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Planning your year

Dec 23rd, 2010 Paths

With only a few days left in 2010, your birth attention should be set to 2011.  More specifically, your attention should be set on planning what you will do to move closer to your midwifery goals in the new year. Don’t worry, it is not nearly as hard or overwhelming as you imagine.

The first thing to do is determine how much time and money you have to dedicate to midwifery in the next year.  Do you have only a few hundred dollars but over 10 hours a week?  Do you have several hundred dollars but only 10 hours a month?  Be honest with yourself and figure out what you have to work with.

Now, get out a calendar and start marking off things you know are going to happen.  This may be special holidays, family vacations, volunteer commitments for large projects, anything you know that will mess with your “daily routine.”

If you teach classes or take doula clients, the next step is to work around the special events to plan your work schedule.  Really be honest about when you can accept a new client and how many class series you can complete with your other commitments.

After these three steps you should be able to make a plan for growing your midwifery knowledge.  Look at the time and money you have available and compare that to the actual blocks of time you have on your calendar. What fits you budget and your schedule?  Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Select some books to read this year, setting a goal to finish one a month or one every eight weeks – whatever fits your schedule.
  • Plan to attend a birth conference this year. Schedule everything around it and start saving the money now.
  • Apprentice with a midwife or doula. You don’t have to attend births, instead focus on skills you can learn that will help the midwife – like home office managment.
  • Volunteer to teach a birth class or act as a doula at your local pregnancy center.
  • Subscribe to a journal or magazine for new reading every few weeks.
  • Subscribe to online newsletters for more frequent reading.
  • Begin the certification process with the organization that best fits your goals.
  • Take a class at your local community college – anatomy, nutrition or even business skills can help prepare you to serve the families in your community..
  • Research different training or certification programs to find the one you want to use.
  • Start a blog and make a goal to research and write about a new topic each week.
  • Become active in your local midwifery lobbying organizations.

As for me, my learning this year will be determined for me by the faculty at Emory University and the midwives who are precepting me (yes, even university trained midwives learn by apprenticeship). But even within that I can identify my areas of weakness and put extra effort into those.  It just takes knowing who you are, what you want and what it will take to get you there.

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Jennifer Vanderlaan CNM MPH is the author of the BirthingNaturally.net website. She has been working with expectant families since 2000, training doulas, childbirth educators, and midwives. She has worked with midwives in Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her interest in public health grew in 2010, and she is now a PhD student learning to become a producer of knowledge.

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