Meet the Midwife
Sheila Simms Watson LM, CPM, MPH
As a midwife, I approach childbearing as a normal life event. I believe that pregnancy and birth are natural processes where physical, emotional, social and spiritual aspects are influential and interconnected. I am committed to providing safe, supportive health care sensitive to a family's needs, cultural variations, religious beliefs, and economic or social status.
It is my goal to empower and educate women and their families in their childbearing experience. I support the right of each woman to have access to health care by the provider of her choice, and to birth in the setting of her choice. Having witnessed the miracle of birth with many women and in many places, I have great respect for the unique journey it is for each individual. I have come to value and respect the deep breadth of what is normal, and the power of loving positive support.
In the peace and calm of the home, sacred space is created for the birth of a new family - comfort, relaxation and respect allow for the natural progression of birthing into the days, weeks and years that follow as a healthy, intimate family.
For the past 20 years I have been studying and practicing in the field of maternal and infant health and have had the fortune to practice as a midwife for 20 years. I have supported women birthing in the hospital and birth center setting; however, homebirth is my specialty and what I enjoy most.
Carrying on the Art & Tradition of Midwifery
FIRST EXPERIENCES WITH MIDWIVES
A friend planted the seed of midwifery, which was the seed of change in my life, in 1980. I was pregnant with my first child and my friend said, “Why don’t you choose a midwife?” Midwife? I knew nothing about whom or what that was. So, my journey began! I got a book from the library and contacted the midwifery service at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City and on March 29, 1981 I had my first child with help of Midwives.
In 1983 the journey continued with a midwife attending the birth of my second child at home. She carefully and lovingly supported me on this journey of birth and midwifery. I became a childbirth educator, a birth assistant and eventually joined a midwifery study group. Midwives and Midwifery care made so much sense to me. It is such an ancient tradition. Women have been helping/supporting/teaching women since the beginning of time. I truly see pregnancy and birth as a fundamentally healthy process that is a normal, natural part of a woman’s life. Midwifery became my mission and my passion in life.
MY JOURNEY TO BECOMING A LICENSED MIDWIFE
In 1990, my journey led me to eventually move from the city to rural Virginia to apprentice with a midwife. The apprenticeship provided me with what I needed and wanted at that time, Traditional Midwifery training. My goal was to get my training and return to my community in New Jersey. However, I did not return to New Jersey. The opportunity presented itself for me to stay and start a midwifery practice in Virginia. I practiced as a Traditional Midwife in an independent homebirth practice in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia from 1991 to 1996.
In 1996 our family relocated to Northern California (for my husband to attend school). During that time I completed the process and attained my Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) credentials and continued to do homebirths.
In 1999, I relocated to the “midwife friendly” state of Florida and in 2001 completed the Midwifery program at Miami Dade College and received an Associate of Science degree in Midwifery and a license to practice midwifery. In June 2001, I established Spirit of Life Traditional Midwifery, an independent homebirth practice.
I am so honored to be a part of the wonderful tradition of midwifery supporting, caring for and being “with woman”. Pregnancy and giving birth are some of the most magical and powerful times in a woman’s life. It is a time of great transformation and change. I know that midwives make a difference.
As a midwife, it is my mission and my desire to confidently continue to carry on this ancient time honored tradition far into the future.