Welcome to the Indie Birth Midwifery School Virtual Tour!
- Check out how our courses are structured
- Learn what to expect with the workload and what you can expect regarding feedback and interaction
- Hear what our hopes and dreams are for the students in our program
- Get access to one of our actual class videos
- Hear how we have evolved into a gradeless school (much like some forward thinking universities)
- Listen to some of our students about their experiences!
- And meet us! (Maryn and Margo)
To start us off, watch this recording of our free class Hearing the Call: A Journey Into Independent Midwifery which should be helpful as you consider if this path is for you.
So, have you spent time in self-study or in a program that left you feeling like you were missing the grounded, smart, creative perspectives you longed for (woo-woo to nerdy and everything in between)? Are you looking for the invitation and container to go deeper with the heart side of birth work, and the challenge to create meaningful resources for yourself and your community? If this sounds like you, we've got you covered.
Here is the big list of courses you will take over the course of our 2 programs. And here is the course catalogue to check out in full with descriptions.
The 40 Week Midwifery Foundations program includes:
- Speaking Your Truth: Content Creation for Birth Workers
- Midwifery Herstory
- Listen: The Art and Science of Relationship Building in Midwifery
- The Wise Woman Within
- Hormonal Balance and Fertility Awareness
- Exploring Birth Models Around the World and Envisioning the Future
- The Heart of What We Do : Wise Woman Prenatal Care
- Placentation and Early Fetal Development
- Pregnancy Nutrition: A Pillar of Midwifery
- Anatomy and Physiology : Exploring the Magic and Science of Labor & Birth
- Intro to Diagnostic Testing in Pregnancy: Integrating Lab Work Into Wise Woman Care
- Healing Arts in Pregnancy for the New Paradigm Midwife
- Research Methods for Midwives Who Want to Question the Status Quo
- Tending to Mental Health in Pregnancy and the Postpartum
- Indie Birth Midwifery Skills Foundations
- Exploring Herbalism and Plant Magic
- Foundations in Childbirth Education
- The 4th Trimester: Supporting the Postpartum Time as a Modern Midwife
- When Birth Doesn't Go As Planned: Birth Trauma and Transport
- Apprenticeship: A Time-Honored Tradition
Our 6 month Advanced Midwifery Program includes:
- Multidimensional Midwifery in the Prenatal Period
- The Journey Through the Pelvis and an Exploration of the Dystocias
- Building Your Confidence in Recognizing and Handling the Rare Complication of Postpartum Hemorrhage
- Complex Birth Theory and Technique: Twins, Breech, Prolonged Labor
- The Baby's Transition Earthside and the Art of Neonatal Resuscitation
- Lactation Science and Breastfeeding Support
- Badass Business Skills for Birth Workers Who Aren't Messing Around
- Advanced Counseling and Metaphysical Midwifery
- Personalized counseling and mentoring from Maryn and Margo, active independent midwives in their communities.
IBMS courses include videos from Maryn and Margo, as well as our network of experts and elders, as well as readings, assignments and challenges, discussion areas for you and your fellow students to utilize, and access to our staff to guide you deeper into your learning. The 40 Week Midwifery Foundations program starts every July and January, and our Advanced Midwifery program starts every July.
One of our current students writes, "I am beyond thrilled with the quality of the classes offered at IBMS. They dive right to the heart of what is important in birth, and sculpt their classes for deep personal learning. They offer tools in each class to dig deep to personalize our midwifery practice & care we will offer women. They choose the best instructors available to share their skill, knowledge and wisdom. As a student finishing the first year, I cannot express how beneficial these classes are in preparing to serve women in the birth world. If these classes are calling you- say YES!" - Valerie
**A note on emailing us with questions. We love questions, but nearly 99% of the answers you are looking for are contained in this tour information. So, please do yourself a favor by considering this tour your first "assignment".
P.S. We also created a Student Midwife Primer that gives you a lot of great information about what you can expect on this journey. Read it here!
