I have been a CNM for almost a year. I absolutely, passionately believe in midwifery as the BEST model of care for healthy women. I actually went into school with the intent to get my MSN and "maybe" work as a midwife... I wasn't entirely sure it would be for me. Mainly due to the incredibly high responsibility and the 24 hour call. I had a job waiting for me right out of school, with the practice that I was familiar with from my time as an OB nurse. There are 2 CNMs and 1 OB. Great group with patients that adore them. Part of the reason the patients adore them is that they choose to each be on call 24/7 for their own patients. No sharing of call, unless one leaves town for a trip, then they cover for eachother. Otherwise, it is 24/7.
I just couldn't do it. I was miserable and constantly on edge. I would literally jump every time the phone would ring. The other midwives have children (as do I), but their careers are their lives. They have full time arrangements for child care and such and mostly do not mind when they do not get to see their families for days on end. I, on the other hand, hated
not being able to promise my kids that I would be at their dance recital or spelling
bee or anything.
I couldn't promise I'd be there when they woke up in the morning and I couldn't promise I'd be there to tuck them in at night. That is too important to me and I can't trade it for a career. Not even an important career!
I did sit down with the other midwives and propose sharing call, but they were not willing to change their current method of doing things. So... after 10 months of being a CNM, I'm done as of today.
I have such mixed feelings about this. I'm sad about missing out on the births of the patients I've already been seeing for several months, yet I know they are in excellent hands with the other midwives. On the other hand, when I realize that tomorrow there in NO chance that I will be called away from whatever it is I'm doing with my family, I feel so light! A weight is definitely being lifted.
It wasn't ONLY the schedule, either. The huge burden of responsibility of being that woman's primary provider in labor and birth was even more stressful than I had imagined. I don't think I want to have a career where any mistake I make (and I will make a mistake, since I'm human!) could result in harm and or death of a mother or baby!
So, I'm looking for a new direction. I would love to do something that will further the cause of midwifery in this country. For now, I'm planning to teach at a local nursing school. I figure I can maybe at least plant some seeds about the midwifery model in the OB students heads...
I've also interviewed for an OB mgr position. I don't know exactly where I'll end up or what I'll end up doing, but for me, I think I'm doing what I need to do.
Thanks for listening. Just felt the need to share this with some other midwives who may have been in a similar place.
Mar 4, '12
I think I know you. Do I know you? I am on the verge of joining a practice that exactly fits your description... Are you in the Midwest, Northeast IN/Northwest OH?
Regardless, it sounds as though you really did genuinely try and this position, at least, is genuinely not for you and your family. I truly hope you find a way to make your living at something you love.
Sometimes I wonder what family life will be like as a 24/7 midwife. I wonder if it will make a difference if I try to limit the number of births per month or not. My husband is very optimistic and supportive, but we don't have kids yet, and the more I wonder how this will work when we throw kids into the mix, the less optimistic I feel.
Edit: Found another of your posts. I'm Kori.
Last edit by christine_chapel on Mar 4, '12
: Reason: see post