How it all began
Celebrating 20+ years of service to families!
I began serving women and their families in 1996 as a DONA doula and ALACE birth assistant. I was blessed to see birth in a variety of settings; hospital, birth center and home, each offering its own perspective about how best to care for birthing women and their families. The experiences which spoke to me most were the ones where women chose to birth out-of-hospital, especially when women chose to birth at home.
There is a uniqueness to homebirth. For the laboring woman, she can walk around inside and outside of her home, eat and drink as she desires, use her shower and bathtub for labor and birth, be in any position of her choosing for pushing. I have witnessed laboring women working in the garden, baking muffins and even playing the piano! Being at home, a woman's children can easily flow in and out of the birthing space, family pets can lie nearby and the newly born baby can come right onto her mother's chest where she doesn't leave for hours. It is truly a wholistic experience.
At the beginning of 1998, I began my midwifery apprenticeship. During my apprenticeship, I worked with 3 midwives, each of whom shared her wisdom and unique style. The majority of my apprenticeship occurred in east Tennessee where most of the families we served lived in small towns or in the mountains. I will be forever grateful for a mostly rural experience while apprenticing. It gave me the opportunity to learn about birth from a close-to-the-Earth perspective. At the end of 1999, I began serving families as a primary midwife with my senior midwife often by my side as my assistant. At the beginning of 2001, I set out on my own.
What touches my heart most about midwifery is the opportunity for a woman to be a full partner in her care. She is intentionally engaged. Her perspective is sought out and she is expected to be part of the decision-making process. A woman is not told what to do, rather, she participates in discussions about her questions and concerns, considers the options available to her and makes choices that are best for her and her baby. Informed Choice is the hallmark of midwifery. I clearly remember one of the first births I attended as a birth assistant in July 1996. I left the family's home in awe of the fact that no care was given to the birthing woman without explanation or her consent. She was a participant in every aspect of the care for herself and her baby. In that moment, I realized that was how I wanted to support and care for women.
I enjoy teaching and presenting at workshops and conferences and am a preceptor for midwifery students. Currently, Anne Monson is my senior apprentice and Krista Brooks my junior apprentice. Anne began her birth worker journey in the late 1990's as a doula and ALACE Labor Assistant and Childbirth Educator. She continues to offer childbirth education and is now offering placenta encapsulation, as well. I first met Anne several years ago when she was pregnant and came into my care. It feels so full circle to have her as a part of the team. Krista is a new addition to the Heartsong family. She began her birth worker journey in 2013 as a doula. In additional to her work as a doula, she also offers childbirth education, placenta encapsulation and hypnotherapy.
I have been in practice as a midwife for over 19 years, honored to serve each and every mother and her family. 21 years after the attendance at my first birth, I continue to strive to help families create the birthing experience they desire.
Marilee Pinkleton Anne Monson Krista Brooks
CPM Sr. Apprentice Jr. Apprentice
A holistic homebirth practice helping families create the birthing experience they desire
~ Serving homebirth families in DelMarVa on the Eastern Shore ~
P: 571/606-3890 ~ F: 302/347-6720 ~ Email: HeartsongMW@aol.com