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Perspectives of a Second-Generation [student] Midwife


“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” – Proverbs 19:21

Mom’s Vintage Midwifery Tee from the 1970’s


I am amazed at how my life plans have changed drastically in just a few years. How many times have you tried to escape the inevitable… “You’re going to be just like your mom”…?

My MOM?? I don’t want to be JUST like my mom.

Don’t get me wrong, I love her!

She’s the bomb dot com. She’s the lady who sparked all of our interest in holistic-living, organic-eating, tea-drinking, food-growing, vaccine-avoiding, and homebirth having.

But nobody… NOBODY… wants to believe they will be just like their mom. After all, we all want to be our own individual self. We want to have our own claim to fame, our own story, our own path. I’ve always said I’d take the good from mom and dad and leave the bad. But then mom and dad would reply, “what bad?”

Another Vintage Tee belonging to my Momma


As a professional doula and student midwife, I am often asked about how I came to pursue this profession. It’s not every day that you meet a doula or midwife who has not had children of their own. And the few of us out there are rare cases that usually have a story somewhat similar to mine: I grew up in it.

A small group of thoughtful people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead     


Peggy Enriques Miranda was what we call a Lay Midwife. She pursued midwifery because it matched her lifestyle. In the 70’s when her and all of her friends were self-sufficient in pretty much every aspect of their life, why would it change when it came to having babies? I’ve had many conversations about how it all got started, and she always claims it was just “a part of the way we lived”.

Whether calling or career, midwifery is a lifelong engagement in social activism.

1970 Midwifery Campaign, belonged to my Momma


Her heart and soul got wrapped up tight in all of the women she served and – of course- all of their babies, too. She practiced the art of Midwifery mainly in Lafayette, Louisiana, and then a little in California where I was born. She delivered over 200 babies in hospitals and homes, every single one a success story.

She fought for the right of Midwifery at the state capitol in Baton Rouge in the 1970’s. Apparently the cause they were standing up for then, we are still fighting for today.

Anna, a fellow Midwifery student and friend, at the Capitol (April 2012)


I loved growing up around childbirth and midwifery in California. Yet when I moved to Louisiana at the age of 12, I realized very quickly that everything I thought was “normal” really wasn’t.

Most people don’t have their babies in a bath tub. Most kids don’t watch their siblings being born. Most husbands don’t “labor” with their wives, giving them continuous, physical and emotional love and support. Most birthing rooms have less than 5 people present.  Most births aren’t peaceful. Most births don’t have candles lit and soothing music. Most births aren’t spiritual. Most births aren’t planned out. Most births aren’t fostered by a midwife.

I didn’t really like this new “normal” that I found. But I knew that when I went to college, I was going to pursue birth somehow. I just wasn’t quite sure how yet.

I had NO idea at the time that by comparing becoming an Obstetrician versus becoming a Midwife was like comparing apples to oranges. I should have known. But I didn’t.

I went to Millsaps College first pursuing a major in Business. After all, this was a Nationally-ranked Business school and I had told myself I didn’t want to deliver babies but I’d rather own a birth center and facilitate it. I quickly changed my mind and simultaneously switched my major to Biology. I never considered myself a “science” person, but I knew I needed every single one of those classes to help me out.

Through a unique Millsaps College Program called the Lilly Faith and Work Initiative, I did two very eye-opening internships. First, for six months I followed a D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathy) – OBGYN. I figured a D.O. would be more “holistic-minded” than a straight up Med School OB, and I really wanted my ideas of birth to line up with what I was pursuing. My six months following him I never once saw a vaginal birth. Was this what I was going to have to do? Be a surgeon? Seriously. I had zero interest in that. That was not my passion.

All I could picture was that Monty Python YouTube video. You know, the spoof on hospital birth clip. It’s hilarious. But I was freaking out!

I wanted normal birth, not surgery.

I switched to Nursing. I did a second internship. This time I was in a wonderful non-profit health clinic run soley by volunteer doctors, nurses, and dentists. I thought maybe I could be a Nurse or Nurse-Practioner. I didn’t like the idea of being a Nurse either. Ok so maybe I would be around the babies, but I still wasn’t delivering them! Will I actually have an influence on the outcome of this birth, or will I just take blood pressures and histories and weigh people. Seriously?

I wanted to deliver babies, not be a nurse.

Finally, after weeks of researching online, I found that I could pursue my Masters Degree in Nurse-Midwifery at a renowned school based out of a city I loved . I visited this school, sat in on a few classes and met with Nurse-Midwives after. I had a meeting with a very sweet lady after.

