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 Consent 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 and 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 precepting midwifery students. My assistant, Brea Baker, joined Heartsong in the Fall of 2020. She is a Delaware native and the mother of two. The birth of her second daughter encouraged her to pursue the path of homebirth midwifery. Her goals are to help parents feel empowered and informed while supporting women to be healthy as they bring their new babies Earthside. She is also enrolled in the National Midwifery Institute as she pursues her CPM.
I have been in practice as a midwife for over 22 years, honored to serve each and every mother and her family. 25 years after the attendance at my first homebirth, I continue to strive to help families create the birthing experience they desire.
Celebrating 25 years of service to families!
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: 833/418-1968 ~ Email: HeartsongMW@aol.com
Marilee Pinkleton Brea Baker CPM Assistant
How it all began