I am a midwife, childbirth educator, lecturer, doula, and natural mother of eight children. This is not a medical reference; I do not proclaim to give medical advice. Anything stated here is from personal experience, research, study, and opinion. Each woman has the responsibility to do her own research, consult with her own medical team, and make her own decisions about pregnancy and birth.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Aisha Takes the Plunge! Midwifery College Enrollment

Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim

Narrated Abu Said:  Some people from the Ansar asked Allah's Apostle (to give them something) and he gave to everyone of them, who asked him, until all that he had was finished. When everything was finished and he had spent all that was in his hand, he said to them, '"(Know) that if I have any wealth, I will not withhold it from you (to keep for somebody else); And (know) that he who refrains from begging others (or doing prohibited deeds), Allah will make him contented and not in need of others; and he who remains patient, Allah will bestow patience upon him, and he who is satisfied with what he has, Allah will make him self-sufficient. And there is no gift better and vast (you may be given) than patience."  [Bukhari Volume 8, Book 76, Number 477]
Your Duas Will Help Me Obtain the Skills Needed 
to Make a Difference in the Births of Women, insha'Allah.
“Whoever relieves his brother [or sister] of a hardship from the hardships of this world, Allah shall relieve him of a hardship from the hardships of the Day of Judgment. And whoever makes things easy for a person in difficulty, Allah will ease for him in this world and the Next. And whoever conceals (the faults of) a Muslim, Allah will conceal him in this world and the Next. Allah is forever aiding a slave so long as he is in the aid of his brother.” [Sahih Muslim, al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and others]
What better way to relieve your sister of hardship than by helping to provide her with natural midwifery care during the labor and birth of her child?

It's with as much nervousness as excitement that I announce my application to Midwifery College of Utah!  I've been considering my role and my vision and mission in the birthing community of Saudi Arabia for quite a while.  I've come to the conclusion that I need to increase my professional skills if I really want to make a difference for women and children.

I've researched a myriad of midwifery schools and training programs.   I've chosen MCU for their academic training via distance learning as well as the degree programs that they offer.  It is my intention to earn a BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN MIDWIFERY.  

There were many other programs that offered just general midwifery study without the bachelor degree.; however, because I do not already possess an underlying degree, I felt it prudent to pursue my studies at a bachelor level.  This will also give me the credentials needed to pursue my work in Saudi, insha'Allah, since the level of study is beyond just vocational certificates.

The cost of the program is roughly $24,000 USD.  Of course I haven't told my dear, supportive husband this number yet.  It also does not include shipping books and supplies, compensating local institutions and preceptors for clinical practice and observations, traveling for workshops/clinical training/exams, etc.  I'm sure by the time I factor in all these extras, that figure will at least double (especially if I have to do an internship overseas for clinical practice for the required out-of-hospital births that will not be available in Saudi).

I expect the program to take up the next four years of my life, insha'Allah.  Of course, I still plan to continue my writing for Saudi Birth Story, Saudi Life Motherhood and Parenting columns, and freelance articles for Arab News; as well as home schooling my children, completing the AMANI Birth project and training Childbirth Educators and Doulas, working with Al Bidayah Center to open their breastfeeding center in Riyadh, and whatever other life commitments are on my plate.  Please make dua for me!  

May Allah make it easy; give me strength, commitment, and stamina; provide the rizq (funds) to follow through; and make my efforts a blessing to the births of our Ummah...

Read on if you'd like to read my goals for my training and interest in midwifery, as submitted on my application to MCU... 

1. What are your goals as far as midwifery training? (300 word minimum) 

My goals for midwifery training are to complete a course of study that will give me the skills and confidence needed to attend births.  As a childbirth educator and doula, I already know a lot about birth and trust the natural process.  However, I don't have a lot of knowledge around complications, how to manage them, or how to recognize the need for medical intervention.  I also do not have the clinical or hands-on skills necessary to examine women during pregnancy or to intervene, if necessary, during labor, birth, and the postpartum period.

Because I live in Saudi Arabia, it is my goal to complete my academic study through an online medium.  However, it is important for me to do so with an institution that can not only fulfill my educational goals, but one that can also issue a recognizable degree in midwifery.  

