was high risk.” Its frustrating to hear. My best childhood friend delivered her daughter via c-section after her OB induced her at 28 weeks!!!!! She had no signs of pre-eclamsia, there were no medical indications that her baby or her were at risk, he just didn’t think it was safe to move forward because she had a heart problem as a child and wasn’t positive about her conception date because she had irregular periods. So, she ended up with a cesarean and her daughter got to spend some time in NICU thanks to undeveloped lungs, skin, and extremely low birth weight. Even her “midwife” supported this decision. I put midwife in quotes because in my experience nurse midwives are just as bad as OBs, they don’t deserve the title of midwife. They support unnecessary medical interventions because they practice under an OB and what the OB says, goes. end of story. Its a shame.

    • kaymidwife Says:

      I would like to respond to this quote from the response:”I think women who choose hospital birth may be some of the most misled or mis/uninformed pregnant women of all.” Actually it’s more like a question…why is it that women are misled or misinformed? Why do women lack knowledge about childbirth options? Why do women just show up pregnant at their HCPs office? Why and how do they chose to educate or not educate themselves? What will it take for women to change?
      This is my phenomena of interest in a DNP I’m enrolled in and hopefully be my capstone project.

      • StorkStories Says:

        I am very interested in what findings you may come up with Kay and how these may help or impact my practice. Good luck with that work!
        Hey NB– hope you are doing alright….

  2. Rachel Says:

    I’m so glad to see you back and love to hear how your aspirations are going…as I feel I am in the same boat:) It let’s me know that I’m not the only L&D nurse out there with the same mindset:) Good luck to you!

  3. atyourcervix Says:

    Just do it! You won’t regret it! I’ve now completed 5 out of 16 terms towards my MSN in Midwifery!

  4. jessi Says:

    You’re half way there being a nurse already! Go for it!

  5. I’m glad my post could resonate with you. I love when my words move women. 🙂

    Can I *tell* you how much I admire you L&D nurses? You’re amazing… and you all with heart, such treasures you are. You all can make or break a birth story. Thank you for caring enough to *feel* women. If you are reading ICAN or going to their meetings, it shows just how much heart you have for your patients.

    Move towards your destiny, even if it takes awhile. It is more than worth it.

  6. Kristen Says:

    NB, it should come as no surprise to you that I think you would be a fantastic midwife. I’m THRILLED that you would be able to follow your dreams, but I am also THRILLED for all of the women who would have the opportunity to have you as their maternity care provider. Just…wow. 🙂

  7. StorkStories Says:

    Hey NB! WELCOME BACK!! I was checking in from time to time and missing you. I’ve been around but not writing nearly as much as when I started.. Just read your last couple posts and I wanted to ask..was that you working in my Community Hospital …(I forget what your nickname was)… trying to set those unyielding non-progressive professionals straight???? Oh wait no…that’s still just me wishing you were here to help! Ha Ha… Hope things work out better in your new hospital!
    Glad to read your words again.

  8. StorkStories Says:

    I forgot to say YES~ YOU will make an incredible midwife when you are ready!

  9. Molly Says:

    “if, after telling her all those realities, she is still drooling and her eyes light up more with every description, then it is obvious the woman is pretty darned birth-obsessed and a good candidate for apprenticeship”

    Thats you Nursing Birth!!!

  10. Kelli Says:

    I really enjoyed that post by the Navelgazing Midwife. I think most if not all birth work that advocates for mamas and babies must be a passion. It isn’t just a job, or a neat thing to do. 🙂

  11. Tanashia Says:

    I came across your blog from another blog that I follow. I am a L&D nurse at the same crossroad! Good luck! Would love to see what u decide. Tanashia

  12. Jessica Says:

    You’re BACK!! 🙂 I’m sorry you had such a disappointment with the first new job, but I’m so excited that this 2nd job is much more promising. Can’t wait to hear all about it! I’m SO glad you’re back, especially since I am now expecting our first little one in November! I feel so fortunate to be working with the Vanderbilt Nurse-Midwives in Nashville. (
    They have been nothing but wonderful so far, and they truly seem to believe in women and in normal, natural birth. I’m so excited and feel so blessed. Again, welcome back! 🙂

  13. cat Says:

    oh, i’m so glad you’re back!!!

