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Christie Reynolds
Following graduation from the University of Minnesota-Duluth with a degree in Women’s Studies, I lived in Bangladesh for three years. Initially, I worked as a Peace Corps Volunteer in health and education and later as a Language and Skills Trainer for the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee’s Nirapad Ma (Healthy Mother) Project Staff. It was there, in a tiny bookstore in the capital city, Dhaka, that I found my introduction to midwifery; a dusty copy of Therese Blanchet’s Meanings and Rituals of Birth in Rural Bangladesh.

After returning home, I began an MS in Health Promotion at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. I attended classes in nutrition and community development, and I completed training to become an infant massage instructor and a doula. I began researching the impact of continuous labor support on birth outcomes. About a year into my degree, my advisor suggested my time might be better spent pursuing the work I wanted to do rather than just reading about it. 

In the spring of 2003, at a soup dinner in a church basement, I introduced myself to Jane and asked if she would be willing to talk with me about midwifery. Not long after that, I attended a prenatal appointment, then one birth, then another. Jane welcomed me into the practice, and I trained and worked as her assistant.  Then, there was a baby boy, in the winter of 2004, who had not heard I was just the assistant. He chose my hands to catch him before anyone else could arrive. The following January, I began the process to become a certified professional midwife (CPM). 

In March of 2006, I traveled with a small group of midwives to Senegal, West Africa to work in a busy maternity clinic in Mboro, a small fishing village on the coast. During the month we were there, more than 70 babies were born at the clinic. It was an incredible opportunity for me to grow as a midwife.   

With the steadfast support of Jane and my family, I obtained my certification and license to practice midwifery in 2008, and in December 2009, I attended my 300th birth. It is a gift to know families as they await the arrival of their babies. I love that moment where a mom first hears her baby’s heartbeat with a Doppler or when, with true amazement, a new dad discovers he has a son—just seconds after he is born. I am a midwife to help protect, honor, and celebrate these moments.