As midwives, we absolutely believe in the apprenticeship model as the oldest, most viable form of midwifery education and as the necessary component to set the skills of the aspiring midwife. Our clinical site is unique in that it specifically caters to the individual needs of students pursuing various routes of education, be it a MEAC accredited program or a direct entry method. Holding to a mission of increasing access to midwifery education, we tailor our lessons specifically to our students’ unique educational needs. Academic classes are offered weekly and offer opportunity for us to support students’ independent pursuit of their chosen program of study. Clinical work consists of three days a week of scheduled prenatal, postpartum and well woman visits plus on call responsibilities of attending births, postpartum home visits and problem visits. We work all hours of the night and day when needed and expect our apprentices to be present for all learning opportunities.
Northern New Mexico holds a long and textured history of midwifery. Only 100 years ago, every Northern New Mexico village had their own partera who worked in trade for basic sustenance provided by their clients. They held extensive knowledge of local herbal remedios and a complex understanding of a system of medicine specific to pregnancy and birth. Much of this knowledge and tradition had already been lost by the time Elizabeth Gilmore and Tish Demmin, the grandmothers of current midwifery practice in Taos, arrived. Elizabeth began her practice in the late 70‘s in the cozy adobe building where Taos Homebirth and Midwifery is currently located. Elizabeth’s influence has taken many different manifestations in our community, including the improvement of maternity care in our local hospital and the creation of a Birth Center that is currently run by the hospital.
Taos Midwifery has grown out of a need for a community midwifery center that holds true to the midwives’ model of care, integrates Taos’ incredible resources of natural medicine, and strives to reflect the multicultural nature of the community while reviving local traditions around maternity care. We work to keep the community’s genuine needs as the focal point by offering heart centered maternity and well woman care, holding centralized space for community gatherings, classes and support, maintaining integrity in our business practices and striving for cultural competence at every level. Committed to passing on the art of midwifery, we have always had midwifery apprentices as integral members of our team, have created a doula certification course that is offered periodically and are currently developing several intensive week long courses for beginning midwives. The clinic is also home to an herbal apothecary that provides easy access to herbal remedies for our clients and sources Sacred Mother Herbals, a cottage industry that helps make it financially possible for us to serve the families of Taos.
The cost of the apprenticeship is $500 per month. This includes classes, clinical experience and all materials and equipment. If you are enrolled with the National College of Midwifery (highly recommended), we will charge $50 per credit to review the academic work required. If you are enrolled with a different program for completing your academic requirements or if you are following NARM’s PEP process, please contact us to discuss possible additional fees.
WHERE TO START
If you are interested in becoming a midwifery apprentice with Taos Midwifery, please contact us to discuss current apprenticeship availability. We will take time to communicate with you by phone or email, and, when appropriate, invite you to apply and visit Taos for a three day interview. This will provide you opportunity to shadow us in clinic for three days, during which time we can make a collective decision about whether this is a viable route for your midwifery educational needs. Once it is determined that the apprenticeship is a smart fit, forms for preceptors from your college of choice and/or the state will need to completed as well as payments received. We highly recommend the National College of Midwifery’s program as we are all registered as preceptors and feel at ease with teaching this curriculum. NCM is located here in Taos so can be a great resource for you while you are here. You must be legally registered with the state of New Mexico as a midwifery apprentice before apprenticeship begins. We are happy to help you with this process. We also recommend that you obtain certification in IV therapy, CPR, and Neonatal Resuscitation either before or soon after you begin your apprenticeship.
Taos, often referred to as the soul of the southwest, is a small, mountainous, rural, farming community nestled in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Northern New Mexico. We experience four seasons and the high altitude makes for cold winters and cool nights even in the middle of summer. The community here is culturally diverse and the landscape resplendent. Taos Pueblo is a world heritage site and is the oldest inhabited pueblo in North America. The blend of traditional cultures, a high concentration of artists and a thriving counter culture make Taos unique, vibrant and spiritually alive. At the same time, New Mexico and Taos County top the nation’s lists for per capita rates of poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, violent crime and suicide. This is a place of extreme contrasts and serving its community comes with many joys and challenges.
Rentals: There are many rental options in Taos. The Taos News, word of mouth and many bulletin boards around town are the best ways to look for a temporary housing option.
Finances: Being able to support yourself while here and going through your midwifery education can be challenging. While we do not prohibit apprentices from finding part time work, we require that it be a job that allows flexibility enough to still be on call.
Cell phone: As you will be on call, you will be responsible for having a way that you can be contacted 24/7. Verizon wireless is the best cell phone service for reception purposes available here. This is a mountainous rural community so reception can be somewhat dodgy traveling around the area.
Transportation: A reliable vehicle is necessary as you will need to get to classes and clinic as well as births and home visits regularly. Four wheel drive or all wheel drive is a definite plus for the rural unpaved roads you will be driving down often.
General Information: There are three grocery stores, two co-ops, and one nice large health food market. If children are coming with you, there are a wide choice of public, charter and private school options and New Mexico is a home school friendly state.
For more info on Taos check out the link : taos.org