Although I value the NARM designation and it is my goal to complete their requirements, they are not recognized by the Saudi government.  However, as an American citizen, I must consider that I may someday return to the United States, albeit highly unlikely.  Regardless, I appreciate the NARM outline for minimum levels of experience as well administration of standardized skills testing.  Therefore it is my desire to study with an institution that is recognized by NARM and teaches to their requirements.

It is also my goal to complete as much of my clinical training as possible with a local preceptor.  Although I realize that I will have to do my out of hospital birth requirements through an out of country internship program, as home birth midwifery is illegal in Saudi Arabia.

It is my desire to work with the college professionals to assess my situation and map the path of study that will ensure my successful completion of the NARM requirements as well as earning a Bachelor Degree in Midwifery.

2. Within what time period do you expect to complete your training?

2 to 4 years

3. Why are you interested in midwifery? (300 word minimum)

I am passionate about natural birth and the mother's and baby's rights to a gentle, safe start in life.  I was fortunate to have found the Bradley Method® of Natural Childbirth during my first pregnancy, sixteen years ago.  Due in part to my Bradley training, I personally have experienced birth without medical intervention, eight times.

Due to my personal birth experiences, I feel it my duty to share my knowledge with other women.  Each woman deserves to be empowered with loving support to trust their bodies to birth naturally, in most cases.  For this reason, I am a certified Bradley Method® Childbirth Educator and Doula.  Although I have enjoyed teaching and attending births for the past year, it just isn’t enough.

This is especially true in Saudi Arabia, where the birthing culture is even more medical than in the States.  I find that teaching about natural birth falls short when women are faced with no home birth or birth center options and hospital birth attendants are extremely dominant.  I need to take my skills to the next level if I really want to make a difference for women and babies.

Additionally, I would like to earn a recognizable degree so that my skills are accepted within Saudi Arabia.  With that designation I would like to become a midwifery educator and preceptor to help other women become midwives here as well.  It is my ultimate desire to open the first midwifery led birth centers in the region.  These centers will encourage natural birthing options and support student midwives in clinical training.  In this way, I hope to make an impact on the birthing culture.

Currently, I have a public voice for natural birth in Saudi through my online blog, Saudi Birth Story (www.saudibirthstory.blogspot.com) and a weekly Motherhood column on Saudi Life (www.saudilife.net/motherhood).  Both venues draw great interest and are raising awareness in the region.

However talk is cheap.  I realize where my knowledge falls short as I receive a lot of inquires about complications and doctor suggested interventions.  I owe it to the women who read my work to pursue the skills necessary to back up what I write. 

4. What will be your major obstacles in completing your goals? (300 word minimum)

1.  Time:  I have eight children, three of which are under the age of five.  I am also a childbirth educator, doula, and breastfeeding counselor.  Additionally, I am an active writer and editor.

2.  Logistics:  Living in Saudi means that I will have to do all of my academic study via distance learning and I will not have the advantage of a peer study group.  I will have to travel great distances for clinical workshops, internships, and testing.

3.  Money:  In addition to course fees and books, I have to consider the cost of shipping materials from overseas as well as the expenses for my travel for clinical workshops, internships, and testing.

4.  Lack of Degree:  I do not hold a college degree or any underlying medical study or experience.  Although I do have some college credits.  This will mean that I am starting almost at ground zero in my studies.

5.  Age:  I am over forty, so it has been quite a while since I have been enrolled in school.  I am also fortunate to not need a career for income or security.  This means that I will not be motivated by necessity to complete the program.

6.  Religion:  I am Muslim, which means that I should have a male relative accompany me for any travel away from home.

7.  Internet Instability:  The internet service here can be unstable at times, making it difficult to commit to specific times of online study or submission of assignments.

8.  Obsolete Laptop:  Not only is my laptop old, it is on it's last leg with very little working memory.

9.  Telephone:  Since I am overseas, I will have to make international calls for completion of my application, as well as for any followup communication with the college.

10.  Difficult to Secure Transcripts:  It may be difficult for me to request transcripts from overseas.  Additionally, it's been several years since I attended college and under different names, so it may be difficult for the institutions to locate my records.

5. How do you plan on overcoming these challenges? (300 word minimum)

1.  I will have to manage my time on a schedule.  This must include study, teaching, writing, and family time.  Fortunately, I have older children that are helpful around the house.  My mother also lives with us and is a great help with the younger children.

2.  Fortunately, your institution offers distance learning and online teacher support as needed.  As for travel, I will have to plan for it ahead of time to ensure that I can meet the requirements of my training.

