My Beloved Teacher: Cara

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{Photo by Liz Rubincam}

I was 19 years old, attending film school at Tisch School of the Arts. I had just finished my first internship at a commercial film & video production company. I was riding a taxi home from an interview where I had been offered another internship with a prestigious media company. Suddenly I heard alarms ringing in my heart. “No,” I thought to myself. “This is not right for me.”

The next day, I called the people who’d interviewed me and told them I declined the position. Then I found a list of ten local midwives and called them all. I asked to volunteer my time for them, in whatever capacity they might need me, in order to learn more about midwifery.

Hitomi, Cara’s office assistant at the time, returned my call right away. I’m so glad she did. I don’t know what my life would look like today if she hadn’t. It would be completely different IN EVERY WAY.

As soon as I met Cara, a certified nurse midwife with a private home birth practice, I wanted to learn everything she knew. At the time, I truly had no idea what home birth even was. With her advice, I first became trained as a birth doula through DONA. I started volunteering at births. Then, instead of taking film classes my senior year, I took chemistry insteadI decided to go to nursing school so I could become a midwife, too.

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{Photograph by Liz Rubincam}

Cara taught me about honoring the process. She taught me about respecting a woman’s instincts. She taught me what physiologic birth actually looks like, and how to guide a woman through it when necessary. She showed me the grace, and peacefulness, and quiet of a woman laboring and birthing when she is completely undisturbed in doing so. She taught me that a midwife doesn’t deliver a baby, a woman GIVES BIRTH. A midwife is a quiet, reassuring presence to witness the process safely.

My days driving around with her all around New York City — getting lost, stuck in traffic, and searching for parking — remain cherished memories. I adore her patients, and my clients, who let me into their homes, in their sacred pregnancies and births, and taught me how powerful women truly are.

I am grateful that my first experiences of birth were home births with Cara. If I am able to offer anything to women I care for today, it is because Cara was willing to teach me.

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