Debs Neiger, Independent Midwife: After 3 years in the NHS, the catalyst for my becoming an independent midwife was the home waterbirth of my son Gabriel with the Yorkshire Storks. I believe that a woman’s birth experiences can have a huge impact on her life and want to be able to support women in getting the birth they want. I believe birth can be joyful, empowering and a highly transformative experience. I am passionate about giving women the confidence to make the best decisions for them and their families. I now also have a daughter, Esme, also born at home in a pool. My special interests are breastfeeding, babywearing and supporting families to find a way of gentle parenting that works for their family. I love knitting, reading and all things pregnancy and birth, even in my spare time, and I won the Gentle Parenting Award in the Health Care Professional category for 2016, and shortlisted for the Best Midwife of the Year MAMA Award in 2017.
Chris Warren, Yorkshire Storks Midwifery Support: I founded Yorkshire Storks, originally “Your Way Midwifery Practice”, in Kent, in 1990. I felt the only way to combine supportive midwifery with hands on mothering, was to work independently; my daughter was 8 months old. I feel just as passionately that we need supportive midwifery for our children and grand kids. Currently Independent Midwifery provides woman-centred care that respects the whole family and is based on evidence – where it exists and an acknowledgement of when it does not. I believe that giving birth is part of a continuum, a life event and that supportive, enabling midwifery helps keep everything normal. Evidence shows that care and birth at home is usually best for everyone but back up help and intervention in hospital is sometimes necessary and at times most sensible. I was nominated for the MAMA Awards 2017!
Sharyn Lock, The Online Midwife: I came to midwifery the long way round…via a music degree, many years of ecological activism and human rights campaigning including lots of volunteering in the Middle East, and community development work in the UK. I’m inspired by community and individual self-empowerment, autonomy and self-determination in all sorts of contexts. At first I thought midwifery was a step in a new direction, but it turned out not to be at all! I am passionate about supporting the autonomy of women as they make choices right for them, and protecting the delicate yet extraordinarily resilient ecology of birth. I am also a published writer, including a chapter in Here We Stand: Women Changing the World, and in 2019 was honoured to have been awarded an Iolanthe Midwives Award and the inaugural Mary Cronk Award.