Last weekend, fifteen student midwives graduated from Birthwise in an intimate, on-campus ceremony. Hailing from seven U.S. states and three Canadian provinces, this diverse group of all-female graduates will go on to practice midwifery in private practices and birth centers across the United States and Canada.

As these accomplished women begin their post-graduate journeys, they stopped to reflect on their future plans and on the years they spent as Birthwise students. Their advice to current and future students includes, prominently, to always honor the magic of birth and to care for the self alongside caring for pregnant women and mothers.

Melissa Agro

Melissa Agro is from Yarmouth, ME. She opened a practice in the Portland area with fellow graduate Ariel Bernstein called Port City Midwives. She plans to develop the home birth practice in Portland and the surrounding areas and eventually open a birth center in Portland, ME.

Robyn Berman

Robyn Berman is from Halifax, NS, Canada. Future plan: practice midwifery!!

Enjoy your time as a student and take every learning opportunity you can get!

Ariel Bernstein

Ariel Bernstein is from Portland, ME. She started a midwifery practice in Portland called Port City Midwives.

Midwifery school is not just an education.  It is a journey through everything you didn’t know you could do, that you didn’t believe you were capable of. Just a being a midwife is not a job – it’s a calling. There is no work on this earth more important than welcoming new life with love and peace.

Maya Bialy

Maya Bialy is from Montreal, QC, Canada. She plans to do the bridging program at Ryerson University in Toronto and become a registered midwife in Canada.

Just like they say it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a lot of support from friends, family, teachers and preceptors for a midwife to blossom.

Emily Bowler

Emily Bowler is from Somerville, MA. She plans to set up a midwifery practice in the Boston area.

Molly Burke

Molly Burke is from Vermont. She is currently wrapping up her time working in an intimate practice in Middlebury, VT, which she has been part of for two years. After this, the future is a beautiful mystery involving acquiring her certification through NARM, making ample time to rejuvenate and rest and, ultimately, creating a sweet collaborative alternative health care/home birth practice tucked in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

The best advice that I can offer to future students is to make the practice of self-care a priority amidst your studies. It will serve you inexpressively and sustain you through the inevitable stresses and hardships that accompany this rewarding and magnificent path. 

Morgan Gaines

Morgan Gaines is from Wells, ME on the southern seacoast. She worked for two years at a birth center in New Hampshire, then switched to the home birth practice where she has been apprenticing for the last two years. Her future plan is to open a small home birth practice in her current town, where home birth midwives are sparse and needed.

Push through midwifery school like it’s transition. It’s hard and intense and it may make you puke, but in the end the reward is great!!

Tiffany Hoffman

Tiffany Hoffman is from Reno, Nevada, where she runs the Sacred Space Midwifery & Holistic Health practice. She hopes to help push midwifery regulation forward in Nevada, which remains the only western state where it is unregulated.

Tiffany is also building a program that educates nurses and doctors on how to care for childbearing women with abuse, assault, and trauma histories. She also counsels pregnant women with birth trauma.

Tiffany sits on the Washoe county sex education committee, whose aim is to update sex-ed curriculums from abstinence-only to evidence-based.

Juggling midwifery school as a single mother was a huge part of Tiffany’s journey as a student and a midwife.

Elizabeth Ormond

Elizabeth Ormond is from Hamilton, ON, Canada. She did the practicum portion of her training in Seattle, WA and recently returned from a hospital placement in Kathmandu, Nepal. She plans on going through Ontario’s bridging program next year and practicing midwifery in Canada.

The words of wisdom I have to share upon reflection on my midwifery journey are as follows: Aut Viam Inveniam Aut Faciam – I shall either find a way or make one.

Mellissa (Mell) Pulsifer

Mellissa (Mell) Pulsifer is from Harpswell, ME. She plans to open a home birth practice in Brunswick or Bath, ME this fall. She would eventually like to have a midwifery partner and an expanded practice.

Self-care is the most important thing you can do for your midwifery practice. Eat, sleep, and hydrate. Create a support system.  

“Life is always a rich and steady time when you are waiting for something to happen or to hatch.” -EB White

Kate Richmond

Kate Richmond is from Tacoma, WA. She looks forward to returning to western Washington and opening a small home birth practice.

Through all the sleepless nights and hard work, always keep a smile and never forget that birth is magic.

Heather Robinson

Heather Robinson is from Detroit, MI. She plans to be recognized as one of the community midwives in Detroit. She would love to ride her bike to her clients’ homes and encounter them and their families at the park, along the Riverwalk or at the open air, fresh produce market in downtown Detroit, Eastern Market. She wants to train women in her community to become midwives and to serve their neighbors.

Soak up all the wonderful knowledge and sisterhood Birthwise has to offer while you are there learning and really utilize the staff in times of need. They are a great resource.

Kara Schamell

Kara Schamell is from Boston, MA. She is launching a home birth and gynecologic care practice with fellow graduate Emily Bowler, who is from her Birthwise cohort.

Birthwise is magical. Not a moment is to be taken for granted during your time as a student here :).

Christian Toscano

Christian Toscano is from Western, MA. She is currently working at Monadnock Birth Center in Swanzey, NH, where she will continue to practice after graduation.

Nothing can possibly prepare you for what lays ahead in your preceptorship and path to becoming a midwife. You must have faith in physiologic birth and trust that you are guided into experiences, birth rooms, and involved with clients that will all challenge and teach you something about yourself and inform who will become as a midwife. Remember to reach out to your midwifery community for support and take time for self care. This is the hardest work you will ever do, but also the most rewarding.

Rachel Voigt Rachel Voigt is from West Bend, WI and did her preceptorship in Minneapolis, MN. She will be joining a home birth practice in Duluth, MN at the end of the summer as a staff midwife.

Advice for future students: have a solid support system, practice suturing, and you can do more than you realize.