Joan Norris, LM CPM
Growing up, my family lived all over the United States, in Japan, and in Turkey. We loved to travel, and always looked forward to the news of where we would go next. At 18, I moved to San Antonio, Texas to attend Trinity University and study Child Development. Following Trinity, I went to Washington D.C. for a year to train to be a Montessori teacher. My teaching experience was in San Antonio, for three years, with children ages 2 through 6.
In 1976, my husband Barry and I decided to travel through Mexico and Central America to find a place where we could live for a year and learn Spanish. We found that place, San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, and volunteered for one year in a museum of Maya culture, Na Bolom. Na Bolom was also a guesthouse, library, and private home . It was a place where Lacandon Maya from the villages of Nahá, Lacanhá, and Metzabok could stay if they needed medical attention in the hospitals of San Cristobal. After the first year, we stayed on for the next fifteen.
When our daughter Erin was born in April of 1980, Barry and I were ecstatic. We had been trying to conceive a baby for over two years! She was a beautiful little girl, and I remember the joy of holding her and nursing. She lived for four days only. Erin’s death was probably due to an infection, although we’ll never know for sure. There are no words to describe the depth of grief of losing a child, but I do know that having experienced such a loss, our healing might come by opening our hearts to the joys of life.
Two years later, we were blessed to be able to adopt a 5 year old Lacandon boy, Chan K’in, and soon after that his 13 year old brother, Chan K’ayum. All my life I had longed for children; my sons filled my heart and made our family whole. Barry and I now have 5 very energetic and beautiful grandchildren who live in Bonampak, Chiapas!
Midwifery was something I had considered as far back as 1978 when working with the Maya women who were looking for a safer birth by traveling 20 hours to come to Na Bolom. While accompanying them to the hospital, I often wished I had midwifery skills. When I became pregnant, I read and reread Ina May Gaskin’s Spiritual Midwifery, and in my heart she was my midwife. Fortunately, I was invited to attend births in Chiapas, in the hospital, at home with friends, and in the Birth Center run by an older midwife, Doña Amelia. I came to the Northern New Mexico Midwifery Center in 1997 as a Midwife.
Kiersten Figurski LM,CPM
When I was pregnant with my first daughter, Treska, I was living in former East Germany with my husband. I didn’t even know the word “hebamme” which means midwife in German. As my baby grew in my belly, my fascination and passion for pregnancy, childbirth, midwifery and parenting issues grew with her. Before my second daughter, Kaya, was born I remember driving through fiery flame colored tree covered mountains with my husband, Falko. We were discussing childbirth and pregnancy, as usual, and he looked at me and said, “Have you thought of becoming a midwife?”
I had graduated from Bard College in New York a few years earlier with a major in German Studies. This brought me to Germany where I lived and worked for almost eight years. I hadn’t thought that I could actually begin doing professionally what I was doing every day in my heart. I was so filled with joy with the realization that I could be with women and share their experience in pregnancy and childbirth for a lifetime. My pregnancies and births had just been absolutely extraordinary and just indescribable and I wanted to be with and support women in their own experience. Shortly after that, in 1998 I began my first internship at Bethanien Frauenklinik in Leipzig, Germany where I worked with 12 different midwives including two of my midwives with Treska. After researching different educational opportunities for aspiring midwives I came upon the Northern New Mexico Women’s Health and Birth Center and the National College of Midwifery– we took the plunge and relocated our family to the United States to Taos, New Mexico where I began my rigorous academic and clinical training. I became licensed in the state of NM and certified nationally in 2002. I then had the fabulous experience of practicing with a homebirth midwife in Taos for a few years. In 2005 I was invited to join the team here at the Midwifery Center. I am incredibly honored to join the Midwifery Center and to work side by side with those who trained and inspired me.
Madrona Bourdeau LM,CPM
Madrona’s first child was born with a midwife in 1976. She chose to be a midwife because of her own birth experience. When her daughter was eight months old, She started attending births as a labor coach. She coached over 150 births in the next seven years. In 1978 Madrona began teaching childbirth education classes at San Francisco General Hospital and at home. In the summer of 1983 she became a Certified Childbirth Educator (CCE) through Informed Homebirth.
In 1982 she founded Mothers Little Helpers, a service encompassing childbirth classes, labor coaching, and in home help after baby’s arrival. The main focus was to help families be successful in their birth experience, adjust to their new baby, and succeed in breastfeeding. The same year she joined a San Francisco based midwifery study group and became a breastfeeding counselor with Nursing Mothers Council.
Her Midwifery apprenticeship began in 1983. We attended over 120 births within two years, successfully managing the occasional complications while an hour away from the nearest hospital. Madrona was the primary midwife in twenty-two of those births. In July of 1985 she completed her apprenticeship and went to work with several midwives in the community.
Madrona’s second child was born at home in 1987 with the support of her midwifery partner. She returned to midwifery part-time when her son was four months old. She than moved to the Medford/Ashland area and continued working until her last son was born at home in November of 1989.
Her family moved to Portland in November 1991. Where she started attending births with various midwives in the Portland area until she met Maryl Smith at a birth in 1992. They started attending births together and formed a partnership. Madrona developed a special interest in Homeopathy and its application in childbirth, women’s health, and family care and continue to attend conferences and seminars to further her skills and knowledge.
In November 1993 Madrona took her written and oral boards and became an Oregon Certified Midwife through the Oregon Midwifery Council. The following January, She became licensed through the state of Oregon. In April of 1998, Madrona became a CPM (Certified Professional Midwife) thru NARM (North American Registry of Midwives).
After a two-year sabbatical in Seattle, WA, she returned to Portland and promptly caught her 500th baby.
Madrona was an adjunct Faculty at Birthingway College of Midwifery where she taught on and off from 2000 through 2010. She worked for a short time at a freestanding licensed birth center in Portland, and then she went back into private practice. Madrona and Maryl reformed their midwifery partnership and created “A Woman’s Point of View.”
Madrona has had a deep love for New Mexico for most of her life. Now that her children are grown she has relocated to the land of her heart. In July of 2010 she applied to the Birth Center in Taos, NM and accepted the job in August. She is thrilled to bring her skills and experience to the women of her new community.