All About Our Midwifery Courses
Hang on to your hats! Today we are talking about our midwifery courses, the meat of our program. Our courses are full of curated readings, video classes, assignments and discussions. We have asked our incredible network of Indie Birth educators to create video content and support us in building out these high quality courses just for you. This is revolutionary and something not too many other schools have done. Instead of one set instructor for every course, we have woven in a variety of experts for you. Example; instead of hearing one person’s teachings on say, shoulder dystocia, for 10 weeks, our course consists of multiple experts discussing various aspects and intricacies of shoulder dystocia, so that you receive the most well-rounded perspective possible.
Intellectual learning and knowledge is obviously really important, and we feel our school excels with the depth of information that we will present to you. Just as important is the blend of the sacred aspect WITH the science, and we feel we do that just as well. We combine the deeper, emotional, spiritual aspect at every turn.
In addition to learning textbook signs, symptoms and lab work indicators for specific prenatal conditions, for example, that we also acknowledge that we have to look beyond these things. What is going on with this woman in her life? What emotional aspects might be revealed in her physiology? How can we best support each women in a totally unique way by treating her as more than just a physical being? We don’t see this aspect of midwifery care being acknowledged like we think it should be AND being combined with the facts, skills and research we know we also need to have.
We also honor that YOU are complex as a woman, human and student. YOU will use your intuition to lead you on this journey - learning what you need to know, and when and to the depth you want to know it right now. Creating your own midwifery path is definitely a blend of all modalities in combination with who you are, where you have come from and where you are going. If the combination of science + sacred in midwifery resonates with you, then this is one reason you will love our school.
We have immense respect and trust for all of our students. We promise to present you with the best, most up to date knowledge and we trust you to use it in a way that feels most true for you.
And to give you a sense of how all this plays out in practice, here’s an excerpt from one our classes that address the “inner work” of walking this path.
This program was designed with the hope that students will actually be able to COMPLETE it. We need more well rounded, competent midwives, and a way to move people from point A to point B (in the spiral-y-est way possible of course).
This means that if you do all the readings, assignments, discussions and weekly meetings, you can expect to spend about 20 hours a week on our programs. You can look at the current school schedule here, and you can see the curriculum here. You have a set amount of time to access each set of courses so that you will have incentive to continue moving forward through the program material.
All that said, our programs can be utilized in a variety of ways, even if you do not wish to complete every single reading, lecture or assignment.
20 hours a week is no small feat for most people, whether you have children, or another job. We hope you can dedicate at least 20 hours a week for YOU. We will not be judging or penalizing you for working at a slower pace or not completing certain assignments (more on that in another email). We do encourage you to really look at the reasons you want to enroll, and what your intentions are, though. Making a plan to dedicate the time will then come easier!
We also have assignments on motivation and time management for you to work on before school starts, and we have built in support to continue reminding you of your "why", including our weekly student calls. In other words, we are trying our best to set you up for success.
We do not expect this to be "easy", but it is as much of a challenge as you make it. With differing levels of knowledge, we expect that each woman will use our well crafted, comprehensive curriculum to get the most out of this experience. Hear more about this from our students Tina here, and Jillisa below.
"Indie Birth Midwifery School (IBMS) has been absolutely life-altering! It is unique in comparison to other midwifery schools in that the Wise-Woman method is taught, focusing on true woman-centered care based on the woman's own intuition. Pregnancy and birth are held as sacred and normal, instead of as "medical events" in need of intervention. This is not to disregard crucial clinical skills, as these are also taught in as non-invasive/interventive ways as possible. The self-led structure allows you to learn and grow at your own pace, while providing the space to live your life, spend time with loved ones and do what you need to do without stressing over school! Self-love and self-care are foundational at IBMS, and it shows; they practice what they preach. IBMS is a low-stress environment filled with loving and uplifting women from all over the world! The diversity is one of the things that makes the school so great; It is truly a sisterhood." - Jillisa
Feedback, Structure, Accountability but No Grades
We are unconventional, which is probably why you like us! Our school does not use a traditional grading system. Instead, we offer a certificate of completion at the end of each of our programs for though who completed all of the final projects for each of the courses within the program.
