Sarita Bennett, DO, CPM
I have listened to women’s stories all my life – stories about love and birth and healing and death. I grew up in a rural mountain culture that valued self-reliance and in which home birth was the norm until the mid-1950’s – about the time I was born. Having given birth at home to my brothers but in the hospital to me, my mother warned me about hospital birth. So, with my first pregnancy I studied and prepared and believed that I had found a small, local hospital that understood what I wanted. Unfortunately, I walked away (or maybe I should say limped away due to the mediolateral episiotomy) from that experience, after being tied to a delivery table and separated from my normal newborn for 12 hours regardless of the fact that my total labor was only 4 hours and very straightforward. Once again, I should have listened to my mother, and over the next 14 years and 3 more children, I answered what I felt was a calling to midwifery through studying and attending homebirth. My biggest learning experiences were, of course, from my own childbearing and with my second birth, I learned that even the sight of a perceived predator can slow and stall a labor and taught me, in a big way, that I couldn’t begin to give birth if I didn’t feel safe. My third birth was a surprise breech at home with just my husband where I had the unique experience of feeling myself jump between the two parts of my brain – midwife and mother. And my fourth birth in which I finally understood what it means to give birth in ecstasy.
In the beginning, the women I served were mostly fundamental Christians or hippies – those women who were prepared to give birth at home alone if need be. I joined with other young midwives in my state to learn from each other and find sisterhood in this crazy profession, and we slowly developed Standards of Care, Risk Factor Guidelines and a well-honed Peer Review Process and became a professional organization. But mostly, we stayed connected by the passion we all shared for the privilege we were given to witness as women found their power.
In 1994, I found myself answering another calling and began my Osteopathic training as a student at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg, WV. After graduating with honors, I completed a Family Medicine Residency at United Hospital Center in Clarksburg, WV. I chose this residency due to its strong maternity care program and “old-time” family practice approach to birth. In 2001, I returned to my rural hometown and went into practice providing home birth and general family practice services. I closed this practice in 2013 and moved to the Charlottesville, VA, area to open a home birth practice and a midwifery education program.
I currently serve as Vice President for the Board of Directors of the Midwives Alliance of North America. This amazing experience gives me opportunities to work to promote birth as a human right and midwifery as an essential ingredient of an optimal maternity team in ways I never imagined. From this perspective, it is easy to see the interconnectedness of everyone in the profession and the need to work together if we are going to ensure that women and their families – not big business – are the ones who profit from their birth experiences.
Elizabeth Moore, CPM
I am a Certified Professional Midwife, and Licensed Midwife in Virginia and Wisconsin, holding an AAS in Direct Entry Midwifery from Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, a MEAC accredited school. My earliest, and perhaps most important education, was gained through the Apprenticeship mode of learning. More than three years working with an experienced Traditional Midwife prepared me for all the variations of normal to be found in the childbearing cycle, with special concentration on holistic ways of healing and prevention. Nutrition, herbs, and movement will always be the first tools I employ when working with families.
I have a strong belief in the Midwifery Model of Care, utilizing informed consent, individualized counselling and care, and a trusting relationship developed throughout the prenatal period, culminating in a safe and joyful birth experience. When needed or desired, I openly welcomes collaboration with other healthcare professionals and see midwifery care as something that should be available to all low-risk women.
I am the mother of five daughters, all born with the assistance of midwives, the four youngest at home. I am also the grandmother to five. Originally form NYC/NJ, (Go Giants!), I lived in Virginia for more than twenty years, before relocating to Wisconsin to further my education. I was formerly an EMT-B, and worked both professionally, and as a volunteer, in EMS. Having experience in both urban EMS, and caring for Amish families giving birth in deeply rural areas, has given me a wide perspective on many issues.
I see working with Sarita Bennet, and the students at Winding River Birth Center, as a wonderful opportunity, and I look forward to meeting many new families in the Charlottesville area!
Sarah Davis, CPM
Hi, my name is Sarah Davis and I have worked as a birth doula since 2008, having attended over 150 births as a doula and as a student midwife. I became a certified professional midwife (CPM) in 2015, completing my studies both abroad in the Philippines and in Charlottesville. I have a passion for international midwifery and serving my community…I love working with women during such a sacred and very transitional time in their lives – that of becoming a mother. In my free time, you will find me spending time with my husband, two daughters, and one, active little boy. I love good conversations with friends, yoga, hiking and drinking coffee. Once upon a time I was a ballet dancer.