Meet our Midwives

What is a Midwife?
 
A Midwife:

 

  • Sees pregnancy and childbirth as a normal physiological process

  • Respects and supports clients so that they may give birth safely, with power and dignity

  • Is a trained professional who provides complete and comprehensive care to clients through all stages of pregnancy and birth and continues to care for both the pregnant person and baby for six weeks postpartum.

 

 

The International Definition of a Midwife:
 

...[someone who] has successfully completed the prescribed course of studies in midwifery and has acquired the requisite qualifications to be registered and/or legally licensed to practice midwifery. They must be able to give the necessary supervision, care and advice to people during pregnancy, labour and the postpartum period, to conduct deliveries on their own responsibility and to care for the newborn infant. This care includes preventative measures, the detection of abnormal conditions in the childbearing person and child, the procurement of medical assistance and the execution of emergency measures in the absence of medical help. Midwives have an important task in health counseling and education, not only for the patients, but also within the family and community. The work should involve antenatal education and preparation for parenthood, and extends to certain areas of gynecology, family planning and child care. Midwives may practice in hospital, clinics, health units, domiciliary conditions, or in any other service.

 

 

Legal Status
 

The Midwifery Act is part of the Regulated Health Professions Act of Ontario which was proclaimed on January 1, 1994. Since proclamation of the Act, midwives are required to be registered with the College of Midwives of Ontario. Midwifery care is now publicly funded through the Ministry of Health.

 

"The midwives in our practice catch close to 400 babies each year"

The practice began with and continues to have midwives from various backgrounds. Some are graduates from the Ontario Midwifery Education Program based at Ryerson, McMaster and Laurentian Universities. Others are trained internationally and certified through the International Midwifery Pre-registration Program.

 

Stephanie Arsenault

Meet Stephanie Arsenault. I was born and raised in Montreal. I first learned of Midwifery in college in 1994 during a women's studies course. I was so excited about this new/old profession in Canada that I rushed home to tell my Grandmother, a British nurse, about Midwifery! Needless to say, she was not surprised in the least. She had her first born at home with Midwives in England! Thus began my love affair with birth and Midwifery. I went on to have two children born at home with Midwives in two different provinces. While living in Northern Ontario I became very active as a consumer, promoting Midwifery. After my second son was born in 1994, I decided to apply to the Midwifery Education Programme. The rest is history. I completed my degree in 1998, and I have worked as a Midwife for the last six years at the Gatineau Birth Centre. When I am not practicing Midwifery, I am a soccer Mom. I can often be seen chauffeuring my two sons to and from soccer and basketball games.

Robyn Berman

Hello!  My name is Robyn Berman and I am proud to working alongside a wonderful group of people at the Midwifery Collective of Ottawa!  

My journey to midwifery began when I launched my own business as a birth and post partum doula and breastfeeding counselor.  For 8 years I worked collaboratively with midwives, physicians, nurses and other healthcare practitioners to support birthing people and their families as they navigated pregnancy and the first year post-partum.  Midwifery was a natural progression as it became clear to me that I could continue to do the work that I loved as well as further my own professional aspirations to become a primary care provider. I completed my midwifery education program at Birthwise Midwifery School in Bridgton, Maine and then went on to complete the International Midwifery Pre-Registration Program at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario.

I am a “people person” and thoroughly enjoy getting to know my clients, their families, and my colleagues in the birth community.  Please say “hi!” if you see me around, and I look forward to working with you!

Melissa Dorsay

Introducing Melissa Dorsay. I was born and raised in Ottawa, then moved to Toronto to start what I thought would be a lifetime in academia. I first learned about midwifery in a Women's Studies class and fell in love with it. I started writing all about pregnancy and birth, but it was only while I was finishing my Master's degree that I realized I needed to step away from my books and start doing what I was writing about. I enrolled in the Midwifery Education Program at Ryerson in 2005 and haven't looked back. After working for two years in Belleville, Ontario, moving back to Ottawa has meant being able to reconnect with my home community. When I'm not working, you can find me with my nose in a book, growing vegetables, crafting or experimenting with vegetarian cooking.

Jess Fahey

I grew up in the Gatineau Hills on what is Algonquin and Anishinaabe territory. After many years spent all over North America, I live there once more, this time with my own little family in a century old cottage on the Gatineau River. 

 

The first time I heard about midwifery was from my grandmother who told the story of being caught by a rural midwife in 1918. Today, over one hundred years later, the practice of midwifery is flourishing, and I feel extremely fortunate to find myself surrounded by inspiring clients and colleagues alike. 

