The Midwife

We are made to do this work and it’s not easy…I would say that pain is part of the glory, or the tremendous mystery of life. And that if anything, it’s a kind of privilege to stand so close to such an incredible miracle.
~Simone in Klasson

[staffbio staffname=”Jennifer G. Stewart, LM, CPM, IBCLC” staffimage=”×300.jpg” stafftitle=”Licensed Midwife and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant” staffemail=””]

From the time I was three years old and first felt my unborn brother kick, I was fascinated with babies and the birth process. That evolved into knowledge of, then love for, midwifery, and in 2000 I enrolled in a distance-learning midwifery school. The practice began in 2006, after spending six years in formal training and apprenticeship with local midwives. Through the last 13 years, many unique situations have presented themselves, including twins, breeches, and Vaginal Births After Cesarean (VBACs). As a midwife, I strive to maintain high standards, which include participating in community peer review, conferences, workshops, and other routes of continuing education.

Years spent practicing in the rural areas of West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky brought many memorable experiences. Delivering babies by lamplight in numerous Amish homes, going deep into the hills to assist mamas give birth by their firesides, in pools of water, and sometimes in a nest made on their living room floor, sitting at kitchen tables sharing coffee and sweet conversation, all made for a uniquely-varied practice for a midwife to grow in. Many precious friendships were made, and babies brought safely into the world. I was active in the local birthing community, attending meetings and promotional events, and enjoyed a collaborative relationship with several practicing midwives.

In late 2010, I had a renewed interest in pursuing the credential of IBCLC, or International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. The certification process included hours of education through a course taught by the International Board of Lactation Examiners, the compilation of an application that documented my experience, and a written exam. The whole process was concluded in July 2011, and the official certification of IBCLC was given. It has been a privilege to serve the community in that capacity, including teaching regular breastfeeding classes.

In the summer and fall of 2011, in addition to becoming an IBCLC, I became a Certified Professional Midwife through the North American Registry of Midwives, and a California Licensed Midwife through the Challenge Process provided by the National Midwifery Institute. It was an arduous process that was completed in record time, only by the grace of God, and with the addition of new gray hair! In November 2011, the practice in West Virginia was closed to precipitate a move to California. I spent the following year assisting another midwife in her practice, enjoying fabulous opportunities, seeing many babies born, and forging new, sweet relationships with California clients.

The end of 2012 brought some restructuring, and January 2013 welcomed the reopening of the virtual doors of Joy In Birth Midwifery. I am excited to once again serve the local community of birthing and breastfeeding families in the capacity of midwife. [/staffbio]