Thank you for dropping by to meet me with a cup of tea as I celebrate what was to be my first blog for Women’s Holistic Healing. Upon completing it, I did recognize that this is not a true blog where there were/are links ~ Watch for those as they are coming soon… I did decide; however, that it was important to begin with an introduction of myself and my practice~
This past year, during what I am referring to as “My COVID Period”, I have been like most women, taking time to reflect and discern about my life and where I want my life to go. I soon enough realized that my professional life began long before this moment, so I decided to have a little fun and traced it back to where it all began. This contributed to my saying to myself, “Oh my goodness, you have come a long way, and you’ve truly created your own path!”
My life has been full of incredible opportunities to serve the women of this great Garden state. How I have gone on to evolve my unique practice feels as if it has been based on a poem by Dr. Seuss, ~“Oh the Places You’ll Go”
You have brains in your head
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself anywhere you chose
You’re on your own
And you know what you know
And you are the one
Who’ll decide where to go…
People, potential clients often ask: “What exactly is it that you do?” “How did you begin to offer all the services that you do?” “Aren’t you a Midwife?”
~ My responses, “YES, I am a Midwife which means ‘being with woman’.
I midwife women in many ways besides catching babies.
This is how I got started:
Like most of us in life, whom we have become is often the result of an impression that someone has made upon you. It may have come from someone whom you knew intimately such as a family member or maybe it was someone that you read about or had an opportunity to witness in one of their various life roles such as a midwife or a teacher and you knew that you wanted to be just like them, maybe do the same work that they were doing. As for me, a number of individuals have made impressions upon my life.
The first person to have made an impression upon my life was Rose O’Connor-Connolly, my father’s mother who carried on many of her family’s old Irish traditions of baking, cooking, sewing, and working with the plants. She taught me about plants such as plantain. As a child, while under her care, I injured one of my fingers. Upon her recognizing that I was bleeding, she took me outside to our backyard, pulled some plantain from the earth, put it in her mouth , chewed it up, then put that on my finger and wrapped it up in gauze.
Unfortunately, upon my parent’s arrival home, they were not as impressed by this as I was, and they took the wrapping off my finger. The next day, they took me to the doctor. Much of my family’s traditional knowledge surrounding plant medicine eroded over time as we didn’t continue to practice our old family traditions. Instead my parents had obtained Medicaid and used the local medical clinics of the South Bronx where I grew up. But my grandmother left an impression on me that never went away.
My mother’s mother, Emma Anderson was also born of Irish parents who later migrated to Newfoundland, then to New York delivered her babies in her home in Brooklyn, New York – on her dining room table or in her bedroom. Learning this about Emma left quite a lasting impression upon me as well~ for I did not see pregnancy as a state to be feared rather as a natural event happening within a family. I believe this contributed to my becoming a midwife.
How I wish I would have had more time with these women as a mature adult…
There were other impressions that came from outside of my family that assisted me in my taking the road less traveled and helped me with creating my own path. Two of these individuals were Mrs. Kelly, RN my Clinical Instructor, and Mrs. Zito, RN, the Program Director of the vocational high school program I had the privilege of attending. These two women demanded much from us students and we rose to what was required from us. We also were encouraged by these faculty members to further our education, so we’d have more options in life. These women were right!
During my vocational program training as a student nurse, nothing excited me more than participating in my obstetrical clinical rotations on the labor and delivery, and the postpartum units along with the nursery. It was here that I was ordained to become a nurse midwife but that was not to be recognized until sometime later in my life when I became pregnant myself.
Fortunate to have been the first person in my family to go to college, I was admitted to the Brooklyn Campus of Long Island University’s Guided Studies Program (a special program that offered support to students who were poor and at risk of not completing our studies.) It was here at LIU that I studied to become a registered nurse. It was a four-year program that took me seven years to complete because there were finances to address and a baby to be raised… But I persevered and did it!!
After graduating from LIU, I accepted a position on an oncology unit where I tell many I grew up. At age 24, I was assisting patients and their families as their loved one transitioned home. I came to realize that both birth and death had transitional periods and I wanted to serve families dealing with transitions in my career. Soon enough, I was experiencing my own transition with the birth of our second child.
