Married 6 years to her amazing Stay at Home Dad Husband Eddy and a Mom of 3, soon to be 4 this summer! She’s experienced birth in many ways from primary cesarean, out-of-hospital vbac and in-hospital vbac.
PJ is currently in school to become a certified medical biller with the passion to help moms seeking reimbursement for out-of-hospital births. She is office manager and instructor at Rebel Birth Education and Resource Haven. She is also the billing coordinator at a private neuropsychology practice and the current leader of ICAN of North Houston.
Jackie Griggs is a certified nurse midwife in the Houston area since 1989. She attended The University of Texas at Galveston to obtain a master’s degree in nursing. She owned and operated Bay Area Birth Center in Pasadena 2005-2017, and now owns Midwife in the Heights and Birth Center of Beaumont. She is on the Board of Directors of the American Association of Birth Centers, since 2013. She is active with the Consortium of Texas Certified Nurse Midwives, and the Association of Texas. She is a writer and is currently working on a book about her experiences as a midwife. Jackie has precepted many nursing and midwifery students, and thinks it is very important to raise new midwives. Jackie is the mother of 5 sons, 3 of which were born at home with the assistance of midwives. She loves her work and has no plans to retire.
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.
Breastfeeding rarely conforms to the idealized Madonna-and-baby image seen in old artwork, now recast in celebrity breastfeeding photo spreads and pro-breastfeeding ad campaigns. The personal accounts in Others’ Milk illustrate just how messy and challenging and unpredictable it can be—an uncomfortable reality in the contemporary context of high-stakes motherhood in which “successful” breastfeeding proves one’s maternal mettle.
Exceptional breastfeeders find creative ways to feed and care for their children—such as by inducing lactation, sharing milk, or exclusively pumping. They want to adhere to the societal ideal of giving them “the best” but sometimes have to face off with dogmatic authorities in order to do so. Kristin J. Wilson argues that while breastfeeding is never going to be the feasible choice for everyone, it should be accessible to anyone.
Kristin J. Wilson, PhD, is chair of the Anthropology Department at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California. She received a doctorate in sociology at Georgia State University and an MA in anthropology at the University of South Carolina. Her research focuses on themes of reproductive justice. She is the author of Others’ Milk and Not Trying: Infertility, Childlessness, and Ambivalence.
Michelle Hansford is currently employed with Santa Maria Hostel as a Parent Coach Navigator. She was previously employed with One Voice Texas under the Hogg Foundation Peer Policy Fellow grant for one year. Before joining OVT, Michelle was formerly employed as a Recovery Coach/Certified Peer Specialist with Santa Maria Hostel. She is perfectly positioned to provide advocacy trainings and support to two groups – children and parents – that are marginalized in the policy discussions surrounding the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Michelle was also a Family Navigator with Harris County Child Protective Services, and she volunteers as a parent liaison with the State Wide Parent Collaboration Group of the Department of Family and Protective Services. Michelle constantly works to give back whatever experience, strength, and hope she has learned from her previous and current employers, as well as her faith-based community, Mercy Street at Chapelwood United Methodist. Michelle is a birth parent who has successfully advocated for herself and her children, as well as for parents in other cases where substance abuse, mental health, and trauma are involved.
Afua Hassan 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.
She is a member of
International Center for Traditional Childbearing
Association of Texas Midwives
Greater Houston Midwives Alliance
International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN)
Her business is located in the historically African American community in the 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.
Caroline Long, DC, is a pregnancy and pediatric-certified chiropractor and the founder of West University Wellness. She graduated from Spring Woods High School before pursuing her Bachelor of Arts at UCLA. She returned to Texas Chiropractic College where she graduated with top honors and then completed over 300 post-graduate certification hours with the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association. For the past 18 years she has built her reputation as a caring and compassionate chiropractor for patients as young as 1 day old all the way to a patient who was 106 years old. Dr. Long is the cofounder for the Texas Dragon Boat Association and previously served on the boards of the San Jacinto Girl Scouts and Buffalo Bayou Partnership. She is a proud native Houstonian and enjoys volunteering in her community. She and her husband Patrick have two daughters ages 10 and 12. West University Wellness has been a sponsor and supporter of BIRTH Fair for many years.
Heather Goodwin and Tracy Southwick will tell us about sugar and how to create a healthier relationship with sugar, curb some of our cravings, manage our intake, and help reduce the amount of sugar our children consume.
Heather Goodwin is the director of Heights of Health Holistic Behavior Division. She holds a master’s degree in Education and is a board-certified Holistic Health Practioner. She has expertise in mind/body connection, changing the stress response, managing anxiety level, and also works with children with ADHD and other neurological or behavioral challenges. She is the co-creator of a school-based mindfulness program called Present Time Kids and the cutting-edge holistic health program Wellbeing Simplified. She remains a national speaker and recognized behavior specialist who resides in the Houston Heights with her husband Mike and two children Sophia and Nicholas.
Tracy Southwick has been in the natural health field since she was diagnosed with a debilitating health condition 22 years ago. After her body healed through holistic means, she devoted her life’s work to helping educate others about the beauty of the body’s innate ability to heal itself when given the proper tools. Tracy is a traditional naturopath and the founder of Heights of Health Holistic Clinic here in her hometown of Houston.
Addiction Series: George Youngblood, Alternative Peer Groups
George Youngblood, LCDC, ADCIII, CCS, of Teen and Family Services, presents to us information about Alternative Peer Groups for adolescents struggling with substance use disorder and their impact on families who are dealing with addiction in their children.
Andie Wyrick, MSN, CNM, is a certified nurse midwife and doctorate student who has been in the Houston birth community for over a decade. Her experience includes elementary school nursing, hospital L & D, birth center, and home birth. Andie is confident in a woman’s ability to grow and birth her baby. She feels a partnership in care is empowering and hopes to foster that relationship with families. She has a tender, lighthearted, and hands-off approach to the evidence-based care she offers. She has been joyfully dating her husband of 17 years since junior high and has five children. Her passions beyond bellies, birth, and breastfeeding are mission work and reading.
Jaelin Stickels, MSN, CNM, WHNP-BC, is a certified nurse midwife and women’s health nurse practitioner who is honored to work with women and their families as they experience pregnancy, labor, birth, and the postpartum period. Jaelin followed her passion into midwifery and has been practicing with women and babies since 2010. She has spent the last 34 blissful years married to her high school sweetheart. She has three children and one grandchild. In addition to her passion for women’s health, she loves quilting and spends her spare time running the www.sheis.com website and being enamored with her granddaughter. She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree.