CDA, CNS, CLD, CNM?!?!

I have no idea what I want to do with my life.

Okay, that’s a lie. I have an idea, but maybe not a practical application yet.

Above all else, I know I want to work with children under the age of 12. This generally translates to a teacher with an EC (Early Childhood)-6th grade Generalist degree with a teaching certification, and a career as an elementary school teacher, all of which I would be absolutely fine with.

But… I love babies. Like love babies.

There’s honestly something magical about seeing them grow in that first year, with so many developmental milestones being reached, and so much learning about our world going on. I would absolutely love to make a career out of working with infants.

My boyfriend calls me ‘a mother without a child,’ because I have such strong maternal instincts. I’ve been lucky to find success with all the infants I’ve worked with, much to the surprise of some seasoned veterans of childcare. Jacob assures me I have a gift- a way with little ones that just can’t be learned, and I’d like to believe him.

Most of my friends are still in college, now finishing their sophomore year. Here I am, with just a freshman’s year of basics under my belt. An important English credit here, a useful math credit there, and even an elective credit in Psychology and Sociology. But, there’s also an entire semester’s worth of art classes that will more than likely never transfer to an education degree. Lesson learned friends, don’t take an entire semester of classes specifically for your major freshman year.

When I graduated high school, I was absolutely certain I wanted to major in Communication Design. I was going to grow up and be an advertising art director, design fabulous advertisements, be a creative mogul, move to New York and basically live out my days as the advertising equivalent of Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada. I visited art schools in New York, and even got accepted to one. Okay, not an art school, but the New York Institute of Technology. I blame the fact that I never took an art class in high school, yet somehow decided that this was my career path. Go figure.

As the story goes on, I quickly decided after my first semester that this wasn’t the major for me. But, the plan was to stick it out for another semester, and transfer from Texas State University to the University of North Texas. Of course Life had other plans, and I ended up moving in with my current boyfriend in Austin. I was going on with a little hum-drum life of working at the mall part-time and taking classes at Austin Community College when I saw it one day. An ad on Craigslist, of all places, for a teaching position at a preschool. The more I looked, the more ads I found, for similar positions in preschools and daycares all over Austin. Well, it was August and the new school year was about to start.

Having no previous childcare experience other than babysitting, it took Jacob a lot of convincing to get me to apply. ‘Surely I’m not qualified’ I thought, ‘I’ll be dismissed right away.’ But lo and behold, after two weeks of phone, primary, and secondary interviews, I received not one, but three offers. My confidence in myself as both a childcare provider and an educator was beginning to grow.

I was placed in the infant room of a preschool where I fell in love with the work, the children, the staff, and the school as a community. The only thing I didn’t fall in love with was the hour and a half it took me to drive to work every day, and the almost two hours it took to drive back. That combined with the amount of my paycheck I had to spend on gas to make that drive everyday made the job only last about 8 months. While I was there, I began working on a CDA certification, though did not finish. It’s usually about a year program, and I started it after working at the school about 5-6 months.

CDA- Child Development Associate- This is a certification given to individuals working in group-based child-care centers. It’s a recognized credential of Early Childhood Education, and can be transferred to colleges for course credit.

I now work as a full-time nanny, and even though all my CDA classes are online, part of the requirement of earning the certification is to work in a child-care center. So… now what? Well, I do love newborns. I looked into getting a CNS certification.

CNS- Certified Newborn Specialist- An individual trained to all things specific to newborn care. They typically will begin within the first 48 hours of birth and assist the parents in everything from night care, creating routines, and most importantly, sleep training. An Advanced CNS will provide sleep training for infants over 3 months, and handle multiples, as well as babies with complications such as premature birth, colic, GER/GERD, and reflux.

This is definitely something I would be interested in! This is a wonderful role to play in a new family’s life, as I would be able to use my training to educate the family and help them become comfortable and become confident in caring for their precious little newborn.

CLD- Certified Labor Doula- There are two types of CLDs- birth doulas and postpartum doulas. Birth doulas are exactly what they sound like! They help the mother before and during labor to provide knowledge and support. They are often seen as a birth partner, without replacing the spouse of the mother. A Postpartum doula is trained to help the mother after birth. They see to the needs of the baby while also providing support and comfort to the healing mother. Their job is to make sure that both mother and baby’s needs are met so they can simply enjoy each other’s company. Both types of doulas are also able to provide knowledge of breastfeeding to help the mothers.

A doula! How wonderful would that be?! Nothing is more fascinating and beautiful to me than the adventure of pregnancy, and the miracle that is childbirth. How honorable to be the one who is able to provide that support to a family! Should I choose to become a CLD, I would opt for the Postpartum certification, which differs only slightly from a CNS certification, since I would attending to the needs of the mother as well.

CNM- Certified Nurse Midwife- Registered nurses that specialize in care during pre-conception, pregnancy, child-birth, and post-partum period. Most are nurses that at add graduate studies in midwifery, but there are many nurse midwife programs that provide nurse’s training prior to midwifery education. These are typically associated with natural births, home births, or birthing centers, though can operate in hospitals as well.

Again, this is definitely something would interest me, because I would not only be able to help once the baby is born, but be a part of a mother’s journey through pregnancy as well.

The main draw to all these professions for me is the fact that each one is very personal. There is lots of communication and trust between these care providers and their client. I love the fact that each of these professions is really about providing love, care, and support for someone in one of the greatest times of their lives. I believe every mother deserves to relax and simply enjoy the experience of pregnancy, child-birth, and post-partum. No woman should have to spend the first hours with their child stressed about anything! And each of these professions- CNS, CLD, and CNM, would allow me to to just that.

I’m more confident than ever in knowing that one (all?) of these professions are what I want to do with my life. I now accept that maybe I’m just not the four-year degree office job type. And I’ve never been, honestly. I decided long ago that one of my life goals was to never have to work in an office building, and I’m sticking to it. Even my original plan of being in advertising would hopefully allow me a studio space that I wouldn’t have to think of as an office. I’m just not meant to be on a computer stuck in a cube! I know the best job for me is out there, helping people in ways they can see, touch, hear, and feel. I know I’m mean to impact lives with my care. I know this will work for me. I’m confident I will be happy!

But… which one to choose? Friends, I’d like to hear from you. You may not know me well, but any and all insight is welcome! I know my caring, giving, mothering personality would shine in whatever I choose to do. I have full confidence that any of these paths would give me much satisfaction in my career, which is all anyone can really ask for in life, right? Help me friends. I’ll continue to mull it over and think about it. At nearly 20 years old, I’m ready to take the first step into any of these careers… just not sure where to take it :) As always, thank you for bearing with me and reading these long posts! Have a wonderful rest of your day and I hope to see you here again soon<3

P.S.

If you’d like more information on any of these accreditations, look here:

CDA- http://www.cdacouncil.org/

CNS- http://www.ncsainfo.com/index.html

CLD- http://www.dona.org/

CNM- http://www.midwife.org/

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