After the birth of my son (he was born in Colombia), I went back with him to England and then Germany wher I am originally from. His father never cared much for him and did not provide any form of financial support until about 4 years ago.
In Germany I soon felt that people from my past are holding me back and that it would be difficult as a single mom to fulfill my dream there to become a midwife, catch babies. The decision was made to leave for England. We had very litttle savings and no real plan apart from me wanting to study midwifery. Life wasn't particularly easy to begin with and honestly never really was but we (me and my son) pulled together and after working there for a few months as a healthcare assistant I got into an "access to higher education" course which I hoped will grant me access to midwifery training and it really did. Unfortunately my accepting university was about 75km away from where we lived and my work place around 50km. Re-locating was not an option as I did not want my son to be uprouted again so soon after the move from Germany. My training was hard and difficult, financially as well as physically and emotionally. I did not have anyone to rely on but managed to get through my training and dissertation, even being offered a position at a good hospital after graduation.
Personal issues made me want to leave the UK and pursue a midwifery career in Canada. However, this meant that I would need to go through an accreditation process and in order to do this course in Canada I needed a good amount of savings. This brought me back to Germany for 16 months where we lived in and out of short term accommodation and where I worked as a self-employed midwife, gaining the necessary numbers of births and pre- and postnatal care experience that I needed in order to apply in Canada.
The Canadian midwifery system is very young and there are not many midwives but the system is fantastic and you can certainly make a difference for some communities. After a long application process I did get into the bridging program (the course necessary to be accredited in Canada). There is only 8 places for midwives who are trained outside Canada and the course is only once a year at the University of BC in Vancouver.
After carefully considering finances and savings I was able to come here to Vancouver in February 2017 with my son. The course did not make it possible to work on the side due to it's demands and practical placement where I was on call almost all the time and had three clinic schedules to attend per week. I successfully finished my bridging program at the end of August but unfortunately am not able to work as a midwife until I sit the midwifery college exam and the BC provincial exam which is not until the end of October. Many of us on the course experienced a lot of hidden costs for other courses that we had to attend in order to qualify and the exam fees were never discussed in advance.
I find myself in a situation now that I have pretty much run out of money to continue or even pursue my exams. I am constantly applying for work and have managed to get a job at a diner as well as doing pregnancy massage. My visa for Canada does not allow me to work more than 20 hours / week which is not enough to sustain myself and my son. The college exam is only twice per year and if I was to miss the one in October I would have to wait until April next year to sit the exam which I probably would not be able to do due to the visa situation. We are so nearly at the end of a long journey and I would now really appreciate some help to get through the last stretch in order to practice midwifery here in Canada. We planned one more big move, the move to BC where we would like to settle. Far away from people who made life difficult and held me back in the past and with the opportunity to change women's lives here. I would love to work mostly with teenagers and women with difficult backgrounds, providing them with the care they deserve and with guidance throughout their pregnancies and thereafter.
Like I said, I would truly appreciate some financial help in order to change something in our lives as well as in the lives of other's . Thank you for reading and listening.
- Björn Schwarzendahl
- Kathi R
- Ivonne Sadlowski
- Katerina Kasova
- Carmen Schmid
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