As a little girl, I knew I wanted to be a midwife. In middle school I read a novel called “Jacob, have I loved.” Have you read this wonderful story? I was enthralled. Later, in high school I learned one of my dorm parents birthed her daughters at home with a midwife. I couldn’t believe helping women have babies was a job. I bought Elizabeth Davis’s “Heart and Hands” and poured over the pencil drawings. I left rural Maine for Philadelphia to study nursing and midwifery and though I loved Penn, I couldn’t wait to get back home. Looking back it’s clear to me that Midwifery was less of a career choice than a realization of who I am.
I’ve been practicing for 16 years. I’ve worked in big hospitals, little hospitals, birth centers and at home. I am as enthusiastic about the future of midwifery now as I was the day I started my first clinical rotation. Exciting things are happening in the worlds of midwifery and childbirth! I find the acknowledgment from mainstream medicine that there is value in physiologic birth and that old paradigms were flawed, deeply satisfying. It’s clear that the exponential rise in the cost of health care is unsustainable as well as unnecessary. Midwives are experts in providing care that is high quality and high value. The challenges are great but we are well positioned to be part of the solution rather than the problem.
And...I’m interested in integrating more body work and healing through plants/food/herbs into my practice.
My friend Carol was in labor with her first baby. I was working in the ICU, so after my shift, I snuck to the 2nd floor to see how she was doing. When I got there, Carol was working hard in labor. I tried to duck out as I was a bit intimidated, but she called me back and then grabbed my hand. I ended up staying for the whole amazing birth! And then, there she was, this little, sweet beautiful baby girl- and she arrived without the central lines or infusions or beeping cardiac monitors that I was accustomed to in the ICU. There was just a strong momma, her hard work and the support of those around her. Wow! That was it, I had found what I wanted to be. It was just like that.
I am so lucky to have been able to become a midwife and there is nothing else in the world I would be.
I have loved practicing in Maine and getting to know the women and their families I care for. It is incredibly rewarding to be able to be with women for one or more of her children and then continue to see her for well-woman care as time goes by. When I was a new midwife, I used to struggle with office visits, but now it is often like having tea with friends as I have gotten to know these women and enjoy seeing them and hearing how those babies are growing and how their lives are unfolding.
I am also extremely blessed to have great midwife partners that make the tough days bearable and the joys all the greater for being shared. One of my favorite parts of our practice is our Centering Pregnancy program. Group prenatal care that allows us more time with our patients and creates community with our families. We have had over 600 families participate in this program and while it is a lot of work, it has been an absolute joy.
The pandemic has changed so much about healthcare, but we are continuing to provide a virtual version of Centering and birth is still birth. Perhaps now we have to wear masks and goggles and gowns, but those babies are unafraid and just continue to bring new light and hope to this world.
Bio coming soon!
Growing up in the 70’s, I was captivated by the idea of women reclaiming their health and Our Bodies, Ourselves was my bible. However, I wasn’t certain that I wanted to translate this passion into a career. I studied psychology and was working with domestic violence survivors at the time. But when I moved abroad after college, and I was introduced to midwifery, a field I had no idea still existed, I immediately knew I had found my path.
In Israel, I had the most amazing fortune to befriend a public health nurse and midwife. She provided maternity as well as preventative care to women of all ages. So, inspired by her, I returned to the United States and became a nurse, then a nurse practitioner, then finally pursued my dream and became a midwife in 1995.
People may not know that midwives do more than catch babies. Midwife literally means “with woman” and midwives are trained to care for women during the entire lifespan. Besides childbirth there are many transformative life events including puberty, claiming sexuality and menopause. After years of taking care of people primarily during pregnancy and childbirth, I opened an independent practice, Lifecycle Women’s Health to provide holistic healthcare to help women honor and celebrate all of life’s transitions and achieve their optimal health potential.
There are so many things I love about being a midwife, but nothing is more significant than the relationships and connections I have made with people over the years. It has been the world’s greatest honor to be allowed into people’s sacred and intimate spaces. As a relative newcomer to Maine, I am also honored to be working in this state, following in the footsteps of many strong and incredible midwives before me.
I strongly believe that everyone deserves a midwife. In addition, I believe that everyone deserves accessible, equitable, and quality healthcare. Healthcare is a basic human right and I hope there will be a time soon when no one in this country will suffer because of lack of access to healthcare.
When I began my career as a midwife, I didn't expect to be where I am now. That is one of the most satisfying aspects of midwifery; the many different and rewarding paths.
I entered nursing with a passion for public health. Working as a labor and delivery nurse at Maine Medical Center, my interest in midwifery grew. After completing graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania, I spent five rewarding years working as a full-scope midwife at Back Cove Midwives.
Since 2015 I have been working in the OBGYN residency clinic at Maine Medical Center. Here my time is spent caring for an incredibly diverse population of people; teens through post-menopause. I love helping people find contraception that works for their needs, educating about sexual health and well-being, helping finding a way through the sometimes bumpy path of peri-menopause and providing safe and equitable pregnancy and postpartum care. Recently I've started working on the MaineMOM Initiative, improving care for women affected by opiate use.
I am not sure where my future in midwifery will be, but there are always ways to grow and I am grateful to be where I am now and excited to see where this path will continue to take me.
My first exposure to midwifery as a profession occurred when my husband and I were Peace Corps volunteers in Kenya in our twenties. Our primary job was starting and teaching at a secondary school in rural western Kenya, but by good fortune, my neighbor, Pauline Obare, was the head nurse and midwife at a new hospital that opened up across the street from our house during my fourth year in the country. Pauline took me under her wing and taught me the fundamentals of nursing and midwifery; I was hooked! I returned to the United States and attended Columbia University for my BSN and MSN degrees, and I became a CNM in 1984. I worked in New York City for a short time but then moved to beautiful Maine, where I have ever since had easy access to the ocean I love so much.
I happily attended births at Maine Medical Center for 25 years, able to care for women from many parts of the world and from different socio-economic backgrounds, thus getting to know a little about different cultural practices and beliefs. My curiosity was constantly piqued.
As midwives, we care for women throughout their lives. That continuity of care has excited me about our profession. I have known women at their most vulnerable times as well as at their times of victory and joy. These intimate and tender relationships remind me over and again that I became a midwife in order to be “with women”.
The last third of my midwifery career I spent with mostly older women, in a pelvic medicine practice. Pelvic floor health is something that I did not learn much about in midwifery school, but as I became older myself, I realized how important this aspect of women’s health is. I thoroughly enjoyed caring for older women; the conversations were much different than the ones I had with younger women! I still relish many of the friendships that developed over those last ten years.
Towards the end of my career, I traveled to Malawi with Seed Global Health in 2019-2020. I had a year-long contract to help create a “Midwifery Led Ward” at a large hospital in Blantyre. Linda Robinson, our own Maine Affiliate President, had laid the groundwork for this project. Thanks to her significant efforts two years previously, I was able to step into her role and move the project along. I dream of returning to Malawi to see the Midwifery Led Ward in full swing in the near future!
Since leaving clinical midwifery practice, I am enjoying a volunteer teaching role in a program called “In Her Presence”. A group of midwives and nurse practitioners meet regularly with new Mainers who are interested in various health topics, such as COVID vaccinations, sleep disturbances, healthy exercise and movement practices, pregnancy, breast feeding issues, stress and anxiety, and PTSD. I get to practice my rusty French conversation skills while interacting with women from many French-speaking African countries as they make the transition to life in Maine. This work has made the inequity of health care all the more obvious to me. Healthcare is a basic human right, and I enjoy working with others to bring this a little closer to a reality for all.
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