2 answers

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

Updated Shoreline, Washington

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

2 answers

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.

Michelle’s Answer

Updated Austin, Texas

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!