About Me

Mary Callender, CPM, LM

I have been a birth worker in the Richmond area since 1997. My journey to becoming a midwife (CPM) began with the birth of my son by cesarean, because he was in a breech position. I later had a natural birth and VBAC with my daughter. I started out as a birth doula in 1997 and from there I became a postpartum doula and monitrice.

I began my journey to becoming a home birth midwife in 2006 when I realized the absurdity of the number of unnecessary c-sections that were being performed in the area and the limits of my scope of practice as a doula. I graduated from National Midwifery Institute and received my certified professional midwife credential in 2013. I have attended over 250 births with over 80 being in an out of hospital setting such as at home or in a birth center. I have apprenticed with 7 different midwives.

Each birth teaches me something different as no woman, no pregnancy, no birth, and no baby are the same-even when the client is a repeat client. There is so much to learn about the birth process and I emphasize with my clients the importance of trusting their body’s ability to give birth.. VBAC (vaginal birth after a cesarean) is near and dear to my heart. In my work as the leader of ICAN of Richmond and the River City VBAC Support group, I have learned that there are many reasons that a doctor decides to do a cesarean. My goal is to help the women who have had a cesarean to process her experience emotionally and prepare herself through education and support for a different outcome with her next child.  

The real question about safety is not whether you want a pleasant birth at home or in the hospital. It is, "Do you want to give birth at home and run the miniscule risk of an emergency that might be handled better in the hospital, or do you want to give birth in the hospital and run the increased risk of infection, the certainty of additional stress, and the near certainty of having unnecessary interventions?

- HENCI GOER ON NATURAL BIRTH

My Philosophy

My overall philosophy about birth is that BIRTH IS NORMAL. Before it even occurs, if the mother is healthy and is doing her best to nourish and grow a strong and healthy baby. Early prenatal care is important to ensuring you are getting the right care in growing a healthy baby. Our bodies are beautifully and wonderfully made. Every woman has the strength within herself to have a normal natural childbirth. It is my role to guide you through this process and help you to become empowered.
 
I believe in the principle of matrescence as defined in Birth Models that Work by Robbie Davis-Floyd, University of California Press, 2009 – “Midwives manifest intuitive like responses: non-verbal, empathic actions that spring from spontaneous insight and awareness.” Midwives assist in forming a protective and nurturing environment for the mother to do her work of birthing her baby. Birth should be calm and gentle.
 
What makes me different?

With so many options out there for home birth, learn what sets me apart from other midwives.