One of the hardest things running your own midwifery practice is separating work and personal life. If you work for a hospital, you turn your pager off and clock out. When a midwife decide to start her own private practice, everything is ultimately her responsibility. Even if you hire many midwives to do birth call and take care of the patients, you are still ultimately responsibility for care and outcomes of the practice. If it is 2am and the power isn’t working at the birth center, guess who will get the phone call from midwife on call to figure out what to do with the laboring women…you!
How is a midwife business owner supposed to separate from her responsibilities? How are personal life goals supposed to happen when practice needs your attention 24/7? How are simple things like sick days, kid’s musical, and vacations supposed to work out? There are ways to improve that separation of work and life, but it isn’t possible to completely separate the two. Recognize that the two have to co-exist together in harmony for versus clash.
If you get a random phone call once a month versus daily, it is much easier to separate personal and work duties. I made the mistake for many years putting work and business duties above my personal life. I missed many important days in my kids lives. I pushed off expanding my family for years, because I couldn’t take maternity leave being on call all the time. I almost lost my family for not making them most important.
Always remember, women want a midwife and there are lots out there. Make sure you talk with your family about how many births you want to do, certain months taking off birth call to have family vacation, and creating a good back up call plan for important dates like anniversaries, kid’s baseball games, and doctor appointments. Be comfortable with saying no to the business. I used to spend so much time making everyone else happy that I felt so much guilt if I told someone no. I tried to be 20 people in one and it caught up to me.
Recognize your strengths and weaknesses and it will serve you well in running your midwifery practice. Have a good support team at work and home. Be open with boundaries and ways staff can communicate with you after hours. Make restrictions on your availability unless there is an emergency. When there is an important personal goal or arrangement, honor it unless an emergency with the office is occurring.
Birth happens at all hours of the night. Create a budget that support enough staff to cover the possible waves of extra babies wanting to come. You can’t create an algorithm for birth so your midwife practice needs to have “back up plans” for almost any situation. Respect yourself and your family. They deserve to have you more than the business does. You should be in charge of your business, not your business running your life and squeezing in your family time. Always remember what is most important in life. We all want to be great midwives. Being great doesn’t mean sacrificing our loved ones and personal dreams in the process.