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Julia's Story

Generations Caring for Women

Ever since I can remember I wanted to become a nurse. 

photo by Lynn Zehr

I am sure a major factor in that decision was the influence of my mother. She went back tow ork as a maternity nurse when I was 16 and worked part-time nights in a small community hospital that later became a birth center.
She enjoyed being with women in labor and birth and respected the natural process of labor. I could tell this work was important and brought my mother much satisfaction and meaning. (I have also recent discovered my great grandmother was also an attendant/midwife at most of the births in her community in Pennsylvania). 
As a result when I went to college I majored in nursing and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. The first year after graduation I worked at Goshen Hospital on a variety of units thinking I would probably choose a medical/surgical unit. Maternity nursing was my mother’s passion and I thought I would want to work in a different area. Then a position became available in the maternity department and I decided to try it. To my surprise, I loved working with mothers during labor and birth and helping them achieve a safe and satisfying birth. 
I soon started teaching childbirth education classes. A couple of years later when we moved to Indianapolis for my husband to attend graduate school, I also started graduate classes graduating with a Master degree in Maternity Nursing and a certification as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner since IUPUI did not have a midwifery program.
I started working at Fairhaven OB-GYN in 1981 and have been providing well women care since that time. In the beginning years at Fairhaven, I also taught Maternity Nursing at Goshen College. In the early 1990’s, Nancy Loewen, a college friend and nurse-midwife, called to see if Fairhaven would be interested in hiring a nurse midwife. Fairhaven hired her to start our nurse-midwifery practice and as the practice grew I decided to go back to school to do a postgraduate course in midwifery. In 1995 I joined our midwifery practice and now we are a practice of 5 nurse-midwives.
Midwife means “with woman”. It has been an honor for me to be with many women in labor and birth at Goshen Hospital and also for the last 10 years at Goshen Birth Center.
Being a midwife means creating a sanctuary for birth and becoming a guardian of that sacred space so that women and their partners feel safe and strong in their ability to birth. 
photo by Lynn Zehr
As Suzanne Arms writes:
                “Giving birth and being born-These most important journeys
Shape each of us. 
Deeply and forever.”
(“Being Born” by Suzanne Arms)

For more information about Julia see this Good of Goshen post from 2016. It talks about her other passion, serving as a city council woman.


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