Why did you become a midwife?
As a young nursing student in the early 70's, I witnessed the barbaric treatment of women in labor and knew there had to be a more humane way to give birth. I was passionately drawn to dedicate my clinical career to improving a woman's experience in childbirth. After working for many years as a childbirth educator and LD nurse, I was privileged to work at a birth center in NC with nurse-midwives. I immediately knew that nurse-midwifery was in my future.
What do you wish women knew about pregnancy and birth?
I wish women would trust their body. For most women, pregnancy and birth are normal events in their life, not a disease state. It is also very important for women to find a provider that listens, educates and truly employs shared decision-making. With the appropriate care, most women can have a safe and satisfying birth experience even if complications develop.
What were your own birth experiences like?
I had three very positive birth experiences. I had three normal, unmedicated vaginal births attended by family practice physicians in my community since there were no nurse-midwives practicing in my area. I was able to be mobile in labor and was an integral part of decision-making when complications arose. I was very self-confident and self-actualized, knowing that my body knew what to do and with the support from my husband, nurses and physician that I would have normal births.
If you could change one thing about women's health care, what would it be?
If I could change one thing, nurse-midwives would be the preferred provider for all normal, healthy women during pregnancy and birth. As the evidence shows, this would not only improve maternal and fetal outcomes and reduce healthcare costs, but also provide women with more options for a safe and satisfying birth experience.