Embarking on the journey to become a midwife has been no small feat for me. As a single mother raising four children while pursuing my studies, I’ve faced numerous sacrifices and obstacles. However, my determination to contribute as a Black student midwife has fueled my resilience.
Currently enrolled in an online program through the National College of Midwifery, I am making significant strides in my academic studies. However, the apprenticeship aspect, crucial to my development, poses a challenge. Access to Black apprenticeships and birth centers with resources for Black students remains a hurdle. Sacramento, my hometown, has a handful of birth centers and practices that I’ve explored. As a current Solano County resident, there is a 30-80 mile drive from my home to approximately 5 birth centers in the surrounding areas. The distance adds complexity, emphasizing the importance of securing a space in a supportive birth center.
Meeting clinical requirements and NARM skills is crucial for graduation and licensure. While moving out of state could alleviate some challenges and present more opportunities for me as a Black student, especially in the Eastern and Southern states where support is more inclusive, it introduces new barriers, considering my responsibilities as a mother. Despite the challenges, I see this distance as a difficult but worthwhile sacrifice to attend clinical requirements and births, and I am determined to overcome these obstacles for the sake of my educational and professional journey.
To adhere to my three-year plan, completing my apprenticeship by 2025 is essential. With looming deadlines, additional fees after 5 years, and the imperative to fulfill both assist and primary births under supervision, along with preparing for the NARM exam, I am mindful of the urgency. Having completed almost half of my required assists, I am actively seeking a supportive birth center or practice to maintain my momentum and successfully progress in my journey.
These barriers aren’t new; they’re part of a systemic challenge faced by aspiring Black midwives. However, connecting with mentors who share their experiences and the guidance of trusted midwives in the community keeps me encouraged. Despite the challenges, I am grateful to have a community rallying for my completion, recognizing the positive impact I aim to make. The path is undoubtedly challenging, but hope persists, anchored in the belief that my journey will contribute to a more inclusive and diverse field of midwifery.
“Guiding Birth, Nurturing Life”