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What is the most difficult aspect of living your life on-call, and how do you cope with it?

I am currently studying to be a CPM/LM (essentially, an out-of-hospital midwife), a career that involves being on-call for births or other needs by mothers 24/7. So, I would like to learn more about others' experiences with the on-call life, particularly what they found to be the hardest part for them and what coping methods they have found that work (or don't work) for them. #midwifery #homebirth #oncall #midwife #healthcare

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Kathryn S.’s Answer

The most difficult aspect for me is limiting the distance I travel from my expecting client. As an independent midwife, not in a group practice, I am the only midwife my client has seen. I have a trusted backup in case of an emergency and she is my assistant for most births but, I keep my clients’ due dates in mind whenever I plan any activity that will be more than one hour from her home. Since I live in a more isolated community traveling to the more exciting events in the city is an activity I miss out on a lot. My family also is limited if they choose to not go on without me. My choice is to enjoy my community activities and making my own “fun” at home. I enjoy reading, quilting, and I am working on a garden. It is easy to put down my book, sewing project or garden trowel to go to a birth. Much easier than losing the money spent on tickets to a show.

Kathryn S. recommends the following next steps:

Ask yourself if you are prepared to drop your own plans to support the client. If you have not had the opportunity, I would suggest working as a Doula. It gives you a sense of the lifestyle.
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Tia’s Answer

Being a solo midwife in a practice I u sweat and how being on call can be overwhelming at times. I learned early on to give myself times off call. This requires you to schedule our in advance time off. Also align yourself with other midwives in your area to cover you so you can take a few hours off and go to an event and not feel like your always missing something. Having the support and understanding of those around you helps greatly.

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Ning’s Answer

Well I would say the most difficult aspect of being on call is actually that it my happen that all your time is being spent with clients and mostly committed to only the on call and the inability to associate and commit myself to other things.
I rather prefare to be a midwife working out of the hospital cause I have the chance to meet other cases and also interact with other people as in a group and study others ways.
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Michelle’s Answer

I would say the most difficult aspect of being on call is the inability to commit to other things. Whenever something comes up with friends or family, my answer is usually, “Well, I’m on call, so we’ll see what happens...”


i would say it is VITAL to work with at least one partner so that you can have time off call. I work in a group of 4 midwives to cover our birth center 24/7. Even then, life on call is hard and requires a supportive life partner/family. Good luck to you!

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