Category Archives: Taking Back Birth

In this episode of Taking Back Birth, I talk about my own journey through apprenticeship... from being a midwife by the numbers to becoming a midwife of the heart.

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  • Thank you for a wonderful telling of your story thus far! Unfortunately, I am in an area that is rich in 'elder' and experienced midwives, but they are NOT interested in teaching, the best way to describe what they seem to want is 'worship'. They have, time and time and time again made it clear that THEY are the Elder, The Wise, The Queen Midwives and who the hell do you think you are to think for yourself? Tote my bags, Birth Sherpa, sit at my feet and worship. I will tell you when you speak. And this is how they treat grown-ass women! Some who (like me) are their age!(no age is it justified)

    I even had one say, when I asked why she became a midwife, "I guess for the prestige." Holy freakin' cow.

    Because of this I was 'forced' to travel the country to 'get my numbers'. Because, right now the way it is---NO it is not about 'the numbers' but you DO have to HAVE numbers IF you want to get your CPM--those of us wanting to serve women in our communities, especially in states like mine that are not regulated etc-we are nothing as far as the State is concerned=we have little to no choices. So, I am 'done' with numbers and ready to sit for The Test. Yes, I am already taking clients, but in the manner you describe: I am with them, in their community, in their lives.
    Keep it up, Maryn!

  • I appreciate your comment! We all have such varied experiences. As you know, those "sort" of elders has not been my experience but I have certainly heard that that can be the case. As hard as it may be, midwives of the younger (not elder) generation are having to choose between that old and the New paradigm. I believe this means forging a different path, as best we can, keeping what served us but discarding the rest. Take what resonates with you and share it!
    As for the numbers, yes, I do understand and I am still a CPM as I shared. I do not support regulation or licensing however and believe there IS another way to do things, staying heart centered, wise, skilled and with integrity.

  • Wonderful! Many years ago my wife and I had an unassisted birth on an uninhabited island in the Indian Ocean (see “Island Born” by Frank Burnaby). We wholeheartedly believed that birth is a process that can not only be trusted, but that can empower and bond a family, serving an important developmental role in experiencing ourselves as human beings.

  • Ginger Cullen


    Thank you for this podcast, i thoroughly enjoyed it. What is your recommended route to become a midwife? I lean away from the nurse midwife route, i was planning on attending a high birth birth center program but after hearing your take am leaning against that as well. I am in WA if that helps.

  • Hey Ginger!
    Thanks for your support; it is really encouraging to hear of people like you being so thoughtful in their approach to this complicated subject. Feel free to email me, I'd love to hear from you. Love, Maryn

  • Amanda

    This is just what I needed at just the right time. I have felt this "calling" but I keep telling myself it's not the right time in my life to follow it and making excuses. But hearing this last night reminded me it doesn't have to be all or nothing. I can start now and follow my heart and don't have to be 'full-time" or worry about the numbers. If I really want to make this life shift, I can simply start now, by setting my intentions and heart in that direction. Thank you! Sending love and thankfulness - Amanda

  • Yes, Amanda! It is a lot harder sometimes to create our own path, rather than follow the pre determined one. Courage and wisdom to you!

  • Amanda

    I listened to this last night. The right words at the right time for my heart. I have been ignoring "the call" I feel to this world because it's "not the right time" and making other silly excuses, when in reality, I don't have to change my path overnight. Just because I can't do this "full-time" or attend X amount of classes/discussions/hours/births doesn't mean I can explore and let my heart lead the way. Thank you, thank you. Sending love and gratefulness.

  • Thank you Maryn, you are speaking my heart, telling my story and validating my experience here.

  • Tierra Salmon

    I am really loving this. My apprenticeship fell into my lap as well. The apprenticeship model for learning was really attractive to me because of the fluidity that it would create, and it just feels like the right way. I am a really good auditory and kinesthetic learner so learning through the type of apprenticeship model you talk about here just really made sense to me.

    However, I have felt a lot of pressure from my peers and elders to go to school. For me it is going less of an organic way but a way that will get me my piece of paper here where I can get my numbers and I plan on training under traditional midwives later. I have a great yearning for going to apprentice with Indigenous Midwives. I know I will not feel that my education is going to be as full and rich until I do that. My fathers family, who I identify most closely with culturally, is from Panama and Colombia. I dream of the day I can follow some Traditional Midwives either in Panama or Colombia or both. The paper is less important to me in a lot of ways than the experience I will have with Traditional Midwives.

    I love the way you define Midwife, how and when one becomes a midwife, the knowing what we are to know when we are to know it. Also, I am so checking out the Wise Woman Circle!!!

    This was really refreshing to listen to. I think there is a struggle as a student midwife who feels so called to Traditional Midwifery in a society that validates competence and worth on credentialing. Then to be a woman of color on top of that I often feel like my dreams, ideals and how I identify are so foreign to the community around me. This was really affirming to hear your journey and I appreciate you sharing all of it with us!

In this episode of Taking Back Birth, I talk about the clues I see that show the end of midwifery regulation is near.

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  • Bronwyn

    Very exciting! I have a question about the state law to monitor labor with vaginal exams. What is the "or else" of the law? What happens when a woman refuses? Is the midwife obligated to transfer care or simply document something happening AMA or what? Who is in trouble? I can't picture how such a law is enforced.

  • Great question, Bronwyn. Sadly, the midwife can have any or all of her charts audited at any time, especially when she is under investigation by the State either randomly or because of a complaint or outcome. If her charts are audited, the decks begin to be stacked for removal of her license. Any deviation from the rules and regs (mandatory vaginal exams in labor included) are ground for being fined, disciplined or again, having the license revoked.

In this episode of Taking Back Birth, hear the freebirth story of a woman who ignored "everyone" but herself.

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  • Ginga Newton

    I loved Siri's story! Thank you for sharing and having it broadcasted. I have a question, how supportive was your husband with the freebirth? I'm interested in having a birth on my own and for me it is something easy to grasp, but my husband hasn't been exposed to anything but hospital births, and is struggling with the idea.

In this episode of Taking Back Birth, I talk with Canadian birthkeeper, Yolande Clark, about how the changing midwifery regulations are affecting YOUR birth.

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In this episode of Taking Back Birth, I talk with Melissa Mclarty about the Metaphysics of Birth.

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  • Claudia

    Hi. Im from South Africa.
    My seven month old daughter was a natural breech delivery. I was primigravida. We were a awesome team and I had no doubts that it can be done. It was an uncomplicated birth. Apgar 7/9. 11hr I was fully dilated. It was bum on perineum for 10min. At 11:10 I started pushing, and 8min there after she was born. It was hands of breech on a birth chair.
    I saw the post on facebook of the breech delivery and I was excited to share Ive done it too.