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Are you searching for a rewarding career, one that's working-mother friendly? Look no further than your growing belly, and let pregnancy and childbirth inspire you.
That's what Jennifer Powers did when she became pregnant in 2004. "I knew my job as a financial analyst wouldn't be a good fit for me once my baby was born," says the 34-year-old mom from Cambridge, Mass., citing such drawbacks as high-priced child care and a company culture in which 10-hour workdays were the norm.
It was when she attended childbirth-preparation classes that Powers discovered her dream job. "As the instructor explained the intricacies of labor and delivery, I kept thinking, 'I want to be a childbirth educator,'" she recalls.
Powers enrolled in a home-study program and earned her childbirth-educator certification before her son reached his first birthday. "I love my new career," she reports. "Working with expectant parents, I get to share their joy and anticipation. And because classes meet in the evenings, my husband is home to care for our son while I teach."
Many maternity-related professions offer flexible hours, fulfilling responsibilities and the opportunity to help other women make the transition to motherhood. As you plan your own future as a working mom, consider whether one of these careers might be your perfect fit. (Organizations listed here offer further training and certification information.)
Childbirth Educator (CBE)
The basics Childbirth educators teach moms- and dads-to-be general what-to-expect classes or specialize in such topics as natural pain relief. Those who offer private classes charge between $200 and $650 per couple for a six-week course. CBEs who teach in a hospital setting typically make $30 to $50 per class. Certification requirements include completing home-study course work, observing experienced childbirth educators and teaching a practice class.
Contact International Childbirth Educators Associ-ation; icea.org; 952-854-8660.
The basics "I mother the mother-to-be," says Julie Six, 26, a certified doula from Swayzee, Ind. "I stay by a woman's side throughout labor, offering encouragement, informational support and comfort." But the nature of doula work means the hours are often unpredictable. "Dependable child care is a must when you are on call," Six says. Most doulas attend one or two births a month, with fees ranging from $500 to $1,200.
To earn certified-doula status, a woman must complete a basic childbirth course and provide labor assistance to a minimum of three clients. If you prefer a more conventional work schedule, postpartum doulas provide such services as light housecleaning, meal preparation and daytime or overnight newborn care. They generally charge $15 to $25 per hour.
Contact Doulas of North America; dona.org; 888-788-3662.