Ambitions? Me?

I’ve been bitten by the ambition bug.

I’ve always told people “Yeah, I’m really not ambitious.  Mostly, I just want to have babies.” and “I have no idea what I want to do when I grow up.”  But suddenly, I feel like there’s something I must do.  I don’t know why it never hit me before, but I’ve realized recently in steps that I’m really excited about midwifery (heehee, such a funny word in English mid-whiff-er-ee).  Anyone who knows me knows my obsession about babies, and anyone who knows me a bit better knows about my obsession with being pregnant.
I feel like the reason I never really thought of it before was the sort of nonexistence of midwives in the states. Of course they exist, but the practice has been shunned and propaganda-ed and feared for so long that, though it’s making a comeback, it’s still not big. In Denmark, things are a lot different.  Midwives are almost all government-employed, working mainly in birthing centers and hospitals, and all uncomplicated pregnancies are referred to midwives.
I’ve always had a fascination for pregnancy and birth in general, and it’s only been growing stronger. Suddenly, I see myself with a future, and a plan and something besides having my own family that I’m really excited about doing.
In a way, that’s really scary to admit.  I’m used to being judged for not being an ambitious woman, like it’s un-feminist or something, but I feel like this is a different sort of judgment I’m fearing.  I am scared people will secretly whisper to each other about how hard it will be, or how I won’t be able to learn Danish well enough in time to study in Danish about how to be a midwife, or how I won’t be able to take the gory parts.  Now, I know that I think people will whisper these things about me because they’re the things that the meanie part of my brain is whispering to me,  and I also know that the majority of people in my life are going to be incredibly supportive.  I already told my mom about my tentative plans, and she’s really excited for me, as is my mother-in-law.  Both, oddly enough, have thought about it themselves in the past.
However, I also feel a bit excited about this new stage of fear that comes with having ambitions and hopes!  I’ve already become a bit overwhelmed by it and questioned my abilities, but this is something I’m really passionate about, and I will do what it takes.  Of course I’m afraid that I won’t get into the program, that I’ll take too long learning Danish and have to put it off, that it will be really scary and intimidating and stressful, but suddenly none of that is a reason to give up.  This is a new feeling for me, being so passionate and excited and positive about something that is so scary, but it’s also a relief in a sense.
I’ve been waiting years and years to have something matter this much to me.  I’ve been wondering most of my life what it is I will actually be when I grow up, and ever since I knew I’d be living in Denmark, I questioned my ability to be anything other than that weird American who can’t get a job.  Suddenly, I have an ambition, a goal, and even a (wait for it) PLAN!  Suddenly, I feel like a new woman, and also the same old girl, like I should have known my whole life that *duh* this is what I want to do.
To people who have always had a dream, and never knew what it felt like to be rather lost and directionless, this feeling is nothing new, but to me, who have been dreamless for a lot of my life, this is super-duper exciting.
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14 thoughts on “Ambitions? Me?

  1. I know exactly how you feel, because I was the weird American who couldn’t get a job (in Norway). So, I say go for it and don’t worry what other people think. Besides, you won’t know until you try…

  2. That is awesome you’ve found something you feel so passionate about doing! Don’t stress about the timing, etc. just work toward it and things will all into place as they are meant to. I think in the US they now have CNMs (certified nurse midwives) as well as in other countries, who work alongside doctors in hospitals and birth centers. To me that sounds like the best of both worlds. The personalized care of a midwife together with access to the care that only a hospital can provide in an emergency.

    • Yeah, I’m excited to have something to start working for! Recently I’ve been seeing things about midwives being arrested in certain states where prenatal care is considered practicing medicine, and local doctors are trying to weed out midwives which is sad news, but I know it’s definitely not like that everywhere.

    • Thanks! It’s so exciting to have some sort of plan for my future! I’ll try to shoo the bug your way, but it took forever to reach me, so who knows when it’ll mosey on over.

  3. Yay Zeta! I’ve always been fascinated with birth/babies too. I remember when I was younger I would “sneak” into the guest room and pull down Mama’s old birth books and read them. I’ve also always struggled with having “career goals”, and being made to feel like getting married and having a family isn’t enough, it doesn’t count. I think I am finding so me happiness in balancing my two jobs, greenhouse and acupuncture office. Not too much of one or the other, and hopefully some small childcare opportunities too.
    Hopefully talk to you soon!
    Love, Saffron

    • I definitely still think that being married and having a family counts! Now that I’m home so much of the time, though, I’m not sure if I would be okay doing it, with how lonely I sometimes get. One thing I’m thankful for here is that companies and businesses expect people to have more of a balance between work and family/home life instead of giving all of their energy and time to work, so I’m hoping I’ll find a happy medium, too!

      • Keep in mind that you will have no idea how you feel about staying home full time once you have a baby. Your whole focus changes, at least for awhile. Plus then you get into moms groups, playdates, etc. to take away some of that loneliness. Of course if you can do something else you love at the same time, that’s great too!

  4. Hi, I just found your blog through Megalagom’s and am really liking it so far! I can see what you’re saying, it’s like moving to another country (in our cases Scandinavian ones, as I’m located in Sweden) somehow opens up your life so that you can remake it much more easily than in the US. I was a philosophy major in the US and graduated 3 years ago. I’m considering different educations/programs here now since, kinda like English, people in the US viewed philosophy as mostly useless. I hope some of your ambition floats my way and I can find the one thing I really want to do, too! Good luck!

    • Thanks! I’m glad you’re enjoying it! I think part of the reason I feel like I’m able to grow so much here is because I end up having so much free time to ponder and really focus on myself, which I never really did when I was busy with multiple jobs and school! Good luck finding something you really want to do, I’m always happy to know I have more American pals in Sweden, even if I never get to meet them! I’ll definitely try to shoo some of my ambition your way 🙂

  5. HI there, I found your blog by googling “American midwife in Denmark”. I’m an American midwife (CNM) now living in Norway, and am having a bitch of a time getting authorized to practice in Norway as a nurse OR a midwife. It’s been quite devastating. Anyway, I’m considering the route of trying to be authorized in Denmark, and then using Danish midwife license in Norway (since that can be done) to work around the bureaucracy.

    Midwifery is a very fulfilling career. In the US it can also really wipe you out. It is not a 40hr (or 36 hr/wk) wk job in the US. It is usually 50-60 hours, long shifts, a bit abusive on the part of the provider, not terribly family friendly, and often not terribly well paid (always exceptions to the rules of course). I was very hopeful that midwifery in Norway would be another story. I’m hoping that someday I will be able to find that out for myself. . .

    Good luck to you in your language studies and application process!

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