At the end of the day, we are here to cheer you on, push you, nurture you, and give you the opportunity to learn - we are NOT here to give out stamps of approval, since that isn't the kind of midwifery we even want to promote. We need self-reflective, honest, dedicated midwives, and we believe this model suits those goals best.
As mentioned, the structure for the classes is built in. Our school is unique because it is NOT self study and it is not "self-paced". It is completely up to you to do the work and watch the lectures and participate in the assignments, projects and discussions. That's right, we are a NO-GRADES (but high accountability!) school.
Let me repeat, this does not mean this program is self-paced in the sense that other schools are. You will receive feedback (not the same as a "grade") that we hope is even more helpful and meaningful than grading. You will also self-assess and figure out what you need more of, less of, while asking us for help if you need it!
Becoming a midwife is not a cookie-cutter path, and if you believe it is, we are not the school for you! All in all, our grade-free system is working really well, and we are excited to see more people take advantage of it that feel resonant with this concept.
How does this sound to you? Have you ever been part of a non-graded school or have you thought about how this might work?
Weekly Midwifery Student Calls
Look at those happy faces! This was a group of students who came together for our skills workshop prior to the start of our school, but it really shows the camaraderie and love that has been created through the years we have spent cultivating this community of Indie Birth student midwives.
In our first year of the school we realized that despite being able to be accessed from anywhere in the world at the time that is convenient for you, our program needed a weekly bedrock for students to count on.
We decided all students would be invited to a weekly online video meeting at the same time and place so that they could connect more with each other and with us. Our teams and occasional guest speakers trade off hosting and teaching on the calls, and it also serves as a touchpoint for any logistical issues, or areas that students want to explore more from their coursework.
These calls have really boosted the connectivity and camaraderie amongst our students and staff, and feels like an important piece of the program that extends beyond the academics, and into the personal, hopefully lifelong relationships you will develop while you’re with us.
Be a Part of Our Big Vision
Indie Birth Midwifery School is more than just a midwifery school, both to us, and in our larger vision of creating more midwives. Indie Birth itself is a 10+ year old organization (you can listen to this podcast we did about how Indie Birth was created) and we have our roots in autonomous birth and midwifery. We aren't interested in helping to create more medicalized, standardized, non-thinking midwives. What we are passionate about is helping to create midwives that want to fully respect the autonomy of the woman and family. Listen to this podcast Maryn did on the Midwitch podcast, all about new paradigm midwifery to learn more about our mission and perspectice.
We also put a strong focus on self development in our course. Who are you? What issues do you have to work through to be the midwife you want to be? What are your own fears, experiences, strengths and limitations? Without a strong desire to look at these aspects of ourselves, we are incomplete as midwives that can truly serve others. Self awareness is a huge part of birth work and one that is often neglected in other programs.
In our program, you will be asked to reflect, write journal entries, and read and process subjects and topics that truly challenge you. Midwifery IS challenging. We hope that through our programs you develop the skills and knowledge to meet that challenge.
So...we have a STRONG vision and our program structure rocks (check), curriculum rocks (check), platform rocks (check), network rocks (check) and we want to tell you more about how the video content, the backbone of your learning at IBMS, rocks (check).
In each of our courses, you can expect weekly video classes from our network of Indie Birth teachers and experts. We are so lucky to have experts from all fields (fertility awareness, history, lactation, acupuncture, and even some cool doctors!), as well as a variety of midwives creating content for us. Each practitioner has their own style and way of presenting that is unique to them.
Apprenticeship and Accreditation
Today we address two of the most popular questions we get and also perhaps the most heated of topics in midwifery land.
- Why aren't we accredited?
- How does apprenticeship fit into this school?