Nurse-Midwife lady: “So, do you have any questions for us?”

Me: “Actually, yes I do! I sat in on the Clinical Practice Trials today and saw that the students were practicing writing prescriptions. For pregnant women. In response to their symptoms of having a cold and a fever. Is that normal? I guess I just pictured this program to be holistic and didn’t expect that to be the initial response.”

Nurse-Midwife lady: “Well, sadly a lot of our beliefs are… um… compromised because we work in the hospital system. Yes, we are midwives. But we are nurses first. Nurse-Midwife. So we have to conform to the system if we want to work here. And it would be the same for you if you went to school here. Do you understand?”

I understood. I thanked her for her time and walked out with a strange assurance. I’m graduating in a month and a half and feel like I just started from square one. Before I even left that campus I remember talking to God and saying something along the lines of this:
“God I don’t know what it is you have for me. I know that walking out of there gave me a peace I can’t explain, but God I need your direction. Tell me where I’m supposed to go and what I’m supposed to do. This is all just so confusing, but I’m trusting You have a plan.” 

Three of the original Louisiana midwives, my mom on the right


Even though my mom was a midwife, midwifery today is very different. I had no clue how to pursue that professionally. My college counselors couldn’t advise me on how best to go about doing that either. Many of them supported me and thought it was great but didn’t have a clue in the world as to what programs were available or schools to apply to.

I was so blessed with the opportunity to live in Norway with my second oldest sister, her husband and their four kids upon graduating from Millsaps in May of 2011.

In my four months with that family, I applied to three Masters in Midwifery programs from Seattle to D.C. I contacted over 50 midwives to find out all of the different ways to pursue this career. I e-mailed 20 different available internships from St. George, Utah, to Juneau, Alaska. I applied to three overseas missionary-midwifery programs from Australia to Africa.

And where did I end up?

Lafayette, Louisiana. Where it all started for my mom over 30 years ago.

Never in a million years did I think I would be “just like my mother”. Never in a million years did I think I would be in school in the same city my mom learned midwifery in. Never in a million years did I think I would go to school to become a direct-entry CPM.

Some classmates & our Program Director at the Preserving Normal Birth Conference 2012


I have heard many times before that God’s will is obvious when you have peace. I have that peace. It feels incredible.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27

I know that God’s peace does not promise perfect, easy, or fun. I just know that it means complete security and trust in His plan, however that plays out.

“Who is today’s midwife? Whether a nurse or empirically trained, working openly or underground, doing hospital or home births, she is a woman ready and willing to go against the grain – that is, if she intends to practice true midwifery. This takes a strong, independent, freethinking woman. And herein lies the secret to the midwife’s notoriety: she is a rebel, and a female one at that!”Heart and Hands, Elizabeth Davis

I am so blessed my mom decided at her young age to be true to herself and to rediscover the miracle of childbirth and the ferocity of womanhood, even coming from a generation that barely believed in either of those things. She has always been a rebel. A rebel that fights for the right things.

Oh Midwifery, ready or not. Here I come!


  1. What a great, informative read. Congrats Hailey!! 🙂

  2. Lee Manguno says:

    Hailey, I loved reading this and seeing the amazing faithfulness of our God. I am so proud of you. My life verse keeps ringing in my ears: Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Ps. 37:4. I love you!!

  3. Awesome job Joy! Love it Hailey!

  4. AG you are so sweet, thank you for your love & support! Even though we talked in person last night over muffies :), please don’t get me wrong. I am THANKFUL for OB’s and nurses. I just didn’t want to be one myself, as I wan’t to specialize in normal birth. Something that is almost lost in our culture. Very few people specialize in that field of childbirth. I have a handful of good friends of mine that are either nurses or are already in nursing school and they have told me that they don’t even learn how to help a woman manage a normal, unmedicated labor. They learn how to deal with medicalized birth. I also have friends who went through medical school and never once took a nutrition course. So when a mother comes in with gestational diabetes, they have to refer her to a “specialist”. This happens over and over again. The point I was trying to make was that I believe God has led me to a very specific, very needed aspect of birth!

  5. Thank you so much! Keep me in your prayers, I have a long way to go!

  6. Thank you, Jessi!

  7. Love you sis!

  8. Excellent post! I will be starting a program in January and I will be following your posts. I’m so pleased to find new students who will be the next generation of midwives!


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