It’s 2020 and I am officially a student midwife!
I also mentioned I’d share the story of how this is full circle for me so I’m sharing it here, with all of you, first.
In 2007 our oldest son, Terryn, was born. To avoid making this into a birth story I will keep it to this; the experience was not ideal, was disconnected and mostly unsupported, and I came out of it wanting different for others. I decided I wanted to be a midwife.
In 2008 I sat in one of my classes for the nursing program in preparation to become a certified nurse midwife. I was frustrated with the program and felt I was learning to medicate people rather than help people get healthy. It wasn’t for me.
I started studying Kyle’s chiropractic material more than my nursing work. I began to see the physical body as a puzzle to be solved in order to teach people to be truly well. My mom joked that I would be “the chiropractor’s wife” that had my kids at home. I told her she was crazy.
In 2010 I started chiropractic school and Terri Payne was the doula for our second birth. Terryn attended his first birth– It was the beginning of me #unlearning my perceptions of birth. That same year, I became a doula.
I had the best of both worlds as a chiropractor and a doula.
In 2011 we lost a baby and it felt like our whole world stopped for a bit. I realized how invincible to miscarriage I thought I was, subconsciously. We heard so many ridiculous comments trying to minimize our loss and were also held in love by a lot of close friends, a few family members, and mostly our two little boys.
In 2012 we had our third son, Laken, at home in Davenport, Iowa. Terryn attended his second birth, Canon his first, and Kyle caught his baby for the first time.
In 2013 I graduated from Palmer College, we opened Coulee Health, and I traveled to Prague for DNS where I was immersed in therapies for treating core and pelvic floor dysfunction. There, I began #unlearning the aesthetic based core care and postpartum care of the United States.
In 2014 I recorded the Functional Progression (click HERE for a good laugh and the previous link for quality instruction) and began teaching others how to heal core and pelvic floor dysfunction long term. As more and more people began to use this tool, emotional and physical obstacles were overcome.
In 2016 we had our fourth son, Maclin. Terryn attended his third birth, Canon attended his second and cut the umbilical cord for the first time, and Laken attended his first birth.
In 2017 I began traveling around the country teaching birth workers and rewriting what collaborative care can look like for those in the parenthood transition. I was unlearning that birth workers only attend birth and ulearning that I was “too small” to make changes in the system.
In 2018 in a reiki appointment, Shannon mentioned chiropractic being a stepping stone. It was really hard for me to hear, mostly because I had been feeling that but resisting the possibility of it being true. [What an expensive f*^$ing stone!]
In 2019 I sat at the Wisconsin Women’s Health Advocacy Summit where I learned that our state is one of the worst in the nation for black women to give birth. It isn’t safe for all women to birth here. I learned that our maternal mortality rate is 5x higher for black women than white women. One woman, a lawyer, stood in front of the group and shared that she, as a black woman with a graduate degree, was 5x more likely to die during childbirth than a 19 year old uneducated white woman, strictly due to the color of her skin. In 2007 I was that pregnant 19 year old white woman.
In 2019 I also began Full Spectrum Doula training through Sabia Wade to unlearn what DONA had taught me about being a doula and instead began learning inclusion, seeing racism and privilege in birth work, and learning what it means to truly hold space for all choices and experiences.
Again, in 2019, I began my work with Shelli Lawrence and have since worked to unlearn the stories I have attached to myself, gotten really curious about who I am, what I stand for, and how I want to show up in the world. A continuous journey, for sure.
Earlier this year I left BIRTHFIT, a company I helped build with people who helped shape me. I registered and studied for months for the MCAT that I was scheduled to take at the end of March. COVID changed that and gave me time to process how I really wanted to help bring babies earthside.
Since, I have been focusing on myself, our family, our business, and have arrived full circle to pursuing my dream of being a midwife. I now understand how my frustration with nursing school was for me.
This wasn’t a wrong turn or long way around. This is the path I needed to become the midwife I want to be. Nursing school wasn’t the “hoop” I needed to jump through to become a midwife.
I needed chiropractic school and a decade of birth experience as a doula, exposure to my privilege and the crisis in maternal health, especially for black women. To see my sisters become mothers and my best friends birth in and out of the hospital. To support people birthing firsts and fourth babies in the middle of a pandemic. To wonder if I have what it takes. To hold people during times of loss and hold space for all that parenthood delivers.
It is time for me to share my passion with the world in this way.
My work as a doula for the past decade, education and experience as a chiropractor and movement specialist, and complete passion for birth will allow me to provide a different experience. One that I hope all humans will have access to.
If you’ve made it this far you may have even more questions so I’ll give you this; yes I will still be seeing chiropractic patients, yes I will still be doing doula work, and yes I will let you know when I begin accepting birth clients in which the aforementioned will likely change!
Peace and love,
Erica Boland, DC, Doula, Student Midwife