Friday, July 16, 2010

which way to midwifery, please?

Posted by da midwif

i could have been a nurse. i was on my way. it was never my intention to be a nurse though. i thought of nursing as i thought of garbage collecting: a job that someone has to do, but it ain't gonna be me.

nursing only came up because it was the main route to becoming a midwife. at the time i had abandonned med school and the pursuit of obstetrics (meaning, ob only, the thought of gyn was originally disgusting to me). i knew there were 3 routes: nursing, direct entry (they were still trying to get rid of the term "lay"), and some new method that was non-nursing but still affiliated with the nurse-midwives' organization. of the three, nursing seemed the most permanent? attractive? durable? i'm not sure what i thought at that time.

my mother said,
why be a nurse when you can be a doctor?
i think most black people say that, or maybe just most people. very insulting. like i said, i didn't want to be a nurse anyway. it was just the means to the end.

i made up my mind, did the prereqs in record time. had to change my major but fortunately the classes were pretty much the same, minus some sciences plus some social sciences. i applied to two nursing schools. i got accepted to both (university level), well, i made the alternate list for one. quite an accomplishment considering how hard it was supposed to be to get into nursing.

**side note. they have been talking about this nursing shortage for more than a decade now. telling everyone to go into nursing, there are jobs, you are needed, there is financial aid, nursing pays well, shortage, shortage, shortage. but they forget to tell you that you have to fight for a slot, that you could be wait listed (at the community college level) for a year or more, that if everyone's gpa is high you might not ever become a nurse unless you do a private program (non college affiliated), etc, etc.**

so, life happened and i didn't finish nursing school. i thought that i could, just transfer, and pick my life back up, but those problems that I just side noted hit me. i didn't even get to the labor and delivery semester. that's all i wanted to do. med surg was like the most uninteresting thing i could imagine, and there were 2 semesters of it. i grew to like mental health, thought i'd even change my mind about ob. many of the nursing professors were very anal and unfriendly. it was an unpleasant experience to say the least. honestly, i really thought it was because i was black because nothing else made sense. i was the only black, i think. in fact, several times i outscored the entire class on exams. i even did well when i has been out ill with a bad case of the flu.

**side note. what i learned about nursing jobs was that most new grads begin in med-surg, and it wasn't uncommon for it to be on the night shift. all the older nurses stand in the way of new nurses getting what they want because of the hierarchy in the hospital. labor and delivery was a special case. if you wanted to get in the door, you had to have med-surg experience, and also know someone. labor and delivery hired on a reserved basis as in,
if we don't like you, you're not getting in here.
i graduated with a bachelor's in something else. [re]-entry into nursing was ridiculous. futile. and so i gave up on midwifery. well, i found a solo midwife who said she had a school, but she wasn't feeding my interest level quickly enough, not to mention i didn't know how i would pay for anything that didn't give financial aid in house. i moved on. or at least i thought i did. but midwifery kept haunting me. it was alway broiling, boiling somewhere in my body. i was uneasy. i would go to the bookstore and look at anne geddes' books. something was missing.

i owe it to my bestest friend in the world the re-discovery of my midwifery education. she was always on the sidelines reminding me of what my dreams were, questioning what i was doing in the present, what i would be doing in the near future. she would remind me and i would get pissed with her because she was supposed to know that it was over. i will thank her eternally.

i will pause here. i feel like i just typed all of that in one breath.

cross posted at (this collaborative site is currently open to anyone who is interested, but may return to being marked as private)


  1. I'm really looking forward to the next part, I enjoy your voice and you built up some nice suspense... Oh, oh, oh, do tell... Which path did you find yourself on?

  2. I would also like to know which path you chose. My life has been very similar to yours and I am still looking for the right path. I am currently doing a distance learning midwifery school. I would love to hear more about you and your adventures.