Janelle Malone knew after her third child was born during a home birth that she wanted to be a midwife. “I fell in love with midwifery and how it served and empowered women. It ignited my passion,” Malone says. She couldn’t pursue it at the time, but now she is following her dreams.
Becoming a midwife
According to the International Confederation of Midwives, a midwife is a trained professional who works with women to give support, care and advice during their pregnancy, labor and postpartum times, conduct births and give newborn care. Malone has a two-year student apprenticeship to become a midwife at Rochester Midwifery, Birth and Wellness. She is currently in the observation phase of her training and has observed three births so far. She has also been taking college classes with the National Midwifery Institute. She balances her studies while raising five children, two of which she had in home births. Her background is in health care.
health care. “I’m not the typical candidate to be a midwife,” describes Malone. “I have five kids. I’ve experienced domestic violence and poverty.” She notes her family has dealt with other obstacles, including chronic homelessness and addiction.
Malone says that her midwife, Meg Novak of Rochester Midwifery, has made it possible for her to become a midwife and is committed to her success.
“Once I’m certified, I’ll be one of two midwives who are women of color in Minnesota,” Malone notes. “It’s important to have women of color in these positions.”
Overcoming past obstacles to pursue future goals
“For me, I’ll be the first person in my family to go to college and complete any sort of degree,” Malone says. “It’s the first time in my life where I’m financially OK. I’ve overcome countless obstacles that made me much more determined,” Malone describes of her singular goal of becoming a midwife
Malone expresses that she also wants to be an example to her kids. “I want them to reach for their dreams and know it doesn’t have to stop depending on your life circumstances.
Helping other moms
One of Malone’s goals is to make home birth more accessible to people, especially to teen mothers. “I want them to have the correct options and know the information. I want them to be properly informed about birth options,” explains Malone. “I want to flood information into the community.
Having been a teen mom herself, Malone hopes she can be someone for a teen mom to look up to. “I want them to realize their life doesn’t need to be like this and they can break the cycle.”
Malone notes she wants to make home birth more accessible and let people know that they can inquire about it. She wants to educate people about the available options. “They don’t have to be a certain class or race to have a birth at home.”
Malone states, “My goal is for women to have alternative options to hospitals for their births. If they have a healthy pregnancy, they could be a candidate for a home birth.”
“The midwife practice focuses on the person, rather than the birth,” explains Malone. She says the midwife practice is in-depth and also offers many other services, such as herbal remedies, care for women who have had miscarriages, postpartum care and more.
Once she becomes a midwife, Malone wants to offer free prenatal care, holistic medicine and other classes. She also would like to be a preceptor and help train other women of color to be midwives.
For more information about Rochester Midwifery, Birth and Wellness, see rochesterbirth.com or their Facebook page at facebook.com/Rochesterbirth