YNM Member Story: Marlyn Lestage-Laforest, CNM, MA, MPH

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Share your story: What does midwifery mean to you? What would you like to be celebrated in the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife?

To me, midwifery means having a strong back, standing my ground, believing in women’s power, advocating for women, being able to work with others, making things happen, possessing a supernatural power to move mountains, going above and beyond, ignoring the clock at times while doing what is right, and giving the parturient (woman in labor) the extra time she needs.

In addition, as a midwife I have to know when to retreat, when a baby is not going to be delivered vaginally no matter what. Learn to be safe, stay silent, listen to others, and/or listen to my inner voice.

Likewise, a good midwife knows how to support her fellow midwives, avoid criticizing, avoid being a weak link in the midwifery circle, and be instead a peacemaker, a good listener, a dreamer, and a positive thinker to create a positive impact in the lives of others.

Moreover, a good midwife is unassuming and does not intimidate others. She is a role model. People notice when she is not around; she builds bridges; she is calm and serene. At the same time, she is strong, loving, and carries the world on her shoulders because she is a MIDWIFE.

Tell us about your background: Which midwifery education program did you attend or are currently attending? What are your areas of specialty? Who mentored you along the way in your career? What inspired you to become a midwife?

I graduated from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ). Prior to obtaining my midwifery certification, I was a registered nurse for 18 years. In 1998, the hospital I worked at opened a maternity unit, and I then decided to take the plunge into women’s health care. The midwifery service at my hospital started slowly. At one point, there was a practice director, a Midwife Nun named Sister M, but she was alone. People wondered aloud why she was called the director when there was no other midwife but her. However, through patience, perseverance, and endurance she built the service from scratch from one midwife to a total of ten. She left a lasting impression on me. She personified kindness, calmness, and patience. My dream was to become a midwife like Sister M. However, over the years I learned that each person has his or her own attributes. All things considered, I will always remember Sister M.

Connect with Marlyn

Twitter: @MamaMarCNM
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marlyn.laforest