Midwife Without Borders
Here is a short curriculum Vitae of the woman who is the "Midwife Without Borders."
Gail Winters Johnson
Gail has a rare combination of skills and background.
She is a mother of five, a businesswoman, a midwife - and a great deal more. Gail owned and operated a chain of self-help clinics in Canada. Her work with pain control in those clinics was the starting point that leads to her current career as a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) and Licensed Midwife (LM).
While working with one of her female clients for pain control, the client asked if hypnosis could be applied to childbirth pain as well as to her current condition. It could; it was; and it was successful - many years before the current “discovery” of its use for this purpose by the medical community. This one birth led Gail to become a doula, a childbirth educator, a montrice, and finally a midwife. Along the way she has also been a women’s peer counselor, a public speaker, and a women’s advocate.
While working with women to alleviate pain during childbirth, she found that the medical profession consistently gave her hypnosis clients suggestions that were not appropriate for or helpful in alleviating pain. So, she took courses in obstetrics and anatomy to learn how to create better and more effective suggestions. At one point, she created a self-hypnosis tape for childbirth that was marketed all across Canada.
As she began to work with more and more pregnant women, she found it necessary to become a childbirth instructor in order to be able to impart proper and effective teachings in her expectant mothers concerning the total birthing process. To help her mothers, she often accompanied them to the hospital as birth coach (doula) and over the years developed into much more than a coach (again, she did this long before it became a widely acknowledged occupation). As time progressed, she came to provide information, advice, and support as a patient advocate (i.e., she became a montrice).
Typical hospital births do not conform to Gail’s understanding of birth as a normal, natural process - not an illness. This conflict of philosophy (and practice) led her to become midwife (now designated Licensed Midwife in Texas) and ultimately a Certified Professional Midwife. She has been in practice as a midwife in Texas for over seventeen years. Currently she delivers 40-90 babies per year, at the client’s home or in a midwifery birthing center. She has attended over 1,300 births in Texas and has been the primary attendant in over 1,100 births. She has performed hundreds of water births and many that began birth in water but eventually delivered “on land.”
In 1989, Gail formed a successful sole-midwife practice, Well Woman Health Care Associates, Inc., and developed it into one of the largest midwifery practices in the Dallas / Fort Worth, Texas area. In 2001, she formed a dual midwife practice, Eden Song Maternity Services, Inc., with Bonnie Kitchen, CPM, LM. This practice, too, has been one of the largest midwifery practices in the Dallas / Fort Worth. As of January 1, 2006, Gail sold her interest in this practice and has semi-retired. She still attends births of previous Texas clients, but refers them to Eden Song Maternity and other midwifery practices for prenatal and postnatal care.
Gail is three-time past president (non-consecutive terms) of the North Texas Association of Midwives, NTM, (the local midwifery association). She is a lifetime member and past board member of the Association of Texas Midwives, ATM, (the state midwifery organization). She is a member of the Midwives Alliance of North America, MANA (the national midwifery organization). She is a member of and certified by the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM), the national midwifery certification organization. She is the second midwife in Texas to become a Certified Professional Midwife. NARM designates her a Qualified Evaluator, that is, she is qualified to administer clinical and written examinations to candidates for NARM certification. The Texas Department of State Health Services designates her as a midwifery preceptor, that is, she is qualified to train apprentice midwives in Texas. She is past Chairman of the Texas Midwifery Board Grievance Committee; a past member of the Committee on Midwifery Oxygen Protocols; and the Midwifery Rules (of Practice) Revision Committee. She is past Vice Chairman of the Texas Department of State Health Services, Midwifery Board.
She has worked as a volunteer women’s councilor at The Women’s Center in Rockville Maryland and also at The Women’s Center in Fort Worth, Texas. She has been a volunteer speaker for the American Cancer Society - providing education on breast self-examination. She has been a volunteer speaker for the March of Dimes providing education in the “Well Baby And You” program. After participation in this program she scripted a TV version of the Well Baby and You series and obtained the resources to have eleven, half-hour series videotaped and aired on local cable television.
She has been a speaker and workshop leader at numerous midwifery conferences. Some of her workshop topics are: Suturing, Delivering Twins, Delivering Breeches, Handling Labor Complications, Water Birth and Establishing a Successful Midwifery Practice. She is well known to our legislators as a women’s advocate, as an advocate for the “non-medical” model of midwifery. For over a decade she has participated in numerous and repeated consumer and midwifery campaigns to preserve the rights of Texas women to birth at home with an obstetrical caregiver of their choice.
In addition to all this, she is now a grandmother to eleven grandchildren, a great grandmother to one and an excellent and attentive wife to a grateful and loving husband.
She has semi-retired in Northern Belize, Central America, and now provides more personal and individualized midwifery care to a smaller and more select group of women who have done extensive research about birthing options and decided to opt for home birth.
By: Earl Johnson, CPMH (Certified Professional Midwife’s Husband)
Earl and Gail - click photo for enlarged picture
Sunday, February 5, 2006For more about Gail and midwifery in general, see her original web site.
Gail Johnson, CPM, LM
Four Mile Lagoon - Northwest Higway, 89.2 Mile Marker
P. O. Box 251