Jackie Griggs, CNM, has been a Nurse Midwife in the Houston area for the past 30 years. She is a mom of five sons, three born at home with the help of midwives. She owns two birth centers, one in the Houston Heights and one in Beaumont. She helps with babies at home and birth center. She is also on the Board of Directors of the American Association of Birth Centers.
Dr. Richelle Whittaker is an educational psychologist board certified in perinatal mental health, a parenting coach, trainer, and author. She is devoted to educating, equipping, and empowering women struggling with emotional challenges through pregnancy, postpartum, and parenthood. She is an engaging and interactive speaker combining both her knowledge and personal experience. Her primary goal is to help moms become strong advocates for themselves and their children when it comes to making decisions about their mental health and education.
Afua Hassaine moved to Houston to pursue a career in midwifery. She graduated from the Houston School of Midwifery in 1984. Afua is the founder, owner and licensed midwife of The Birthing Place. The Birthing Place is the only free standing birth center that is owned by and operated by a Black midwife in the city of Houston. Her business is located in the historically African American community of Third Ward. The best services are the homegrown mom and pop businesses and she is proud of it. She believes the mother is the captain, the partner is the co-captain and Afua is the advisor. Being a midwife with over 30 years of experience, she has seen a lot and that is why the client will always choose their path/journey when you are a client of The Birthing Place.
Afua is a member of
- International Center for Traditional Childbearing
- Association of Texas Midwives
- Greater Houston Midwives Alliance
- International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN)
Catrice Harris: Doula, Childbirth Educator, Midwifery Student
African American Midwifery History in recognition of Black History Month
Catrice Harris is a mother and grandmother, who has been supporting families with childbirth education, labor and birth, and lactation support since 1992. Her initial lactation training was through The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and City of Houston WIC programs. Childbirth education came next as she began teaching Lamaze classes to expectant families, birth moms, and adopting parents. In 2012, she began working as a birth and postpartum doula, becoming certified through DONA and ICEA. As a recipient of the BIRTH midwifery scholarship for a woman of color she is now enrolled in the National College of Midwifery, with the goal of sitting for the Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) licensing exam this spring. She teaches parenting education classes at the Woman’s Hospital of Texas and is apprenticing with Stephanie Palacio at Bay Area Community Birth Center. Having supported over 300 women with the birth of their babies, and countless more with breastfeeding, she is truly grateful that this work found her!
Marya Axner has spent the past 30 years as an activist working against oppression of all kinds. Recently she has been working to address the climate emergency and ending societal divisions that hamper solving this challenge. She also works as a parent educator. She speaks and leads workshops on the topic of anti-Semitism and racism on college campuses, at social justices organizations, and at worker organizations. Fifteen years ago she was the director of a parents program in the Somerville Public Schools, supporting parents to be involved in their children’s education. She has worked as a multicultural consultant for a collaborative of schools near Boston. Marya worked in the education department of the Jewish Women’s Archive where she wrote curricula about Jewish women’s history. She has also worked for the nonprofit Everyday Democracy, which encourages people to have small group discussions that lead to lasting change. More recently, she was the director of the New England Jewish Labor Committee, where she organized the Jewish Community to stand up with workers for their rights.
Marya Axner has taught listening skills through the Sustaining All Life/United to End Racism projects, of Re-Evaluation Counseling. Sustaining all Life is an international grassroots organization working to end the climate emergency within the context of ending all divisions among people. United to End Racism is group of people of all backgrounds in many countries who are dedicated to eliminating racism in the world.
Meg Duggan is 33 years old and gave birth to her first child named Madeline at home, right in the middle of the pandemic, in May of 2020. Meg is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, and works as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). She was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, but moved to Houston with her husband Matthew in 2016. Her biggest passion is helping other people. She enjoys cooking, running, and listening to podcasts but her newest favorite hobby is dressing her daughter up in really cute outfits and posting them on social media.
Holly Milkowski has volunteered as Director of Intact Houston since 2014, sharing research-based education and resources with expecting families and individuals affected by circumcision. She is a local birth worker, and owner of Your Labor Neighbor – through which she offers doula support, Birth Boot Camp classes, and placenta preparations. She authored a breastfeeding blog called Mama’s Milk, No Chaser for over six years and is working to complete an upcoming book about full-term breastfeeding. Holly is a proud mother of two unschooled boys ages 4 and 8, caretaker of four big dogs, and vegan for the past seven years. When she has spare time and energy, she enjoys writing, art, fitness, and exploring new things. You can find Holly in several places on Facebook at Intact Houston, Your Labor Neighbor, and Mama’s Milk, No Chaser. YourLaborNeighbor.com lists her birth services and contact information.
Dr. Blythe TwoSisters completed her doctorate in clinical psychology in 2012. She is a trained Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder Specialist. She attended a specialized training in order to help pregnant people understand and manage emotional concerns while pregnant, after pregnancy, and while trying to get pregnant. She helps to process loss and infertility. Now she is also studying menopause and how that hormonal process can be involved in emotional changes and feel similar to trauma.
She has completed phase 1 and phase 3 trainings for Brainspotting. She is currently in the process of completing her certification. She has completed training in transgender/queer/non-binary identities which has helped her support families of transitioning individuals and create open communication with an increased understanding of the process. She is fairly fluent in poly lifestyles and understands this could be part of your family.
She wrote her dissertation on alternative therapies for anxiety and have helped many better understand their psychological challenges using alternative or complementary modalities. She is an advocate for Mental Health At Every Size (MHAES) aligning with the Health at Every Size movement. She is passionate about providing therapy access for Every Body. She supports virtual therapy as she feels strong about bringing therapy to those in need. In her opinion, it is not okay to deny therapy because you live remotely, can’t find childcare, can’t leave the house, fear a stigma/label, or are just too busy to get away for a few hours. She is your house call therapist.
Linda Janet Holmes is a writer, independent scholar, curator, and long-time women’s health activist. Her writing, including articles in medical journals and essays in feminist journals, has been pivotal in contributing to a resurgence of international recognition of the significance of African American midwifery practices. Her book, Listen To Me Good: The Life Story of an Alabama Midwife, was co-authored with Margaret Charles Smith, a traditional African American midwife.
Her recently completed book is titled A Joyous Revolt: Toni Cade Bambara, Writer and Activist. This first biography on a transformative black fiction writer, activist, filmmaker, and cultural worker includes previously unpublished letters, journal notes, and extensive interviews with Bambara’s family members and friends. Holmes is also co-editor (with Cheryl Wall) of the anthology Savoring the Salt: The Legacy of Toni Cade Bambara.
Holmes, former director of New Jersey’s Office of Minority and Multicultural Health, now lives in Hampton, Virginia. Her most recent work focused on collecting oral histories from Hampton Institute Civil Rights Veterans who were in the forefront of the 1960s movement to desegregate public spaces in Virginia. The oral history interviews are posted on the Hampton History Museum website.
Holmes is currently working on her second book on midwives. This book will include the voices of traditional midwives of African descent across the diaspora, past and present.