From Mothers to Midwives and Back to Homebirth

A MODERN MIDWIVES' HISTORY

Journey to Birth is part of a legacy of women caring for women. We attribute our practice to those before us who advocated for better women’s health choices and to the awe-inspiring strength and beauty of women as creators. Our commitment to women and choices in childbirth is our own journey as women, mothers, friends and midwives.

In 1988, Cathy and Susan met after both recently giving birth to children at home. Our first births had both been cesareans. As homebirth mothers, we uncovered a shared passion for women, pregnancy and birth. That passion grew into a commitment to work for change—to give women and families more information and more birth choices.

At the time, few options existed: even the choice to have a licensed midwife in a hospital was not available. We became involved in all things birth related and helped to organize grassroots efforts for positive change locally and nationally. We were part of a movement. 

We headed committees and organizations such as the Childbirth Education Association of Westchester/Putnam (now the Hudson Valley Birth Network) and the Cesarean Prevention Movement (now ICAN). We were on the planning committee for the NYC Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) Conference. We marched for choices in childbirth in Albany, White Plains and Mount Kisco. We hosted and attended birth gatherings glued to the “preachings” of Ina May Gaskin, Michel Odent, and Barbara Katz Rothman.

We taught birth classes, empowering women to know their own bodies and the birth process, to write their own birth-plans and to give birth in upright positions. We founded L.A. Love, one of the first Doula businesses in the Westchester area, when many did not know what doula meant. Our journey continued to become midwives—taking parallel paths through nursing and midwifery school. Becoming a nurse was the only way to practice as a certified midwife in New York State at that time. 

After midwifery school, our lives and careers continued to entwine. Our families vacationed together and holidayed together. We worked together as midwives at Hudson Valley Hospital Center in Cortlandt Manor, New York. Cathy left to join the Danbury Childbearing Center in Connecticut while Susan stayed on at Hudson Valley in private practice. We both gained tremendous experience serving thousands of women and families through pregnancy, childbirth and GYN healthcare.

But we wanted to go back to home birth, to offer a personal experience to birthing families in the area that we live, where no homebirth midwives had an office. In 2013, with our continued commitment to choices in childbirth and combined years of built trust, love and experience, we founded Journey to Birth.