3.  I have personal income from rental property in California that should cover most of the expenses.  If it falls short, my husband is very supportive and I'm confident he will pick up the slack.  [of course I didn't realize how much it's going to be when I wrote this...it's about four times what I expected, not including the cost of travel, etc.]

4.  It's unfortunate that I never completed a degree.  However, I believe I have enough credits to apply towards the Bachelors program.  I'm hoping my credits are accepted.

5.  Age is an advantage as much as it is a disadvantage.  I am mature, dependable, and committed.  I understand the amount of work involved in this endeavor and do not enter it lightly.

6.  Fortunately, my husband is supportive and will make every effort to accompany me on any out of country trips.  However, even if he is unable, I have an older son who can travel with me, as he studies via internet and is not tied to any physical school schedule or location.

7.  Although the internet stability is an issue, I believe it is dependable enough to complete my course of study within a reasonable boundary of the planned schedule.

8.  I have been wanted to buy a new lap top for a while.  This course may be the motivation I need to go out and do it!

9.  I have a California phone number through Yahoo's voice services online.  Assuming internet cooperation, I can make my application call using the internet phone.  If the school needs to reach me, it is a domestic call for them and voice mail is delivered to my email in box.

10.  I have already looked up my colleges and am working on requesting transcripts.  Hopefully they will be able to dig up my records.

With Allah's help and blessing,
anything is possible!


  1. Maa sha Allah, That is great to here sister! I am very happy for you and don't worry with the help of Allaah, family, co-workers, and online friends, you will make it through, Insh-Allah. Time will fly by so quickly before you know it!

  2. Salam alaikum, ya Ukhty Ummof2,

    Jzk for your encouragement and support! I feel confident that this step is a must in my role to support women and babies during pregnancy and birth. I pray for Allah's guidance and ease for it is only HIM that we turn to for help.

    I've debated about this endeavor for quite some time and finally feel it's my time to pursue it. May Allah make it easy and may the women, babies and communities I touch benefit from the best of my work and be protected from any harm

    Best regards,

    -Aisha, Natural Mom

    1. Assalamu-alaikum,sister! I'm so relieved to have found this blog,as I am very interested in pursuing a career in Midwifery,or even a OBGYN nurse. I've been doing alot of research on the subject due to my fascination of childbirths. MashAllah,it's such a beautiful thing. I came cross two online colleges, Aviva College as well as MCU, and so far MCU seems cheapest. I am however in the same boat you're in, as I live in Saudi Arabia(Khobar), and am trying to see if any of the hospitals here will accommodate me in completing the required clinical studies, to complete my degree. I am an undergraduate student- all I have is a highschool diploma with some teaching experience. It would be nice if we could contact each other via phone for further discussion.
      My name is Khadijah Um Zayd, and my cell # is, 0531002320.
      Hope to hear from you,soon!

  3. Assalamu alaikum Aisha. WAY TO GO may Allah SWT bless you and your family, ameen.

    I have pondered over whether I'm really making as big a difference with teaching childbirth classes, vs. midwifery. At least one Bradley teacher in my area thinks CBEs are more important than midwives because they educate women about their options. But when there aren't any natural-birth-supportive options, like where you are, or even within the Muslim community here (some people might trust a Muslim midwife but not a non-Muslim one. More likely they'll just choose a Muslim OB but IME they're no different than the rest!) and in that case I do believe midwives are more valuable than CBEs! Well at least we need both.

    I am so happy to have you for inspiration, you really make me look at myself and say "is this enough?"

    I have considered midwifery but thought, you know, down the road, because I have mashaAllah three young kids and I'm homeschooling too. But look at you! mashaAllah!

    I hope and pray for you success in this endeavor. The women of the ummah really need it! jazaky Allahu khairan!!!

  4. p.s. When you finish inshaAllah will you be the equivalent of a CPM or CNM?

  5. U.N.B.E.L.I.E.V.A.B.L.E

    May Allah immensely bless your work and time! And may He facilitate things in ways that will give the needed respite and time to achieve what is beneficial for u and the people in this world and in the hereafter. ameen.

  6. Salam alaikum, ya Ukhty, Jessi,

    Jazzakallahy khyrn for your duas and support!

    I don't think I will ever give up teaching child birth education. In fact, I will probably insist that my Midwifery clients have taken courses first! As you know, I'm building the AMANI Birth program, so it is really all tied together, insha'Allah.

