Potential Challenges of Midwifery School: An Assignment
The following is a transcript of this video. It was created to submit as an assignment and was recorded on my way home from a beautiful birth!
In true birth worker form, I am coming to you from my car tonight. This is a video for YouTube, my blog...but also for an assignment. I’m finishing up midwifery school orientation day three. And this is one of my assignments about transitioning to student midwife life. We were asked to kind of evaluate what we think three potential challenges will be for us in midwifery school.
The biggest one that comes up for me right away is perfectionism. I really think this is going to be something I have to work on. Especially in terms of writing papers, putting assignments in. I know I have a lot of anxiety around hitting the submit button. I like to read and reread and reread…and I just won’t have time for that. One of the instructors, and my house mentor, Jodie, gave this awesome thing to keep in mind- a mantra that I’m really going to try to take into my bones going forward. Progress, not perfection. I do think of myself as a student in the past, without having clinicals, without working full time as well as going to school full time…I was afforded the time and luxury of being able to be a perfectionist. And I just won’t have that luxury this time at all in school. I am going to be relying on my partner a lot- we’ve had this conversation already- about how to just recognize when I’m going off the deep end a little bit in terms of papers. Or when I’m putting off one assignment to make sure that the first assignment I’m doing is perfect before I turn it in. And to help me take breaks. Because I think anytime I take a break, I always come back with fresh eyes. I always come back and feel better about it overall, so that’s something I’m going to be asking his help with.
Another big issue I know is on my mind quite a bit is finances overall during midwifery school. This is definitely a little bit up in the air in my life and is probably the most anxiety-ridden topic in terms of midwifery school for me. I have been the breadwinner in my family as a doula and childbirth educator, running my business. My husband is a homemaker. And so, I have a ton of support and day-to-day care. Like I have my own kind of midwife at home to care for me in that way and make sure that I get through the day well and rested and healthy and all the things. It does mean that I’m going to be living off of student loans primarily and savings for quite a few years. And that is definitely not where I’m used to being in life. I’m not used to needing to scale back as much as I’m going to have to. We’ve already started that process and I will say I’m coping already. There’s lots of subscriptions going by the wayside and some leisurely activities that we won’t be doing for quite some time. And that’s okay. I’ve come to terms with that because I’ll be busy. And because it’s all for a goal. It’s all for a purpose. But, in the back of my head I’m pretty much constantly going to be worried about bills, finances. And I’m also going to be trying to work for the whole first year of midwifery school. I’m going to be saving up as much as humanely possible to make sure that the next couple years after that, or a few years depending on how my path goes, are okay.
The third big issue or big potential problem I see is-and I don’t know how other long-time doulas deal with this-one of my concerns overall is how I’m going to separate myself. So, if I’m acting as a doula at some births and then acting as a student midwife at other births, I just wonder overall at this point…I’m a little bit curious, and a maybe a little bit scared as well about what it’s going to be like to be a support person primarily, but also be asking the midwife at the births some questions because I’m also a learner. I’m also in student mode in total. Or vice versa. Am I going to be able to adequately chart and take blood pressure and all the things I’m going to need to be able to learn and skills I need to be able to develop AND also feel okay about potentially not being the primary support person for the parents that are birthing and raising this baby.
So that’s going to be a new thing for me. My role has always been support and education and this is definitely a shift. And I’m looking forward to that shift, but I’m also very curious overall about how it will unfold. And I think the way I cope with this is going to be asking for a lot of feedback from the people at births with me. From the preceptors I’m with, from parents I work with at birth. And just being really honest and forthcoming about where I am personally and professionally. So, my repeat doula clients that are coming up are very aware and understanding that I’m also a student midwife now and that I might ask questions that are a little bit different than before. And that it might be helpful in a lot of ways. But I want to acknowledge that I might be coming from a different place or a different perspective overall and they’re aware of that. I do want to obviously meet everyone’s expectations as best as possible while being able to learn and fulfill the role of doula when I want or need to.
My support system at this point is pretty strong. My husband is my home person; he’s everything that keeps me together on a regular basis. And is emotionally supportive as well. He’s been to a couple births with me so he understands the birth worker life quite intensely compared to maybe somebody who has a husband who works in finance or whatever it may be. And I have colleagues who are birth workers and former birth workers. Those are mostly my friends at this point. So, I have people in my life so that I can process. People in my life that I can ask questions, ask personal questions, get motivation from, source strength from overall. I do have people in my life I can get that from. And then my family is pretty supportive as well. My mom especially. She’s really excited about everything I’m doing, so being able to lean on the people around me for intentional motivation, but also for processing, divulging at the end of a long day or hard birth. I feel pretty solid overall about the people who are in my support network at this point.