The Value of Apprenticeship

14 09 2008

Beginning to serve women in birth can be a deeply humbling experience filled with honor and joy, as well as apprehension and uncertainty. Each and every birth is as individual and unique as the woman and her baby in the process. While there is a framework, like a house, each birth has a different floor plan and designer colors. The medical world has tried to make birth be like cookie cutter houses in a housing development, where even the landscaping is dictated, but they still cannot control what goes on inside the houses.

In this exciting and unpredictable, beautiful world of birth, getting started can be daunting. Having completed your early academic training in construction of birth, you know your carpentry and framing skills, and you have an idea of the many other choices available. But using those skills and gaining the experience and confidence to use them in such a way that you feel comfortable in your own skills takes time. Trying to use them without guidance might imprint fear and uncertainty into your own psyche from the beginning and be difficult to overcome in the future, especially when a difficult or unknown situation arises.

Having a mentor as a guide can help with this transition by modeling trust in birth and confidence in herself, helping to imprint from the beginning a deeper calm and trust in the new midwife that carries over. This trust and confidence translates into calmer births for her clients, and fewer transfers due to anxiety or impatience.

Apprenticeship also fosters community among midwives. Taking on an apprentice inspires seasoned midwives to really feel the sense of abundance in the universe, knowing that more midwives means more availability to women, and more work for all. A depth of community means a deeper well of support and backup, which leads to fewer burned out midwives. It may also inspire a deeper sense of cooperation between midwives, which leads to better information, less fear and more confidence in their own skills. It also instills this sense in the new midwives, which may make them more likely to take on apprentices themselves.

Taking on apprentices enables wise experienced midwives to pass down some of their wisdom, something only gleaned from years of work and experience, to new midwives giving them a stronger head start. Apprenticeship for a new midwife gives her the hands on experience she needs, with guidance to help nurture her confidence and deeper calm trust along the way, really reinforcing her foundation of skills with practical experience.

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One response

14 09 2008
thorlac

Just to comment, thoughts on my thoughts… it just brings to mind the Home Depot slogan “You can do it, We can help” Sure would have been a great slogan for Midwifery, eh?

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