Mary Lawlor – CPM, LM, NHCM, MA
In addition to being the founder, owner and clinical director at the Monadnock Birth Center, Mary is the executive director of the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives (NACPM). She was a founder of NACPM in 2000 and served as president of the board for over a decade. Mary is a passionate advocate for midwives and for improving maternity care for all people, while working toward eliminating the unconscionable racial inequities in birth outcomes in the U.S. Mary has been a respected local and national leader and policy strategist for the last two decades and leads in shaping the policy agenda for NACPM in support of these goals.
As a midwife since 1981, Mary has had the honor of attending hundreds of births with families in our community for over three decades. As the founder and owner of the Monadnock Birth Center, she enjoys offering the kind of personal care and necessary time to people that is not typically available to women receiving hospital care. This includes hour-long prenatal visits where women and their midwives get to know each other, and where women and their families can define what is most important to them for their care and their births.
For most of these years Mary has been a homebirth midwife, where she has spent many, many hours of assisting new mothers while they gave birth to their babies away from the often-unnecessary interventions that can occur in hospitals. In 2008 she was able to fulfill a long-time dream of adding a birth center to her practice. Mary believes in the free-standing birth center model, which offers those who would not choose to stay home for their births, the kind of time-intensive and personal care that is the hallmark of community midwives.
Mary studied midwifery in 1980-81 at The Maternity Center in El Paso, Texas; a free- standing birth center operated by midwives and a training center and school for midwives. She is a nationally Certified Professional Midwife (CPM), and is licensed as a midwife in both Vermont and New Hampshire. Mary graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Washington, DC. and earned a master’s degree in counseling from Lesley University in Boston. She has been active in successful legislative efforts to license community midwives in both Vermont and New Hampshire, and she serves as a Midwife Adviser to the Office of Professional Regulation in the Vermont Secretary of State’s Office, helping to oversee and support the practice of midwifery in the state.
In 1976, Mary gave birth to her daughter at home before community midwives were widely available. In 2005 and 2008, she was privileged to be the midwife for her grandchildren’s births at her home in Putney, VT. In addition to her love of being a midwife, she is also deeply committed to increasing access for all women across the country to high-quality maternity care in homes and free-standing birth centers, knowing that women often experience much better outcomes in community settings than in hospitals.
Bethany Witten – Midwife, CPM, LM, NHCM
Bethany is a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM), New Hampshire Certified Midwife (NHCM), and Vermont Licensed Midwife (LM) who was born and raised in southern Ontario, Canada and lives in a tiny house in Alstead, NH. She began her training by volunteering as a doula in Ontario and spending time as an intern at a busy birth center in El Paso TX. She then enrolled at Birthwise Midwifery School in Maine to complete her formal training and apprenticed to many rural home and birth center midwives there. She then finished her clinical rotations at the Birth Cottage of Milford, in New Hampshire. She earned her NH license in January of 2015 and has been serving birthing families in this state ever since.
Bethany’s primary goal as a midwife is to provide families with everything they need to make confident decisions and feel respected and cared for in their experience of pregnancy, birth and parenting a newborn.
When not in the office or at a birth, Bethany can be found knitting, brewing herbal salves and remedies, growing organic vegetables, hiking mountains, and caring for her small flock of ducks and her two young children.
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Tonia Bowman – Midwife, CNM, APRN
Since 1995, Toni has been inspired to provide care and support for women throughout their childbearing years. She began her midwifery studies as an apprentice with direct-entry midwives both locally, and in Pennsylvania’s Amish and Mennonite communities. In 2001, after completing her nursing degree, she began working as a maternal child health nurse in the hospital and for various community agencies, providing prenatal and postpartum support for mothers and babies, as well as childbirth education. In 2008, following the birth of her third child she became involved with the Monadnock Birth Center, as both a childbirth educator and assistant to Mary Lawlor, CPM. Last March she completed her master’s degree in nursing from Frontier Nursing University as a certified nurse-midwife. Toni has worked with women from all walks of life, an experience she credits with providing her the opportunity to offer clients empathetic care that is respectful of their individual circumstances. She is excited to once again be working at the Monadnock Birth Center, providing both maternity and wellness care, as well as childbirth education for women seeking a holistic, realistic approach to their health.
Rebecca Price-Wood – Midwife, CPM, LM, NHCM
I have been a midwife at the births of over 300 mama-baby pairs. It seems unfathomable to me that this could be true, because this means I have known, cared for, learned from, and have been shaped by these six hundred… and hundreds more family members.
Here are some things I have learned about life and birth in my over ten years as a midwife and student midwife:
- Women, seemingly always in service to others, have endless abilities when others are in service to them.
- Babies are smart and I’ve been amazed ever since I was trained to listen.
- Given all the information, women in my practice always make the best decisions for their families.
- When the laboring partner is supported, a kind of trust is possible which creates a brand new, luscious family dynamic.
