Kay Johnson, CNM, tells us about being a midwife. Just as we love hearing a birth story, it is powerful to hear a midwife story. Kay has maintained her passion for supporting women in labor through the almost 40 years of her professional career. She started her midwifery education inspired by Ina May’s Spiritual Midwifery, Silent Knife by Cohen and Estner, and Our Bodies, Ourselves by the Boston Women’s Collective. She sat at the feet of Ina May, Frederick Laboyer, Michel Odent, and Helen Varney and was supported in her studies by Liz Sharpe at Emory and her colleagues in practice.
Kay has worked in large hospitals in midwifery practices that cared for 100 patients per month. She has also worked in small private practices in the hospital, in a birth center, and doing home birth. She has supported those women who desired an epidural as well as those who delivered on hands and knees, sitting on a birth stool or in a birth tub.
Her primary objective is maintaining a calm environment that allows the woman to progress at her own pace through the labor, delivery and first few hours after the birth by keeping interventions at a minimum. She feels her role is to keep a watchful eye on any signs that indicate a possible problem, setting back and out of the way of the woman’s natural labor process. She considers the first few hours of a mother meeting her baby to be important for bonding and a more normal transition for the baby.
In all birth settings, she has valued the opportunity to work with students. They keep their teachers humble and provide constant continuing education. She is proud to see the contributions her students have made to the profession.