My roots in midwifery started to grow many years before my first pregnancy. In the late 90s, I was a graduate student at UC Davis studying ecology and pursuing what I thought would be my life’s work in marine biology when I met a woman who made a deep impression on me. She was a friend of a friend, and I only met her once, but in that short meeting, I learned that she had her babies at home.
My interest was piqued. Suddenly, the mountainous pile of journal articles I was accustomed to reading was pushed aside for books on birth. I could not stop reading birth stories. I read about people who birthed in many settings and in many ways, and I could feel that each birth story held strong emotion and huge importance. It struck me that birth could bring tremendous satisfaction and empowerment, or not. The setting of the birth was not a key element in this, but rather that each person who felt moved to their core by birth had taken responsibility for how their birth unfolded. Birth is not predictable nor is the natural process of birth controllable, but the person who makes choices about their care and has an active role in decisions about their birth process tends to have positive feelings about their birth, regardless of the difficulties faced along the way. I decided that whenever I got pregnant, I would search out a midwife and plan to have my baby at home.
The care I received from midwives during my first pregnancy, birth, and postpartum (2002-2003), cemented my desires to become a midwife; I wanted to support other people and their partners and families through this time of introspection and change. I had gained confidence and pride in myself from my experience and felt there would be a place for me in helping others do the same. However, it wasn’t until 2008 that I was able to become a childbirth educator and doula. I enjoyed getting to know people as I informed them about prenatal tests, birth processes, and techniques for coping with labor; it was rewarding to see pregnant people and babies flourish and to counsel them on nutrition and exercise. Then in 2010, I became a midwife’s assistant and a midwifery student. I received my license in 2015. My journey toward midwifery has been long, but rewarding. I have been touched by every family I have met. This life as a midwife feels right to me, and I look forward to many years of meeting and supporting individuals and families as they navigate their own journeys through pregnancy, birth, and beyond.
Photography by Rachel Neumann Photography