Midwife of the Week: Debbie Allen

Debbie Allen, LM, CPM says the experience surrounding her first birth led her to the home births of her second and third children. These two births became the inspiration to practice as a doula for seventeen years and eventually become a Certified Professional Midwife in 2008. The fact that Black women and babies are much more likely to die during or shortly after birth is unacceptable to Debbie; she is dedicated to reducing these racial disparities by providing quality education and support to women of all socioeconomic backgrounds. Debbie is the Director of Tribe Midwifery in Los Angeles, which offers well woman care, doula and monitrice services, childbirth education, and placenta encapsulation, in addition to midwifery care. Debbie also attends births at the Los Angeles Community Birth Center, where Racha Tahani Lawler, a previous FOMM Midwife of the Week, is the Director. For more information on Debbie, visit tribemidwifery.com.

This Midwife of the Week post was written by Valerie Meharg. It originated on FoMM’s Facebook page and is archived here on our website for your continued enjoyment!
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Midwife of the Week: Sarah Davis

sarahdavisSarah Davis, LM, CPM, IBCLC was attending Pomona College working towards a degree in Black Studies when she began volunteering as a doula in 2003. Her experience as a doula, along with her interests in women’s health and feminism, drew her towards a career in midwifery. She began her training at a Texas birth center and then returned to her home state of California to begin an apprenticeship. In 2010, she opened Birth Root’s Women’s Health and Maternity center with her partner, Darynee Blount, LM, CPM.

California’s recent passage of SB 407 enables Medi-Cal (California’s Medicaid program) coverage for CPM care. Under the law, CPMs can practice without obstetric supervision, legally obtain medications and supplies, and order diagnostic testing. Sarah, as the legislation and policy chair for the California Association of Midwives, said of the new law: “We are thrilled that, thanks to the passage of SB 407, California families of all income levels will have increased access to licensed midwives and the low-cost, high-value care that they provide in birth centers and home births.”
For more information about Sarah Davis, visit http://birthrootsbabies.com/about/.

This Midwife of the Week post was written by Valerie Meharg. It originated on FoMM’s Facebook page and is archived here on our website for your continued enjoyment!

Midwife of the Week: Karen Ehrlich

karenehrlichKaren Ehrlich began attending births as a doula in 1974, then apprenticed with a midwife for just one year before her mentor sent her out on her own. The Supreme Court in California had declared pregnancy to be a “condition,” making midwives vulnerable to prosecution for practicing medicine without a license. Ehrlich was active in the movement to decriminalize midwifery in California in the late seventies. She helped write three bills that were not enacted; a fourth finally passed in 1990. Later Ehrlich obtained a masters degree from Goddard College, where she wrote her thesis, Life is a Sexually Transmitted Condition: The Sexuality of Labor and Birth. For more information, visit karenehrlich.org.

This Midwife of the Week post was written by Valerie Meharg. It originated on FoMM’s Facebook page and is archived here on our website for your continued enjoyment!

Midwife of the Week: L. Samsarah Morgan

lsamsarahmorganIn the 34 years that L. Samsarah Morgan has worked with expectant families in California, she has served as a birth and postpartum doula, life coach, counselor, interfaith minister, and most recently, an apprentice midwife. Her main place of business is the Nia Healing Center in Oakland. She is the director of Birth Professionals of the Bay Area, and also of the Oakland Better Birth Foundation. The Better Birth Foundation provides training for birth workers of color and offers grants to low-income families who wish to hire a midwife or doula. Morgan is the mother of five sons and two grandchildren. For more information on L. Samsarah Morgan and her work, visit http://www.niahealingcenter.org/education.html or https://oaklandbetterbirthfoundation.wordpress.com/.

 

This Midwife of the Week post was written by Valerie Meharg. It originated on FoMM’s Facebook page and is archived here on our website for your continued enjoyment!

Midwife of the Week: Racha Tahani Lawler

Photo by https://midwivesofcolor.wordpress.com/tag/racha-tahani-lawler/

Photo by midwivesofcolor.wordpress.com

African-American women are four times more likely to die in childbirth than are their white counterparts. Their babies likewise run twice the risk of death when compared to white babies. Licensed Traditional Midwife and CPM Racha Tahani Lawler of California is working to change that, with her mission to, “Grow our community, one baby at a time.” Racha, who comes from a family of midwives, began her career early. She moved to El Paso, TX to attend the MEAC accredited midwifery school, Maternidad La Luz, and subsequently passed her NARM exam in 2004. She moved back to California in 2007 and became a California Licensed Midwife the following year.

As the owner of The Community Birth Center in Los Angeles, Racha leads a team of midwives and students that provides prenatal and birth services, well woman and well child care, childbirth education, and breastfeeding education and support. Once monthly, they host “Community Free Friday,” where many of their services are provided free or at low cost.

In the midst of national outrage following the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, Racha received a heart-wrenching phone call from a laboring woman, as she relates in this moving and disquieting video.

To learn more about Racha Tahani Lawler, LM, CPM, visit lacommunitybirth.com.

This Midwife of the Week post was written by Valerie Meharg. It originated on FoMM’s Facebook page and is archived here on our website for your continued enjoyment!

Midwife of the Week: JayVon Muhammad

Born and raised in San Francisco, JayVon Muhammad has been providing care to underserved women in nearby Marin County for over 10 years. In 2008, she founded Urban Midwifery to provide midwifery and educational programs to the community, and is able to offer services in ASL to deaf and hard of hearing clients. Despite her location and the ease of access to her services, JayVon continued to feel that the women who most needed care were not getting it. In response, she created SistaGirl Midwifery in 2010. SistaGirl began as a character JayVon thought young women would relate to, and quickly became a local brand. Since 2013, JayVon has has served as the CEO of Marin City Health and Wellness Center, a full service health center that provides care to homeless people and residents of public housing. One of JayVon’s goals as CEO is to make MCHWC a Center of Excellence for maternity care.

Midwife of the Week posts, written by Sirene-Rose Lipschutz, originate on FoMM’s Facebook page and are archived here on our website for your continued enjoyment!

Midwife of the Week: Constance Rock

Now practicing in rural Northern California, Constance Rock is responsible for opening and directing two much-needed birth centers in Los Angeles. She came to home birth midwifery with the desire to provide to others what she felt was missing from the hospital birth of her first child. Her practice has since evolved to include public speaking, original educational videos, and activism. She has trained midwives, doulas, and childbirth educators across the globe for over two decades. Constance is president of the California Association of Midwives (CAM), a group that works on legislation to support and promote midwifery. In January 2014, Constance and CAM saw their efforts come to fruition with the elimination of a law requiring physician oversight of home births. Before that point, most licensed California midwives were practicing in violation of the law, since physicians were generally unwilling to enter into the formal relationship it necessitated. Not only does this change allow midwives to conform to state law, but by doing so, it permits Medi-Cal reimbursement of midwifery services, thus opening up home birth to those previously unable to afford it.

Midwife of the Week posts, written by Sirene-Rose Lipschutz, originate on FoMM’s Facebook page and are archived here on our website for your continued enjoyment!