 

In my pre-midwifery life I lived in Montreal where I received a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Sciences from McGill, coordinated the Center for Gender Advocacy and managed a cooperative feminist bookstore. Throughout these years I organized with groups working to provide free prenatal care and labour support to folks without healthcare or in more precarious social positions. I continue to make this a focal point in my practice as a care provider. 

 

I had my first child the day I submitted my application to the midwifery program in 2014. Apparently hitting ‘send’ released the surge of oxytocin (or perhaps cortisol) needed to kick-start labour. Fast forward 9 months, I was pregnant again, and now have two amazing little ones.

 

I would be honored to work with you and your family in the childbearing year, and I thank you for welcoming me to be a part of your care team. Je parle français et il me fera plaisir d'offrir des soins dans la langue de votre choix.

Marcia Geisterfer

Greetings, my name is Marcia Geisterfer and I am thrilled to be joining the team at the Midwifery Collective of Ottawa! 

A bit about myself: I was born in Woodstock, ON to a Dutch immigrant family, and raised in Hamilton ON where I was initially introduced to midwifery. After completing a degree in French literature, I pursued my ambitions to become a midwife.  My first exposure to birth was in Russia and Holland.  Wanting to gain more experience, I apprenticed in Haiti with an American midwife; my circuitous path then took me to America where I became a certified doula in Hoboken, New Jersey. I worked there for over 7 years. I am a mother of three beautiful children all of whom were welcomed into the world in the comfort of our home, by a midwife.  I returned to school to become a midwife in 2012, and completed the Midwifery Education Program from McMaster University in May, 2016.

 

Midwifery is my passion- I have been a consumer of midwifery care, an advocate of the midwifery philosophy: continuity of care, informed choice, and choice of birthplace; I am honoured to support and empower women, and their families, during their journey through pregnancy and childbirth, providing quality care to ensure a positive, healthy and happy birth experience.

Emi Klemic

My name is Emi Klemic and I am excited to be joining the Midwifery Collective of Ottawa!

I was born and raised in Southern California and immigrated to Canada with my partner in 2008. We have three young children all born at home with midwives in BC and Ontario. It was my own wonderful experiences with midwifery care that fueled my decision to become a midwife in the first place. At my core I value providing safe, inclusive, anti-oppressive, and individualized care to my clients. I am committed to honouring every birthing family’s unique and complex needs and the importance of informed choice, regardless of what path their birthing journey takes.

 

Before entering Laurentian University’s midwifery program, I graduated from the University of Victoria with a Master’s in English (medieval and Early Modern studies / feminism) where I wrote a thesis on Shakespeare and historical renditions of sexual assault; and from the University of California, Irvine with a bachelor’s in English and philosophy. I also worked as a doula for low-income families in Vancouver and have assisted in research on induced lactation, co-nursing, waterbirth, LGBTQ+ care, and hidden homelessness. In my free time I enjoy reading, camping, video games, tabletop games, playing bass, and going on spontaneous road trips with my family.

Mianh Lamson (On Leave)

It has been my privilege to support woman with midwifery care for over 10 years. Originally from Kingston, Ontario, I completed my Bachelor of Science at McGill University in 2005 before moving to New Zealand. There I obtained a Bachelor of Midwifery and began my career in an environment where almost 80% of babies are caught by midwives.

I returned to Canada in 2011 and completed the International Midwifery Bridging Program. Following that, I worked in the snow belt of rural Ontario with many Amish and Mennonite families. I am now happily returning to Eastern Ontario and I am thrilled to be able to provide safe, personalized and woman-centered care with the Midwives Collective. 

I believe in supporting individuals to experience child bearing on their own terms, with choices that are right for their family.

I believe that creating a space of mutual trust, respect and understanding is crucial to support people through the childbearing experience. I have a deep respect for our ability to navigate the process of growing, birthing and nurturing a baby, and for the unexpected paths that may present themselves during that process. It is always an honour to work with people, providing care that is thoughtful, evidence based, rooted firmly in informed choice and patient!

When I am not working you can find me in my kitchen, garden, or knitting basket, or out enjoying the adventure that is life with my incredibly supportive and wonderfully large family.

Brigid Matheson

My name is Brigid Matheson and I am thrilled to be joining the Midwifery Collective of Ottawa! I discovered midwifery partway through my undergraduate degree at the University of Waterloo. I immediately feel in love with the model of care and the opportunity to provide client centered care to women and their families at such an important time in their lives. I completed the Midwifery Education Program at McMaster University in April 2015 and have been loving work as a midwife since. 

I have lived all over Canada, from the Saskatchewan, to the eastern most part of Quebec to Northern Ontario. I love traveling and exploring new regions and I am so excited to get to know Ottawa and to be working here. When I’m not doing midwifery you can find me running half marathons, cooking and baking up a storm and enjoying the outdoors with my partner.