It was while pregnant with our second child that I recognized my true calling was to become a nurse midwife, and I began focusing on how to get there… Applying to, being accepted, and graduating from UMDNJ- School of Nurse Midwifery was a dream come true. Thank you, Universe!
Upon graduating, I was offered a position at UMDNJ working as a novice nurse midwife than as faculty. I loved these opportunities to serve the women of the inner-city of Newark as I understood their plight and worked hard to ensure that each woman’s unique needs were met. Knowing that I wanted to teach, I attended Columbia University where I obtained my Master’s Degree in Nursing, followed by entering University of Pennsylvania’s Post Master’s Certificate Program in Nursing~ Clinical Instructor Program. Forever grateful for it helped me to gain entry to the next level of Midwifery. I loved working beside and witnessing nurses taking their next steps into their professional roles.
After a period of time, I felt the desire to go back home to the Bronx to give back to the city where I grew up and provided care at Lincoln Hospital until our service closed. From there I came back to New Jersey and established a small homebirth practice for a short while.
It was here while offering support to another homebirth midwife that I learned of Homeopathy, and upon reading the book Homeopathic Medicines for Pregnancy and Childbirth by Richard Moskowitz, I became so enamored that I decided to study homeopathy at The School of Homeopathy New York and have since Certified as a Homeopath. I now offer women this option in my practice.
I also took it upon myself along the way to study Herbal Medicine.
I applied to and was admitted to the Center for Herbal Studies with David Winston, AHG. It was during my interview with David, that I recognized how much my Grandmother, Rose O’Connor-Connolly had truly influenced my life.
I recognized this when David asked me, “Tell me why you want to study herbal medicine.” The response that I gave at that moment was from my soul.
“Because I want to learn what had been lost in translation in my family~ the use of the plants as medicine.”
In 2006, I developed my own health issues and began to seek out solutions for myself. I recognized that the solutions offered by my allopathic colleagues did not resonate with me. So began my search for my type of healthcare. I began using herbal and homeopathic medicine, and learned about abdominal massage .These modalities brought my body back into alignment. These were and are the medicines that I use for my health, and will utilize allopathic medicine when indicated.
Over time, I began to realize that I was not the only woman who wanted a different type of healthcare and working in the system that I had been did not permit me time to listen to women~ not only with my ears but with my heart, and/or permit me the ability to provide herbal or homeopathic suggestions because they were not a part of the practice’s formulary. This no longer worked for me. I began pondering how to offer this type of care and before long Women’s Holistic Healing’ was conceived and born.
Along the way, I studied massage and bodywork and became a New Jersey licensed Massage Therapist and Bodyworker, and certified with:
Rosita Arvigo, Jennifer Mercier, and Claire Marie Miller in abdominal, fertility, and prenatal massage. These modalities address many health-related issues specific only to women’s health.
Recognizing behaviors indicative of trauma that women held in their bodies as massaged them or witnessed during their labors, I acknowledged that the body truly does keep the score, and that “our issues are indeed in our tissues.” I felt compelled to learn more and studied with Penny Simkin and Phyllis Klaus, authors of When Survivors Give Birth followed by becoming a Certified Trauma Professional in 2018, (through Spirit 2 Spirit). Prior to these studies, I studied Holistic Pelvic Care with Tami Lynn Kent. All of these modalities have helped me to support women with histories of various trauma, and dare I say~ ‘birth trauma.’
Recently, I completed Aviva Romm’s Women’s Integrative Functional Medicine Program. I am now offering women an additional level of support utilizing lifestyle changes, nutrition and supplements.
What I know about myself is that I am a student for life and a student of life. I love Dr. Seuss’ poem and I know that I shall continue on with further studies. ”Oh, the places I’ll go…”
I share all of this with you today, not to boast about myself in any way but to ensure that when you enter into care with Women’s Holistic Healing, you are in good hands. Each modality that I offer has been obtained with one goal in mind: to support the women that I am honored to meet during their life journey. I begin with helping women to listen to their hearts and respond to their own intuition, trusting that they know what is best for themselves. I partner with them! I still love being a Midwife- being a Witness to women throughout their transitional periods and helping them to cross their thresholds and claim their health in ways that best resonates with themselves.
Looking forward to journeying with you and supporting you in ways that serve you best.
Look forward to my official blog soon!