- Birth is awesome, but rarely baffling. Prenatal care optimally managed by the client and midwife is the most control a person can have over their own birth.
- I am one of the most fortunate people I know.
Postpartum care has comprised a large part of my continuing education. I have published works on the value of familial relationships as they inform postpartum psychological well-being, and I have also written works about the Maternal Mediation Hypothesis (how early maternal care and touch can have lifelong effects on the offspring’s nervous system.) Other research interests are prenatal epigenetics, effects of vitamin D deficiency in mothers and babies, and ketogenic diet during pregnancy.
I hold bachelor’s degrees in both Interpersonal Communications and Biology. I have two teenage daughters, Elizabeth, whose birth awoke me to the crisis of gender inequality in obstetric care, and Lucy, whose home birth revealed to me the calling of midwifery. I also am the mother of two young sons, Ezra and Baxter, who were both also born at home into the hands of midwives. My husband is a professor of literature and French, and occasionally teaches childbirth classes with me. We all live in Chester, Vermont
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Katie O’Day – Midwife, CPM, LM, NHCM
of my own firstborn daughter in 2001. The empowering experience of birthing her into the hands of my midwife opened my eyes to the amazing strength of birth and instilled in me a lifelong awe that was contagious. Though I was raised by a pediatric nurse and general practice surgeon, I had never heard of midwifery until I was pregnant myself.
Realizing that birth work was my calling, I left my background in art and marketing and trained with my husband to become Bradley Method childbirth educators. This quickly led to becoming a lactation educator and birth doula, attending families in hospitals, homes and birth centers. However, it was the experience of giving birth to my son in my own bedroom in 2002, that catapulted me into the path of midwifery. After seven years of midwifery school, I graduated from the National Midwifery Institute in Vermont and passed my NARM exam to become a nationally certified midwife in 2008.
My national certification opened the door for me to become a licensed midwife. I began my career working at The Sanctuary Birth & Family Wellness Center in California (the one featured in “More Business of Being Born”). There, I had the delightful opportunity to work within a team of midwives (Racha Tahani Lawler, Aleksandra Evanguelidi and MollyJarchow) and one obstetrician, Dr. Stuart Fischbein, who championed out of hospital birth choices. From The Sanctuary, I learned the importance of midwifery care provided within a healthy group setting. This allows midwives to provide client care while modeling the health and self-care they preach about. The family I found at The Sanctuary was amazing and supportive and it was one of the things I missed most when I moved to to my husband’s home state of New Hampshire in 2013. I looked far and wide for another group to work with in New England. Reluctantly, I founded Sacred Transitions Midwifery alone, embracing the duty of a rural community midwife. After taking that little leap, I was blessed to finally find Rebecca Price-Wood, a sister midwife to partner with me in birthing the idea of a sustainable group practice here.
I have attended over 650 deliveries and have been involved in over a thousand births. I have been honored to support families of all walks of life and have supported a wide variety of choices and identities. I have sought additional education in cultural competency, vaginal birth after cesarean, phytotherapy, supporting abuse survivors who birth, and various Sacred Living Movement modalities.
More recently, I’ve become passionate about the need to balance the prenatal and postpartum care that midwives provide. As a result, our practice incorporates the practice of Nourishing Traditions into every client’s care. As a result, we’ve seen a drastic drop in postpartum depression rates and an increase in breastfeeding and bonding within the family.
In my spare time I enjoy hiking, foraging, studying phytotherapy, writing and painting. But most of all, I love spending time with my husband and two teenagers in Fitzwilliam, NH.
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Sarah Bay – Midwife, CNM, APRN
Sarah is a Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) and Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) licensed in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
Sarah has wanted to be a midwife for as long as she can remember. It’s not a stretch to say her journey into midwifery began with her own home birth in the Netherlands, where the majority of births still take place at home with the support of a midwife. As a child, she thought all babies were born at home, only later to learn from friends and classmates how unique her home birth was.
Her roots in New Hampshire run deep. She attended Pine Hill Waldorf School and graduated from ConVal High School before attending the University of New Hampshire, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Sarah lives locally in the Monadnock Region, where most of her family still resides.
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Abbey Schoenfeld – Office Manager
After having her first child at home with no midwife in 1973, Abbey decided to become a midwife. With no birth centers, midwives were few and far between in those days and women had to fight to have natural births. Abbey went to a lay midwifery school in 1977 and practiced into the 80’s.
Abbey met Mary in 1983 and began assisting her at births. This began their long and very dear friendship. Mary was also the midwife for the birth of Abbey’s fourth child.
In 1995, she moved to S. India to the international township of Auroville, and helped train village healthcare workers in prenatal care. She also taught midwifery skills to a few village women who were helping at births.
Abbey has been back in Vermont since 2013, and now has the good fortune to work with Mary again in her beautiful birth center.