In December of 2004, I had a homebirth with my son Leo in rural Montville, Maine. It was a powerful, life-changing and transformative experience . Through this experience and the support of the professional midwives who attended me I developed a faith in myself–and birth–that I had never known before. It changed not only how I saw my body but how I viewed the world. I knew that most women in the US did not have this kind of birth experience.
As I learned more about the mainstream maternity system, I came to understand that it was under-serving women and their babies. Of all developed nations, the US ranks 41st in the world in regards to maternal mortality with similarly dismal rankings in regards to infant mortality. In 2010, the Center for Disease Control reported the national rate of Cesarean Section rose to almost 33%, following a trend of a steady increase in this procedure.
Prior to the birth of my son, I had been working as a filmmaker and educator; after my homebirth experience, I felt compelled to create films that would help educate women and their partners about birth options, including the choice to have a homebirth and access midwifery care. I wanted to challenge marginalizing perceptions about these choices and participate in a social justice movement aimed at transforming the way the US sees and does birth.
I am also adjunct Women’s Studies faculty at the University of Maine.
In my free time I garden, row, bike, do yoga and romp around with my son Leo (now 8!).