First, these are weighty topics and we probably won't address every aspect of these choices here. There is a lot to consider as we each make our own journey and path to midwifery. We know that for US, answering to ANY governing body about what we were teaching was not going to work. Not because we don't have standards. We think our standard of education is way above and beyond any MEAC accredited school (and, Maryn here, I've taught for MEAC accredited schools before and I know this to actually be true.)
In addition, the students at such schools are typically not encouraged to explore or learn about more than "the test" asks for. This is not necessarily a debated topic as the whole entire point of MEAC accreditation is to make more test-taking, certification seeking midwives. There is openly a focus on teaching to pass a test.
We're not going to ramble on about the negatives of MEAC accreditation. Rather, let's tell you more about why we are secure not pursuing that identity, and why we likely never will!
The answer is a longer one, though, so if this is a topic you are interested in and care about, please listen to our podcast on the topic. If it resonates with you, you will know you have found your people! There is also a PDF written transcription at the link if you would rather read and not listen.
Now onto apprenticeship. The next most common question is, how do I find someone to apprentice with, especially if I have now decided that licensing and certification is not the right route for me?
It's a great question and one we continue to ponder and put thought into. The short answer is that apprenticeships are made in time for most people, and are such intimate relationships that shouldn't be (in our opinion!) business transactions that just get you closer to a number of births on a list.
Apprenticing with a midwife is a BIG deal and a choice that should not be taken lightly. So, our advice always is to start to make connections and relationships in the Indie Birth community, within our school, with us and with your local community. Complete our midwifery programs so that you can offer the most value to a midwife as a student or apprentice. We are making more of our own connections, on your behalf, every day!
We have a pretty incredible network of midwives we respect and would refer to you if you are near (or willing to travel). Some of us have to simply make our own way and patch together a variety of experiences that aren't "perfect," too!
We also have an entire course on apprenticeship in the 40 Week Midwifery Foundations program that will give you time, space and strategies to figure this piece out. We believe these opportunities will open to you as you walk your path and solidify your own identity as a budding midwife.
So, don't fret! It will all become clear in time and we will do our best to support our students in their apprenticeship endeavors. Lastly, as we have revamped and improved our programs over the years, the question we ask ourselves is - how can we make this even more applicable, and even more like a virtual apprenticeship. We bring our real life cases to the table in the course material and on the weekly calls, and are always innovating to figure out how to help our students feel like they our our own apprentices (and some do come visit to get experience with us!).
P.S. Here's a podcast I recorded about my own apprenticeship journey, if you are interested!
How to Pay for IBMS
This is our FINAL topic and we know so many of you are super eager to get started! We have reached maximum enrollment in the past so once you've decided this is right for you, we encourage you to apply sooner than later.
Tuition is currently $4500 for the 40 Week Midwifery Foundations program and $4500 for the Advanced Midwifery Program. Information about payment due dates can be found at the application information link but are generally within 2-3 weeks after you've been notified of your acceptance.
We can accept checks by mail, credit cards and we also have partnered with PayPal so that you can apply for financing (typically 0% if paid in 6 months) to fund your tuition, in lieu of a payment plan. We do not offer payment plans, but we CAN split your fees into multiple non-refundable invoices that are due prior to any orientation calls for the school (a month before classes begin). We have a very firm no refund policy that we want all students to be aware of before committing to this program, this school, and to Indie Birth!
We are super excited to welcome in the NEXT amazing class of the Indie Birth Midwifery School and can't wait to get to know you if you are in it! If now isn't the time, stay in touch. If now IS the time, great! Again, click HERE to begin the application process. We are honored to hold space for you on this journey and thank you all for dedicating your time to this virtual tour!
Of course, if you have lingering questions after going on this virtual tour, we'd love to hear them first. Deciding on a midwifery school, not to mention a multiple year financial and emotional commitment, is not to be taken lightly and we fully understand and appreciate you giving it your due diligence.
After you have asked your questions and reviewed our answers, we believe you will know if this is the path for you. If it is, check out our application page to see when the next application window is, read through the process and get started!