A while back on my facebook page, there was some discussion over home births. Now, this is not an unusual occurrence on my page, as I post several birth related articles or status lines a month. What was unusual, to me, was the inference by one of my friends that midwifery was a hobby. This got me thinking about my investment in my “hobby” thus far. Keep in mind that I am NOT a midwife yet, merely a self-directed student until such time as I can apprentice full time. I envision myself learning as much as I can via doula work, reading and videos (have you checked out some of the amazing teaching-oriented birth videos online lately?) while my children are young and moving into more experiential learning when they don’t need me as much (probably another 3 years or so).
Let’s take a look at what is on my bookshelf, for starters. I have several textbooks, some geared specifically towards home birth midwifery and others more medical (like a nurse-midwifery one and a gynecological one). A medical dictionary for looking up any terms I don’t understand. Various midwifery study workbooks, all of which are set up like accompaniments to textbooks. In the non-textbook world, I have over thirty books relating to pregnancy/birth/homebirth/midwifery. All of these are available for lending out as well. I have around fifteen breastfeeding books, including the La Leche League’s Woman Art of Breastfeeding and Breastfeeding Answer Book. When I find a book that I think has some educational merit for me or that might be helpful to family, I get it.
In addition to the many books on that grace my shelves, I read at least one pregnancy/birth/midwifery related news article every day. I have google alerts set up to notify me of the following online: midwife, midwifery, tocology, doula, missouri midwif (this gives me the broad spectrum of pretty much anything in my state that *might* have anything to do with midwifery or midwives). I peruse those in the morning as well as the various postings from organizations on facebook, such as Citizens for Midwifery, Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS), Midwifery Today, Lamaze, Perinatal Education Associates, Inc. and more.
I am slowly amassing my “tools”…a stethoscope, a fetascope, an ambubag. I buy an item here or there, when I can, or dear people who know me pass things they think I’ll need along.
All in all, my personal investment in midwifery (so far) includes at least five years of self-study at ever increasing intervals, attendance at birth conferences/midwifery classes/training workshops, quite a bit of money in supplies/books/travel and, of course, my heart. In case you can’t tell, for me, midwifery is definitely not a hobby. I feel that it is my life’s work and even though I can’t give it quite the attention it deserves right now, I certainly feel no less passionate about it.