Life takes us on many paths-it never occurred to me that birth, and the joys it brings, would become my life’s passion. But after adventuring through other directions in academia and pastry making, I was taken up in the birth world after a close friend’s home birth. From there the rest, they say, is history. An important and relevant history that empowers me, each day, to work within the wonderful world of birth.
I delved deeper into birth when I found out that I was pregnant. The support and compassion I received from my doula and midwives at Health Foundations Birth Center was truly inspirational. My birth experience was both healing and transformative, in more ways than I could have imagined. It was through these complied experiences that I knew I had found my calling.
I started my journey in the birth world as a doula. Taking in as much information as I could through my DONA International Training at Blooma and attending births. I attended births in a multitude of settings. Each birth provided me new insights. I was honored to support families and was thrilled each time to bear witness to the magic of birth. What I learned, quite quickly, was that I had developed a preference for out of hospital birth. The support I provided as a doula was embraced in this setting, allowing me to thrive. The quality and thoroughness of care provided by the midwives was incredible. I realized that midwifery, in an out of hospital setting, was the next step in my journey as a birth junkie.
Explaining myself to family, friends and supporters, wasn’t always the easiest. They couldn’t understand why I was pursuing this “unconventional occupation.” But, I had an ally very early on, my grandfather. He reminded me that our family had a history of midwives. Lena Appert, my great-great grandmother, was a midwife. She served families around St. Cloud, MN. Lena was a German immigrant and a single mother of three children. She traveled to over 1,000 births often bringing her children along in the middle of the night.
My grandfather shared the photos, news clippings and stories he had about Lena. This calling to out of hospital midwifery resonated even stronger as I learned my own family’s history. I was determined to carry on this legacy of out of hospital midwifery, just as Lena had done so many years ago. I find myself so curious about her experiences. How did she find herself on this path to midwifery? Was her presence in the community embraced? What changes did she see as birth entered the hospital system? What would she think about the systems in place today?
I was blessed to know my great grandmother quite well. I was incredibly close to my grandmother as well. I lost both of these powerful women before I was 20 years old. As I grow into my calling as a midwife and as I grow as a mother, I find that I have a different longing for their wisdom and support. I cherish the stories I have heard of Lena’s life and legacy as a mother and midwife.
Now, at each birth I attend, I am so grateful for the history of women who created a legacy of female healers and of midwives that pushed back against institutionalization of birth. It’s as though at each birth, Lena’s life’s work and spirit is with me.
Written By Jamie Huberty, Jamie is a DONA trained birth doula, placenta encapsulator, and Lamaze trained childbirth educator. She will be taking her Lamaze Certification Exam in October and has attended 3 spinning babies trainings. She is a CPM midwifery student at NMI. You can see Jamie at Blooma in her role as a childbirth educator!