From the beginning, the students in the newest community cohort impressed us with their dedication to the practice of midwifery, their optimism, and their desire to do good in their communities. Here are a few powerful excerpts from their applications.

Inspired by these quotes? Birthwise is currently accepting applicants for the next midwifery program cohort. Learn more about the program and apply today!


Taryn Assaf
“I’d like to bring my skills as a midwife to the rural community where my mother lives, where there are, to my knowledge, currently no midwives. There are still great disparities in maternal-child health in Canada, specifically among rural, remote and Northern communities. Midwives are in the unique position to truly make a difference in a family’s life, and I would like to do that with pregnant people and families who need the extra support for the chance at a loving family of their own, so that they, too, can follow the whispers of their dreams.”

Ashley Bennett

“I feel called to this work because I believe we could change the world one empowered mother and child at a time. I feel called to this work every time I walk in a delivery room as a doula and want to be the midwife. I feel called to this work every time I read about the maternal death rates in minority populations in contrast to white women….I hope to use my small fraction of time and space to make a mark as someone who saw a problem and didn’t just complain about it, didn’t just pray for it to get better, but pulled my sleeves back, and did something about it.”


Lisa Cirello

“Educating women causes a ripple effect. As each woman shares her satisfying birth story with her friends and community, she will guide other women toward midwifery care. This in turn will result in more births with fewer interventions, encouraging a more natural progression to labor and birth.”


Morgan Goodwin

“I would love to provide a safe, nurturing atmosphere where mothers can seek their natural, out-of-hospital birth when a home birth is not an option. Down the road, I have dreams of opening a birth center in central Maine. Currently the closest freestanding birth center is over an hour away. More and more women are deciding to have a natural birth experience and my hope is to help facilitate that.”


Sasha Gooldrup

“When I begin work as a midwife I want to reintroduce confidence and power in birth and reeducate people on its importance. I want to grow strong connections and relationships with women through their pregnancy that only grow stronger during the intimate birth of their child. I want to guide and care for them through the ups and downs of the postpartum period and make sure when we wrap up our time together that they are in a good place.”


Johanna Grimes

“As I consider my future as a midwife, I often think about the community I will be serving. I currently live in rural northern Michigan in a county with no perinatal care providers….I dream of opening a birth center here in Benzie county that would not only fill this gap in care but also provide education, outreach and support for women and their families throughout their childbearing years. Additionally, as a nurse, I see just how taxed our healthcare system is. I believe that in the future birth will go back to the home simply because there will be no room at the inn, so to speak. I want to be ready to provide care to women in their childbearing years at a time when having a baby at home might be the only option.”


Lara Izzo

“I see myself in 5 years either as a homebirth midwife in a private practice or running a freestanding birth center somewhere on the East Coast, because I’ve so enjoyed the intimacy and community feel of the small town where I currently live. I would love to continue practicing in a similar setting. My ultimate goal is becoming a midwife to create an environment in which women feel safe and supported during the most special moment of the life.”


Jaclyn Karnoff

“I have known for years that my purpose in life is to support women through pregnancy and childbirth. I believe my knowledge and compassion will help make a difference in their experiences and lives. Birth is an amazing phenomenon. We are capable of performing this incredible feat that every mother should have the chance to experience if she wants that.”


Ivyrose Lopez

“My goals once I am a practicing midwife are to be able to establish a practice where I feel I can be of service to my community while supporting my family as well. I look forward to setting up a practice that can be a community gather place for families and birth workers alike so that as a larger whole we can work to improve our local maternal health care options and care. I hope to be able to do some service work possibly with Midwife Pilgrim to help in maternal health crisis situations globally.”


Malisa McClure

“As a midwife, it will be my lifelong duty and mission to provide respectful, compassionate, and evidence-based care to all birthing people who feel their needs will not be served by a system which requires them to play by a certain set of rules, regardless of their circumstance, health, and needs. I will work in partnership with doctors and hospitals, but not for them. I will work for birthing people, first and foremost.”


Emmy Nadav

“I feel that being a midwife and being with women during the time of pregnancy and birth is an extension of my interest in returning to ancestral skills and traditions. I love the idea of birth as an experience that connects women to all of the women who have come before them, to all who will come after them, to all animals, to all life.”


Mercedes Reifsnider

“As a midwife, I imagine being able to create an amazing and personal experience with each of the women and couples that I will work with. I would like nothing more than to help women follow their chosen path and realize their full power and potential. It is my dream to have a career that helps women with their reproductive health, pregnancies, postpartum health, and most of all bringing their beautiful children into this world.”


Kristie Simko

“My interest in birth and midwifery has been integral in my own healing and reclamation of the real me – which has also meant aligning with a sense of purpose and service in the world. I feel I am on this path to help others heal and to be a safe haven for the sacred passages of pregnancy and birth and to support the growth of healthy families.”


Andrea Wilson

“When I imagine myself as a practicing midwife, I envision caring for women and families in my home community, probably alongside fellow CPMs. I envision a bustling practice, our community well educated and informed about the benefits of birth with a CPM….At some point, I’d like to take my skills abroad to an underserved population of women. Safe pregnancy and birth should be a basic human right. I closely follow Midwives for Haiti, and it would be a high honor to some day serve in that capacity.”


Brianna Yost

“I am on this path to change the lives of the women that come after me, and to strengthen them in the way that I have been provided strength. I believe the prenatal and birthing medical model is failing the female race, with C-section rates at 1:3 and one of the highest infant mortality rates in first-world countries. It changes with women like me, devoted to make a change.”


Emily Zitka

“My area hospital has a cesarean rate of 40%. 40%!! What is happening in that hospital that they feel the need to cut babies out of 40% of women? Then I began to realize that it’s not just the hospitals “fault.” Many women go into birth with false, misguided, or no information at all. Therefore, I am on this path. I see the problem and I want to help solve this problem through education and positive examples.”


Learn more about the community midwifery option. Apply to join this year’s cohort.