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Practitioners, Staff

Welcoming our new student midwife, Batya!

The cycle of midwifery continues at Thrive. Come the first week of February, we are honored and excited to welcome Batya Friedland into the Thrive family as one of our apprentice midwives. We’ve been smitten with Batya since meeting her and reading her beautiful website (which we encourage you to check out).  Batya is a world traveler, scholar, Rabbi, Buddhist Chaplain, dancer and poet. Our center coordinator Kelly was able to ask Batya a few questions about what gets her going, her visions of life and midwifery care, and what she does to make herself smile. Enjoy!

Kelly: Tell me about the moment you knew you were going to be a midwife?
Batya: 3 1/2 years ago I was in a very challenging point in my life. I had gone so far into the void of experience that I could not feel the meaning of my life. From that place, I received a vision of myself catching a baby. I didn’t even know the phrase ‘catching a baby’. I had never experienced anything like it, and the potency of it was so strong that I knew that is what I am here to do. Without having been to a birth, I enrolled in midwifery school 5 months later.

Kelly: What do you think makes a good midwife and who are the people you have looked up to?
Batya: I believe a midwife is someone who genuinely loves other people, and naturally cares about their well being. Midwives have all different personalities, but beneath the personality we are a beautiful gathering of gatekeepers; a welcome committee of high . A midwife is a witness, and attends to what is needed for the sake of health, happiness, and love. Though a midwife must have excellent self-care, the role itself is to benefit others and truly be of service. Midwives that have impacted my life are Selena Green, Ina May Gaskin, Elizabeth Davis, Terri Nash, and Angelina Martinez Miranda.

Kelly: If you could change one thing about maternity care in the US what would it be?
Batya: The cesarean rate is an emergency for the birth world and humanity. 1/3 births currently in the US are cesarean, and depending on which statistics you consider, only 12% of those are truly medically needed. This is what I would change.

Kelly: Our clients are always excited to know additional skills that our students and staff midwives have. Tell us about your skills outside of attending births?
Batya: I am a rabbi and buddhist chaplain, and am also an energy healing practitioner. I speak Spanish, Mandarin, Hebrew and Thai, and also offer placenta preparation and birth related ceremony. I also bring the skill of humor!

Kelly: Tell me how you make yourself happy when you are not at a birth.
Batya: I’m singing! I’m drumming! I’m communing with the ocean, I’m hiking. I’m playing the shruti box, my ukulele, writing poetry, and leading meditation retreats. I’m involved in a ritual somewhere. And overall loving my life.unnamed

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Practitioners, Staff, Thrive Birth Center Blog

Meet The Midwife, an Interview with Bee Lauher

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Brandi Lauher is a Licensed Midwife in California and a CPM (Certified Professional Midwife). She has been working with mothers and their families for 17 years. She is an internationally educated and home birth apprentice trained midwife. She has traveled to Mexico, Vanuatu, Costa Rica, Uganda, South Africa and Indonesia to explore, educate, serve and volunteer as a midwife and educator. Brandi is passionate about natural birth, cultural diversity, mother/baby bonding and international midwifery. She has also been trained as an EMT ( Emergency Medical Technician). Bee is one of the midwives at Thrive so we sat down to talk to Bee about her calling into midwifery, hospital versus birth centers and home birth, the affect of media on birth culture and more.

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How did you become a midwife?

My calling to midwifery began in 1997 in Taos, New Mexico. I went to my fist birth in August of that year and was amazed at the incredible ability of a woman’s body. Powerful, raw, emotional passionate and unbelievably strong. Midwifery and birth drew me in. I went to births for years as a doula, supporting mama’s through their labor until I finally gained the courage to dive into my formal midwifery training. After that, it has been a non stop journey of gestation, transformation and birth!

What are the major differences between birthing in a hospital or birth center?

I have had the privilege to deliver babies in a variety of settings and countries. I have experienced birth in  the most rural of setting with no water or electricity, to the most high tech hospitals. The biggest difference that I have witnessed in the amount of constant distraction and interruption in the hospital setting. There are so many people coming in and out of the birthing room, interrupting the laboring woman during contractions and disrupting her natural and normal progression of labor. It’s pretty amazing that  it takes only 2 midwives at Thrive to accomplish the same task that is takes 6-8 providers to do in a hospital. Birth Center Midwives are trained in all aspects of primary care from conception through the postpartum period and beyond.

What advice do you have for a first time mom trying to decide where to birth?

I tell all the women and families that interview me or have questions about where to birth, that by far, the safest place for a woman to give birth is where she feels the safest and most comfortable. You have to trust your intuition on this one.

Who are your mentors in the birth world and what did you learn from them?

I have learned from each and every midwife that I have every done a birth with. Some of my best, most profound lessons have been in foreign countries in cultures where we don’t speak even close to the same language. In these birth rooms, I have witnessed and watched the way the mysterious magic of birth happens regardless of race, religion, color or any other difference we may have. Birth is a human right in it’s most raw form!

A midwife that I have looked up to and admired is Jennie Joseph. She has worked for years making midwifery care accessible to women from all socioeconomic backgrounds, and believes every woman has the right to have a midwife at her birth.

If you could change one thing about birth culture, what would it be?

I would love to change the way social media and television have portrayed birth to be. It has become a scary, fearful, painful thing that women dread to do. Women have been set up to fail in the main stream medical model of care.

I would love to see more healthy, empowering birth stories being promoted and shared.

What are the major misconceptions that you hear about midwives and how do you address them?

I have been working as a home birth midwife for the last 1o years before coming to work at Thrive. I think the least understood aspect of home birth is that the midwives who offer that service are highly skilled and medically trained primary care providers. We offer all the same testing and birth options that a hospital does, minus pain medication, while providing complete continuity of care.