If I were to change careers, and especially if I could go back to being 18, I think I would have become a midwife. Don’t get me wrong, I like what I do, but for 7 years of post-secondary it feels like it doesn’t pay enough (in comparison to other jobs with that much training) or always get the respect it deserves. Plus, I just think I’d like being a midwife. I LOVE babies and science so it would combine the two. My parents are both doctors, so I’d be in a related field (I guess I kind of am right now too). It only takes a 4 year bachelor’s degree and it pays really well (especially considering you only need a bachelor’s).
I used to think that midwives were just for the dark ages and hippies, but Alberta Health Care actually covers the fees of a midwife and it’s becoming more popular. I watched a documentary by Ricki Lake called The Business of Being Born, which piqued my interest in midwifery. The modern, western medical approach is counterintuitive to what our bodies want and need. Women lay on their backs for the doctor’s convenience, whereas a squatting position is more conducive to delivery. Also, more c-sections tend to happen around quitting time on a Friday evening or the weekends than at other times and research suggests that c-sections are often pushed to suit the doctor’s schedule rather than what is medically necessary. Considering that c-sections are major surgery with some serious risks, this is disconcerting. Also, I read before that the recovery and rate of postpartum depression are better for mothers who deliver by midwife. Part of this is likely attributed to the fact that a midwife’s role typically doesn’t end on delivery. From what I have read on the websites of local midwife agencies, they do home visits, help with lactation, and even care for the baby while you rest/shower or help with some housework. That kind of support sounds wonderful, especially since I am at increased risk for postpartum depression.
Of course, some people are still leery of going against the norm of a doctor-assisted delivery and I don’t even know which I’ll do if I’m ever so lucky as to give birth. If you have a high-risk pregnancy, then a doctor is likely the better choice, and even with low-risk pregnancies, most midwives have a go-to hospital where they’d take you if complications arose. You can even deliver in-hospital with a midwife so that if a doctor is needed, it’s easy access (that would probably be my route if I decided to go with a midwife). I’m not quite clear on where midwives stand on epidurals though. I like the idea of not having one, but I’m definitely not going to commit to not getting one. I used to always think I’d be like “drug me up as quick as you can”, but now that I am actually hoping to get pregnant and deliver I find myself questioning it. Either way, I’d like the choice to be mine to make (likely in the moment) rather than to have the option taken away by my choice of healthcare provider.
There’s also the option of a doula, who to my understanding is like a birth coach and advocate during the labor and delivery process. Doulas are not covered under Alberta Health Care, but if not going with a midwife, it could be a worthwhile expense. You can involve a doula for the process or even just afterward for the extra care and support you may need. I have some friends who have hired doulas, but I never really asked about how they felt after all was said and done.