Get to Know West Wing Midwife, Kathryn

Woman standing in front of wooden fence with greenery.

What path lead you to become a midwife? 

I became a midwife because I love science and women. I took a women’s studies course in college, and it opened my eyes to the women’s movement and human rights issues. I also loved the human body, and I wanted to combine those two interests.

When deciding between becoming a midwife or an OBGYN, a friend of mine, who has a doctor for a father and a midwife for a mom, told me that midwives have more fun. Being 22 years old at the time, I also wanted to have more fun, so I chose midwifery. I am so happy that I chose this route. Sometimes it feels like being the underdog in this medical industrial complex, but when I’m in the birth room with women, I feel so lucky and privileged to experience their power and watch them transform into mothers.

What are your favorite aspects of working and living in Homer and/or about this industry?

My favorite part of working in Homer is being lucky enough to care for my friends and the people that I grew up with. I love being a part of this little community. It reminds me of what it used to be back before technology and there was a town midwife. I love that. I love that I get to see the babies grow up and maybe someday one of them will become a midwife and come work with me.

What’s one thing you wish more women were educated on pertaining to their health?

I wish more women were educated on their menstrual cycle and birth and honestly, most of their health. I think our society has traditionally done a terrible job at comprehensive health education. I do think it’s improving. I think in some ways the internet and even social media is helping, but we need to do a better job in schools.

I would also love more education on midwives too as many women don’t really know what a midwife is and how every woman can benefit from one, no matter where they are in their life cycle.

What’s a common misconception you notice or a question you receive about midwifery? 

One common misconception is that midwives are only for people having babies. But that is definitely not true! A lot of our work is around wellness and primary care. We are the primary care providers for many women and do all of their annual visits. Of course, if there’s anything we’re not comfortable caring for, then we refer to another provider who is.

Where has your practice taken you? What did you do there?

My work as a midwife has mostly kept me in Alaska so far. I used to work for Indian Health Services and went to different villages including Anaktuvak Pass, far north in the Brooks Range. I hope someday to use my skills globally as well!

What’s one fun fact about women’s health (or anything!) that you love to share?

My favorite fact about women’s health is that every woman deserves a midwife!!