I know that like I was, you are probably incredibly keen to become a student midwife, it’s all you can think about, you are constantly reading about midwifery, and talking about it, the prospect of applying to University is keeping you awake at night, rehearsing your interview over and over. You have nightmares where you forget to paste your Personal Statement into your UCAS form. I get it. But before I go any further, and talk about the amazing privilege it is to work with women, I have to post a health warning.

Midwifery is a tough course, with a steep learning curve, and is a bit like doing a full-time job, with a full-time degree in the evenings on top of it. While you are on placement, you may find you are ‘working’ 30 hours a week, attending Uni for a study day for 7 hours a week, and producing around 4 major assignments a year in your spare time. On top of that, there is also ‘homework’ or directed study to do between study days. Every single Uni day and every single placement day is compulsory, so if you are sick, or miss a day, you have to catch it up in your own time before the end of the year. If you miss a study day, you have to produce a piece of written work which shows you have understood everything that was taught on that day.

If you have children, and/or a partner, your family time is going to be seriously affected by the course, and achieving a work/life balance that suits everyone can be damn hard work. The other mature students that I know have fantastic family support, grandparents helping out with the kids 2 or 3 days a week, partners taking career breaks to mind the kids, and this support is essential, as you will be working unsociable hours, maybe starting at 7am, and finishing at 7.30pm, with travel time on top, as well as quite a few nights, and (most) weekends.

All the students I know, even the more youthful ones, say that the course takes something from your personal life, it can’t all survive intact, something’s got to give. We’ve all experienced quite a bit of anxiety as a result of the course, and we all have our own ways of dealing with that.

I just want you to be as prepared as you can be, so that you don’t find you have to drop out because you didn’t realise the strain that the course would put on you. In upcoming blogs, I’m going to talk about ways of planning your life so that the course is more manageable, I’m not in the business of putting anybody off, we need all the passionate and committed midwives we can get!


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. SJ
    Mar 20, 2012 @ 21:18:06

    As a student who would be considered a “young” student, I have to say you must think very honestly about the commitment you want to make to midwifery. You have lots of years in you to give to the profession, and it in turn has lots to teach you. Don’t be put off by people who think you have to had children to provide the best care for women, after all traditionally midwives and nurses never married, it is a reasonably modern concept! Do consider that you will be potentially giving up on the things “normal” people in their 20’s get to do such as nights out, boozy holidays, travelling etc. You don’t have to give all of these things up, but the consequences of trying to fight the life of the typical student midwife, mean sleep deprivation, last-minute assignment writing, made-up time, and potential accusations of unprofessional behaviour.
    I personally find hard to live away from all of my family, especially since my father in turn lives away during the week so is only home at weekends, which is problematic as a weekend off is simply unheard of when you have placement. Commitment to family gatherings is at the whim of an ever changing off-duty with mentors that swap shifts, or an off-duty only given a week in advance.


  2. becomingastudentmidwife
    Mar 20, 2012 @ 21:49:35

    First of all, can I just totally agree that you don’t have to have experienced childbirth to be a good midwife, it’s a ridiculous argument. We all learn so much empathy during the course, just through understanding better where women are coming from. I would be happy for any of the ‘younger’ midwives on my course to deliver me should I be pregnant again…

    And thanks for your comments about the things that somebody in their 20’s is giving up when taking the course on, I’m always writing from the point of view of a more ‘mature’ student, and it’s great to hear how other people are affected too 🙂
    Thanks for dropping by!


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