Sarah Maylin (On Leave)

I am overjoyed to be caring for our community with the Midwifery Collective! My passion as a midwife is founded in my belief that all families deserve access to empowering perinatal care. I became a Certified Professional Midwife in 2006 and a Certified Midwife in 2010. I co-founded a successful midwifery practice, which continues to provide services to the greater Rochester area in New York State. While in New York I was also a political advocate working to advance the interests of families, newborns and midwives. The decision to immigrate to Canada from the States was (of course) multifaceted, the most relevant aspect  being the healthcare system allowing greater access to care for my clients. I became a Registered Midwife in Ontario after completing the International Midwifery Pre-Registration Program (IMPP) in 2013.  I have had the pleasure of working with families in both the Niagara region and rural Huron county before settling in Ottawa. Whenever possible, my family and I enjoy exploring the world with our unique and wonderful children.

I am looking forward to meeting you!

Lisa Middleton

Hi, my name is Lisa Middleton and I am overly enthusiastic to be providing care for women as part of the Midwifery Collective of Ottawa! For 10 years I worked as a sexual assault counsellor, sexual and reproductive health educator & advocate all over Ontario and South Africa which cultivated my love for all things birth and women. Being a part of women’s birth experiences and helping provide safe-space for all women to bring new life in this world is truly an honour. As a midwife, I deeply value that whatever kind of birth you seek/have that you have options, that you are supported in your choice and that you are respected.

 

I grew up in Brampton and I have mostly lived in Ottawa for the past 10 years while traveling all around the world. Prior to completing my degree in midwifery at Ryerson University (Toronto), I completed a Bachelor of Social Work and a Masters in Social Work from Carleton University (Ottawa). When I am not birthing babies I hang out with my ‘baby’ (my daughter), my wonderful partner, my two gigantic dogs and a cat. I enjoy dabbling in triathlons and marathons and have been an avid runner and swimmer for most of my life.

 

I look forward to meeting you and sharing in your birth experience!

Wendy Thomson

My name is Wendy Thomson and I am truly proud to be providing midwifery care to the women and families served by the Midwifery Collective of Ottawa. Raised in Ottawa, my life has brought me down many roads. I first felt the pull of midwifery while attending university and homesteading in Nova Scotia. I became a supporter of the Nova Scotia Midwifery Coalition while providing labour support at homebirths.

 

My daughter’s homebirth, with the support of amazing midwives, confirmed my passion for this caring profession. It was the most empowering experience in my life and I feel compelled to help other women have equally positive experiences.

 

Prior to graduating from the Midwifery Education Program at Laurentian, I ran an artistic-blacksmithing business while raising my daughter. I have also worked and travelled extensively in Central America and hold a degrees in silversmithing, anthropology and herbology.

 

I have been blessed with the opportunity to live my dream and look forward to helping empower the mothers of our community through their birth experience.

Jacquelyn Thorne

Having spent the last 10 years living in the Vancouver area, I'm thrilled to be back in Ontario, providing care for women and families in the National Capital Region. I grew up in Toronto, spent four years in Kingston and then moved westward back in 2009. While out west, I provided care to many women and families in Metro Vancouver, Cranbrook and during 2015 in Baglung, Nepal. In late 2017, we relocated to the Ottawa area and near the end of the year welcomed our own baby girl!

 

I am honoured to continue to provide care as a midwife in the Ottawa area. I have a thorough understanding of pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period, on both a professional and personal level. I believe all families deserve excellent care through the childbearing year and am thrilled to continue providing that care at the Midwifery Collective of Ottawa.

 

In my spare time, you'll find me hanging out with my family enjoying the Ottawa weather. When off-call, we like to spend time with extended family around the province, splash around in local freshwater and go for long, luxurious bike rides. 

Jacqueline Whitehead (On Leave)

My name is  Jacqueline Whitehead. My journey to midwifery came after my own experience as a consumer. I was so inspired by the care I received that I became active as a consumer, later a childbirth educator and doula and finally as a midwife. During this time, I had children with midwives both pre and post regulation. Since regulation was in 1994, I'm dating myself! I entered the midwifery program at Ryerson University and graduated in 2007. Since graduation, I have practiced both in Hamilton and Ottawa. One of the major motivatons for me as a midwife is maintaining the normalcy of birth; an awesome, wonderful event that I am always honoured to be a part of.  One highlight for me was being able to "catch" my granddaughter Faith and now we hottub together! I like buidling the profession of midwifery, precepting students and building the mdiwifery community as well as providing that special, personalized care to each and every client. I look forward to being with you during your birthing experience.

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