Thursday, March 24, 2011

Introducing Myself

I will start my midwifery program in May at Midwives College of Utah, a program I chose for its distance learning and flexibility, as well as the fact that I live in Salt Lake, where direct entry midwifery is expressly legal and licensing is optional. Utah is not the place I ever thought I'd end up, being a lesbian from the Midwest, but I came here to get my PhD in Literature & Creative Writing, studying & teaching poetry (my day job, as I like to joke), and the university's program is in the top five in the nation. Fortunately I've fallen in love with the place and its natural beauty and I hope to stay here for awhile. 

My road to birthwork seems at once direct and circuitous. I have always loved babies, pregnancy, and birth, but it never occurred to me that could be a career. When I was little, I used to play doctor with my stuffed animals and dolls, but the only thing that ever happened was they gave birth. I told my mother I wanted to be a doctor, and she said, "No, you don't! You want to be a teacher and a writer." She was correct, I did. But now that I look back on that, I obviously wanted to be a midwife, I just didn't know such a job existed! I was the older sister and the oldest cousin, and worked regularly as a babysitter for several families in my teens. I was never happier than when I was surrounded by children. I went off to college and then became a high school English teacher for awhile before going back to grad school for my MFA and now my PhD. But I missed having children in my life. One night I was out with some friends and one woman confided in me that she and her husband were trying to conceive. I discovered a few years ago that I am infertile, and, anyway, I am single and not in a position to parent right now. But I went home from an evening of talking about babies and I felt this primal ache. I loved school and writing, but something very deep was missing from my life. That is when I decided to become a doula. 

I trained and certified through DONA and have had the pleasure to assist at several births. It fulfills me in a way my academic life never has. I love knowing so much about the process, and I found I was quite good at helping parents through the process of labor. My knack for school helped me remember all I read, and my maternal instincts and babysitter skills kicked in when it came to sensing what a woman needed from me in labor. All the clients I worked with wanted natural vaginal deliveries, but chose to deliver at a hospital, and I became so frustrated as time and again the OBs would swoop in and disregard a mother's plan. After a particularly frustrating encounter with an OB who lied to my client, telling her that purple pushing was the only way it was possible to get the baby out when my client was begging to be allowed to breathe and push at will and grunt, after the OB told me doulas only make things difficult for doctors, I thought for awhile that maybe I should give it up. It was so frustrating feeling so powerless, but after a few months of taking a break, I missed it so much. I felt like I wasn't fulfilling my calling. I decided that what I really wanted was more involvement, not less. I wanted to be the one in charge, I wanted more power so that I could give that power back to the person in labor, where it belongs, so that she can tune in to her body and her instincts and birth the way she wants. 

I am training to be a direct-entry midwife and I hope to specialize in home births. I look forward to sharing my journey with you!


  1. Welcome! So nice to see a new face and name here. I'm loving it.. a "Poetry Doctor" of a midwife.

    I spent about 9 weeks tumbling around the canyons in Southeast Utah years ago and carry some unshakable fondness for the land in that part of the world.

    It's funny because your journey is kind of the yang to the yin of Barbara Hererra who recently shut down her midwifery practice so she could fully aid women as a doula/montirce in hospital births to make the kind of difference she feels more fed by.

    I'm looking forward to hearing more from you. Kind welcome!

  2. Hi there. I liked your post...I am a MCU student as well and have a lot in common with you lol. I love MCu its a great school!!!! check out my blog