    Please make dua for me to be able to keep my intention for Allah and for my efforts to be a legacy of benefits to the Ummah.

    As for the program, it is a BS in Midwifery and CPM under NARM and MEAC guidelines.

    I may have three young children, like you, but I also have five older ones that are a huge help, plus grandma living in. You are making a difference teaching childbirth education, masha'Allah! Plus you are not in this part of the world where patient's rights just aren't developed.

    May Allah ease our burdens and make our efforts a blessing upon the Umman and a reward in our dunya and akhira!

    Best regards,

    -Aisha, Natural Mom

  7. Salam alaikum, ya Akhy Faraz,

    Jzk for your duas.

    Narrated Abu Said: Some people from the Ansar asked Allah's Apostle (to give them something) and he gave to everyone of them, who asked him, until all that he had was finished. When everything was finished and he had spent all that was in his hand, he said to them, '"(Know) that if I have any wealth, I will not withhold it from you (to keep for somebody else); And (know) that he who refrains from begging others (or doing prohibited deeds), Allah will make him contented and not in need of others; and he who remains patient, Allah will bestow patience upon him, and he who is satisfied with what he has, Allah will make him self-sufficient. And there is no gift better and vast (you may be given) than patience." [Bukhari Volume 8, Book 76, Number 477]

    Your Duas Will Help Me Obtain the Skills Needed
    to Make a Difference in the Births of Women, insha'Allah.

    May Allah reward you for your support and encouragement!

    Best regards,

    -Aisha, Natural Mom

  8. Aslaamu alykum sister Aisha,

    May Allah make things easier for you. I am a current student of MCU I just started this past May so far it is going great. InshaAllah I will keep you in my prayer do the same for me as well. Good luck.


  9. Wa alaikum asalam, ya Ukhty, Faisa,

    Masha'Alalh! I'm thrilled to hear from another Muslima in the program! Where do you live? What program are you studying?

    Absolutely will be praying for you, insha'Allah!

    Any words of wisdom for me? :)

    Best regards,

    -Aisha, Natural Mom

  10. Assalamalikum Dear Sister

    I'm a 3rd year muslima student from the Uk with 3 children just want to wish u all the best in your training InshaAlllah u will do well words of wisdom stay stong passionate and dedicated and above all NORMAL thats what childbirth is all about I will make dua for u sister together with the help of Allah we can make a change InshaAllah.

    Yasmin mummy of 3 Alhamduiallah

  11. Salam alaikum, Ukhty, Yasmin,

    Masha'Allah, so nice to know there are other sisters out there!

    I appreciate the support, encouragement, and words of wisdom. NORMAL! May we never lose our trust in birth that Allah has perfectly created.

    Jzk for your duas and may Allah make our efforts of benefit to the Ummah! Ameen.

    Best regards,

    -Aisha, Natural Mom

  12. Mashallah you are ambitious!! May Allah make this new journey in your life easy for you. Ameen...

    I am an American convert as well living in Bahrain. I am expecting my first child next month and have gained a lot of knowledge reading your blog.. Mashallah! Thank you!

  13. Salam alaikum, Ukhty Daisy,

    Jzk for your duas. May Allah make your birth easy and your baby healthy and pleasing to HIM and his/her parents.

    I'm so glad to hear the information has been helpful to you, alhamdulelah. Thank you for taking the time to read and post.

    Be sure to also check out the Motherhood column on Saudi Life for even more great information. www.saudilife.net/motherhood

    May it be of benefit to you and may you be protected of any harm.

    Do keep in touch and let me know how it goes. aisha@saudilife.net

    Best regards,

    -Aisha, Natural Mom

    PS If you click on references at the top of this page you will find links to some great resources in Bahrain, insha'Allah.

  14. *correction, click on "Resources" (not references) at the top.

  15. Asalam alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barkatu, For those reading this in 2017 and onwards, I wanted to update and inform you that I now have my bachelor's and master's of science in midwifery, have my Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) designation from NARM, and am a licensed home birth midwife in Delaware, while also holding a license in the State of Utah and in Saudi Arabia, alhamdulelah. Allah is merciful and this journey has been amazing. Please keep praying for better births around the world, as I continue to lead the AMANI Birth family through training childbirth teachers and doulas around the globe.