Yay for midwife mamas!

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Four prior presidents of the Midwives Alliance of North America: Ina May Gaskin, Therese Charvet (my mom!), Diane Holzer, and Geradine Simkins.

I’m not sure how many Offbeat Mama readers know about my mom. She wrote a few guestposts back in Offbeat Mama’s early days, but for those who weren’t around back in early 2010 here’s the backstory: my mom Therese is a retired midwife who was first the founding president of the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA), and then the Academic Director of Seattle Midwifery School. In high school, I grew up grading midwifery tests.

Anyway, MANA just celebrated their 30th anniversary, and my mom went to their 2012 conference in California. I was tickled pink when she shared this picture of some of the past presidents, and thought some of you midwifery fans might be as well.

Certainly, growing up with a midwife mom didn’t always make for the easiest childhood, but I’m still proud as punch of all the amazing work my mother has done to further the cause of women having access to nonmedicated, at-home childbirth. YAY, MOM!

If you’re curious about MANA’s mission, head on over to mana.org.

Comments on Yay for midwife mamas!

  1. Love this and that you love and are proud of you’re mama! I am a midwife and mama of two little ones 16 month-old little girl and 3 -and-a-half little boy. I know that my work is hard on my partner and my children at times. I am really striving to find balance between work and family and create a sustainable situation. Thanks for posting!

  2. Could someone (perhaps your mother or another member of this group) do a guest post about how to train to become a midwife? I’ve tried to research it via Google, but the results were really limited and unhelpful.

    • What state do you live in? There are many paths to becoming a midwife, including the PEP process, the MEAC process (Check out the National College of Midwifery). Also, depends on what kind of midwife you want to be: CNM, CPM, Lay? I would get in touch with a midwife in your area if you are intersted in apprenticing, she may have some advice for you.

      • I’m in California. I don’t know what type I’d want to be, I’d have to look into it more. The information I found implied the only way was to take a three year program from a really short list of institutions, none of which are near me. I don’t know any midwives in the area to asks questions, but I could look one up.

        It’s probably in no way practical for me to start any kind of training now as I am probably moving to another state in a year or less. So, unless there is some basic foundational coursework that is offered online or easily transferable there is probably not much I can do right now.

        Also, is it even accepted for a woman who has never had a child to consider training to be a midwife? I’ve always sort of gotten the impression that a midwife who has no children herself would be viewed as odd, and I have no children myself.

        • A parent of one of my students (non-bio mom) is a midwife. She has no biological children of her own, but she is extremely sought after by parents-to-be. I know that if I ever decide to have children I’ll be calling her up! She’s just got this… way. She’s gentle, patient, loving and at the same time firm and precise. I think you could definitely do it. I’ve considered it myself, and I don’t have kids of my own. Maybe not ever.

          • I’m a midwife and I have no children. I am good at my job because I have a fantastic educational background, experience, and passion. We don’t judge cardiologists based on their personal history of heart disease or plumbers based on the lack of plumbing issues in their own home. The big thing to remember here is that each woman has a different birth experience therefore whether the care provider has given birth herself to ten children or zero should make no impact on her ability to trust and respond appropriately to her current client’s needs. And I would argue that if it does make a difference, the midwife is likely inappropriately mapping her experiences onto her clients which is not ok. Women should be cared for based on research, not based on the care providers personal experiences – that becomes dangerous.

            This rant is not intended to begin a debate but to encourage those who have not given birth but feel lead to become a midwife to do it. 🙂

      • I just followed the link to the school mentioned in the post and see that they have a low residency program. That might be an option, but I would have to take some prerequisites that I didn’t take in college and figure out if I could afford the tuition plus monthly flights to Seattle. It is something to consider though.

        • If tuition costs are an issue, you could go the CNM route and work at a Federally Qualified Health Center for 2 or 4 (I don’t know the specifics) years after graduation. They will cover your tuition in exchange for a few years of work. You could then go forth to work in whatever setting you choose. Good luck to you!

    • The American College of Nurse-Midwives has an excellent resource on how to become a certified nurse-midwife (CNM). There are a ton of CNM programs in California but there are also online options such as Frontier.

      I an a CNM in the midwest and so am less familiar with California, but each state regulates all types of midwives differently so be certain that you are positive about your career goals prior to beginning any educational program. Good luck!


  3. Thank you for sharing this lovely and inspiring photo! Reading some of your mom’s posts actually made me want to learn more about how to become a midwife, still on that journey. Thanks and look forward to any more posts she wants to write for Offbeatmama.

  4. I love it! My mom is a home birth midwife. She started her apprenticeship as a single mom when I was 5 and my brother was 2. I’ll agree it wasn’t easy! But because of her I always saw birth as something normal that I COULD do. When I went into labor there was no fear and I (45 hours later) had my beautiful baby girl at home.

  5. The midwives I have seen (In MN) have their master’s in Midwifery, but not all of them have a bachelors in nursing. One who I saw has her BS in biology, and one has a BA, then got an Associates in nursing before the master’s program. The master’s programs are in several states as well.

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