  14. maria Says:

    I just posted this about midwifery and how I see it.

    This may rub a lot of people the wrong way, but I honestly believe that if you want to become a midwife it is because you trust birth, otherwise you may as well become an OB. There really is no difference.

  15. Joy Says:

    Hey there! I wanted you to know that I nominated you for an award on my blog:

    Sometimes bloggers have awards that circulate and will pass on these awards. Your blog rocks and is one of my favorites so I had to pass the award on to you!

  16. I just wanted to add my experience! I think being a midwife is a very special and important job. You get to meet so many nice people and help them through a very important and emotion time in their life. I feel its a blessing to be a midwife!

    Here is to you!


  17. Sounds like this is the right move for you. Keep us posted and good luck! Thanks.

  18. Melainie Says:

    I would loved to have had a home birth with a midwife but in the sate of AL it is not legal to be a midwife!!!


  19. Becky Says:

    I think you would be a wonderful midwife. I found your blog today when I was just arbitrarily reading things about American Labor and Birth practices. I was particularly moved by your writing about ‘Pit to Distress’ I do hope you never stop writing your thoughts about L&D.

    It struck me as ironic that you mentioned OB Link in one of your writings since I remember being part of the programming team that worked on software related to that (the QS?) years ago. I am familiar with the software and even worked with nurses back then who’d been involved in perinatal care. Ironically I didn’t know that much about childbirth then because I didn’t have my daughter until 3 years after I left.

    I think it is also wonderful that you have advocated for women and normal labor processes from the hospital. I noticed an earlier comment talked about ‘choosing hospital birth’. Unfortunately some women don’t have a choice. I am one of those, sadly. I’m 35 yrs old, my state has made home births illegal (or at least that is something I read) and I’m currently on Lovenox because of clotting issues discovered after 2 miscarriages. Mind you this is after I had a full-term drug-free labor and delivery with my daughter five years ago (It was awesome, I was only in the hospital for 45 minutes!) I was in triage because they didn’t have a room for me and the baby took the doctor by surprise since he didn’t have his gloves on.

    I’m currently pregnant with #2 going on 33 weeks so I’m excited and a little anxious about how this one will go. If it’s faster than the last one I don’t know how it will go but I have no intention of seeking an induction or any painkillers as I find them unnecessary. The obstetrician I’m seeing (they won’t let me see a CNM because of the Lovenox) was recommended to me by a woman who assured me they wouldn’t try to pressure me with an induction. My last OB was awful because they wanted to schedule an induction the day my daughter was due (I was offended since there was no medical reason for it). She came a week after her due date with no hassles on her own terms and it was easy.

    I have already intended to hire a doula (It’s getting late, I need to move on that) but I think reading your words has inspired me to this more.

    But I want to thank you and encourage you in your goals of serving mothers and babies and helping to make natural birth safer and more accessible. Women need to be assured of what they can do. Labor is as mental as it is physical.

  20. Linda White Says:

    hi. I am a midwife working in the UK. i watched the new ‘One born evey minute USA’ the other night and i really do feel for you. Midwifery is alive and although sruggling sometimes, still really valued in the UK. I truely believe that women need midwives! We advocate for them, we help them to get their voices heard and above all remain WITH WOMEN! We need docotors, dont get me wrong but we midwives see pregnancy and birth as normal and wonderful unless proved otherwise. Doctors have a very limited experience of the normal as they are only called in when something is going wrong! We all need to work as a team to support the women in our care. I am sure you do an amazing job as a L&D nurse but as midwife the job satisfaction you would get would in fact blow your mind! Good luck and when the time is right just go for it! xxx Linda

  21. Caring for children and entire families is a wonderful experience. I urge anyone considering this experience to explore it fully as it can be extremely rewarding.

  22. Cristy Says:

    Women that choose hospital births don’t know any better. I just assumed the hospital trusted my body to do what it was supposed to. Boy was I wrong. Most doctors treat women as though their bodies are defective and that they can’t really have a baby without a bunch of interventions.

    Women go into it optimistic and come out feeling inadequate and like a failure as a woman. They are forced into a procedures that doctors should know are unnecessary and dangerous. It’s frustrating.

  23. lifenurses Says:

    Sounds like this is the right move for you, good luck!

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