My name is Jamie and it’s fabulous to meet you. I’m a certified nurse midwife and walking with women through their pregnancies, births, and postpartum journeys (and beyond) is my passion in this world. At every encounter I feel blessed to walk alongside any woman’s joy or hardship, and truly believe that together we are stronger.
But I also feel frustrated that healthcare in the United States isn’t producing the patient outcomes that we’re capable of. I find myself wondering why we are failing to meet national and global goals for maternal and fetal health. I ask myself these questions frequently:
- Why is midwifery NOT the standard of care for pregnancy and birth?
- Why does the United States rank last in maternal mortality for industrialized countries? (In 2018, the only other country that reported an increase in maternal deaths was the Dominican Republic) (Declercq, E. & Zephyrin, L., 2020).
- Why are women filled with frustration about their own healthcare, or worse, regret about their own birth experiences?
- Why do women feel like they don’t have a choice in their maternity care?
- Why is normal birth so medicalized?
- Why isn’t shared decision-making the standard of care?
- Why are births attended by midwives holding at approximately 10% of births in the United States despite good evidence that outcomes by physicians and midwives are the same?
- And most importantly, why are women not sharing their stories?
I reached a place where I got tired of thinking and waiting that there was something better out there. That’s why I started A Midwife Nation.
A Midwife Nation’s mission is to improve preconception, pregnancy, birth and postpartum education and care for women and midwives nationwide.
The vision is pretty straightforward too: Accessible education and midwifery care for everyone, nationwide.
How do we accomplish this mission and vision? By educating women. Women that are educated feel empowered to advocate during their own pregnancy and birth experiences. Educated women will naturally seek out midwives as they learn about pregnancy, birth and postpartum periods.
If women in the United States seek out midwives for their care, we can steer the direction of health care towards better maternal and infant outcomes simply by an old school economic principle: demand.
It’s important to state that OBGYNs are essential for consultation and management of high risk pregnancies and that high risk pregnancies are a reality of our modern age. The idea is not to exclude OBGYNs and make midwives the sole providers for birth. The idea is to move management of low risk pregnancies to midwifery care and management, while still working together with OBGYNs to manage moderate to high risk pregnancies. After all, midwives are experts in normal and should be responsible for management of normal birth!
Why education? Education is imperative to learning. In our fast paced society, people are used to quick information at their fingertips. But birth isn’t always fast and pregnancy is a long, slow journey. I think we need to establish education as the foundation for pregnancy and birth. A single birthing class on the weekend is helpful but it’s not enough. We have to provide women with more education. Women aren’t alone though – midwives need continuing education and learning throughout their entire career. A Midwife Nation is here to provide education to both. (Want to get started on education now? Check out the BOOKS and RESOURCES pages.)
Women without access to midwives need a place to learn about midwives. Women need to hear what birth is like through different lenses. I always tell people – every pregnancy and birth is different. Some experiences may be similar, but every single woman has her own experience. Women must start talking about their experiences in an effort to inspire other women and midwives. It is only through this education and inspiration that we can reach empowerment. I believe that women are the cornerstone of the family unit, and that women who are empowered, empower their families as well as other women.
Lastly, I leave you with this: I believe in change. I believe that women are ready for a change in the way they receive and participate in their health care. I’m going to make this blunt: I don’t have all the answers and I believe the road ahead is long… but I believe I’m on the right path to finding answers and inciting change. My hope is that anyone involved in the welcoming of a baby or helping a woman during pregnancy recognizes the need for reform and uses their voice as the stimulus for change in their hometown or place of practice. I’m here to provide the spark to the fire. Together, we’ll keep the fire roaring bright.
So, in the spirit of change, in the spirit of your health, your babe’s health, and our great nation…we’re officially open for conversation. I’m delighted you found A Midwife Nation. Grab a cup of coffee or tea, take a second to explore, and let’s get started.
You can also learn more about me in these posts:
- My journey to midwifery
- My birth stories (Babe #1, Babe #2, and Babe #3)
- My fistula stories (Part 1, Part 2)
Are you curious about midwifery, want to be a midwife, or want to help spread or sustain midwifery in your community? Check out the MAKE MORE MIDWIVES page and The Successful Student Midwife eBook in the SHOP.
And if you would like to chat or have questions, resources or a birth story to share, I’d love to hear from you! I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for all correspondence.
Hugs and happy catching,
“Disruption is a choice. It either happens to you or because of you.” – Brian Solis
“Believe you can, and you’re halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt
“I am not a teacher; only a fellow traveler of whom you asked the way. I pointed ahead – ahead of myself as well as of you.” – George Bernard Shaw
“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.” – Goethe
“And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her: Fear not.” – Genesis 35:17, King James Version
Declercq, E. & Zephyrin, L. (2020). Maternal mortality in the United States: A primer. Commonwealth Fund. https://doi.org/10.26099/ta1q-mw24