Hi - I'm a recent CNM. You raise some important issues - but maybe too many important issues in one post.
I mean, you are talking lifestyle changes, overwhelming responsibilities, emotional toil, coping with long hours, liabilities...
I think in terms of these issues, like anything else, they do happen to some degree, some more than others. For instance, I know you can live a balanced life being a midwife. Some people learn to leave their work behind when they go home. There are 12 shifts but that's like nursing. But then you have more days off and the average 9-5 person. And then there's being on call, which was hard for me to get adjusted to. I couldn't get that much accomplished whilst waiting for the other shoe to drop. And THEN there's the liability issue, which doesn't worry me, because I'm doing what I love, and I love my patients, and I don't go take care of a woman thinking that she's going to sue me. Although, unfortunately, there are few cases where you see it coming - there are people out there who are just waiting to make money from suing you, but I haven't personally encountered that, and if I did, I would know what to do - document the hell of out it. For the most part you don't think about it. It's a reality in the health care area, and I'm not going to let it prevent me from doing what I love. Many midwives are involved in a lawsuits, very few lose their license, and many midwives live long, satisfying careers uninhibited by any lawsuits.
You also brought being strong - interesting way to look at it, but I think of it as challenging and a life not challenged is a life not lived. I know I'm kind of rambling, but I'm trying to tell you personally that most of the issues you brought up is not my day-to-day reality, except maybe the 12 hours shifts on a full moon - but even on those days, I thrilled for the challenge at the end of it. I LOVE BEING A MIDWIFE.
And if it's something you could love deeply, and it's up to you to grab the brass ring. That's what I think.