Kim Mosny doesn't just have a job she loves. No, she has one that has an impact — in the form of helping to safely bring new lives into the world. As a NARM Certified Professional Midwife (CPM), licensed to practice midwifery in the State of Virginia, and formerly in Tennessee, she is the owner and sole-proprietor of the Home Birth Midwifery Service, a private midwifery practice in Midlothian, Va., that serves the greater Richmond area. After graduating high school Kim completed a full-time midwifery apprenticeship with Margie McSweeney, RN/CPM in Memphis, Tenn. She then completed the clinical and didactic requirements established by NARM for their PEP Process in April 1998, and sat for the NARM written exam in 1999 and received the designation/credential of CPM in March that same year.
You will stand taller, be stronger, debate with more credibility and resonate with more self-confidence when you are an educated woman.
How did you discover your current job?
I came to midwifery as a consumer. Having given birth to two children with traditional OB/Gyn care, I discovered during these birth experiences what I did not want and what women need to be properly cared for while giving birth to their children.
My first birth, which I hoped would be unmediated and natural, turned into a totally, medically-manipulated, and very interventive one -- including an enema, shaving off my public hair, the insertion of an I.V., breaking my water at 4 cms, Pitocin augmentation, continuous fetal monitoring, being threatened with a C-section if I didn’t dilate within a prescribed amount of time, an epidural, a urinary catheter, “blow-don’t push” breathing, moving to a delivery room, an oxygen mask on my face, “Purple pushing,” a third-degree episiotomy and forceps delivery.
My second birth occurred on Super Bowl Sunday! My doctor had, unbeknownst to me, gone out of town, leaving me under the care of a doctor I had never met, who knew nothing about me, who could’ve “cared less” about my birth plan and my desire to have a very family-centered, natural birth. He didn’t want to be there, he didn’t want to have to care for me, he didn’t treat me as though this very important day for my family was important at all … He wanted to be in front of a TV with a beer and cheese puffs watching the game! He sat on a stool, positioned between my spread-wide, stirruped legs, dressed like a spaceman, and said absolutely nothing.
Personally experiencing these two very different yet both medically controlled, humiliating, detached and impersonal births, I realized that women need much more care, much more love, much more concern than what accompanies the mere “mechanics” of medicalized birth. They need to be heard. They need to be appreciated for their innate ability to birth their babies.
My third birth was very empowering and revolutionary for me. I hired a midwife, who valued me as the birthing mother. She helped me catch my baby with genuine care for my choices and needs. When my midwife placed my daughter on my belly, I was, at that very moment, “called to midwifery!” I knew that that was what I needed to do … that caregiving was how all women should receive and feel when they give birth -- empowered, strong, lovely and genuine. That calling, to become a midwife, was a powerful transformation for me.
What has been your path so far to get you where you are today?
My path to midwifery has been a long and personal vision of my own experience with birth. Being a mother then, with three little children, in the early 1990’s, I pursued a self-education route to become a direct-entry midwife, finding an awesome midwife mentor to teach me the art and skills of home birth midwifery. NARM, the North American Registry of Midwives developed the national credential, Certified Professional Midwife (CPM), which I worked for five long and hard years to earn. Since becoming a CPM, I have worked with home birth families in both Tennessee and Virginia, assisting them to have the midwifery care that they desired. I value the apprenticeship model of midwifery training. I have trained and mentored many aspiring midwives, helping four of them to achieve their own professional goal of becoming CPMs themselves. Currently, I have two apprentices in training; my senior apprentice is less than a year away from the acquision of the CPM credential. I continue to expand birth options for families in my community, seeking to open a freestanding birth center, sometime in the not-to-distant future.
Was there any one situation that helped you along your way?
Yes, of course! More than one actually !
First, there was the loving kindness and generosity of my sweet mentor, Margie McSweeney, the instrument by which my own dreams and goals came to fruition. She challenged me to always be a professional, to be ever-mindful of safety first, and then “gifted” me with her midwifery practice when she decided to semi-retire and move to another state. She continues to be one of my very best, most important friends … she is always “there” for me.
And then … there was Carolyn, a sweet newborn baby girl, who was my greatest teacher. Her brief life (she passed soon after she was born) taught me that we are not in control; that birth and death are intertwined and truly part of who and what we all are; that despite my sincerest and very best efforts to “keep her here” and to “call her into her body” -- her path was not mine to decide. She came into the world and then she left.
What is your typical day like? Does it ever change?
While there are things in midwifery and the care of pregnant women that are the same and somewhat “routine,” such as taking blood pressures and listening to fetal heart tones, every day offers me the opportunity to make each client’s care unique and genuinely important to, and for, her. I strive to empower the women in my care with positive thoughts, provide them with comprehensive care, and educate them with thorough information so that each of them can make the very best decisions about their care, their birth and the care of their newborns.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Watching women surrender to the power that is their own … unfolding and opening to release another human being from within them! WOW! That is very powerful stuff! Our children are our own hearts, outside ourselves, walking among us. Helping women to become the mothers they envision of themselves is the most rewarding part of my job! Seeing the glow on her face as she cradles and nurtures her baby, she says, “I did it … I can’t believe I did it!” And I humbly agree, “Yes, you did it!”
What is the most challenging part?
Financial issues are always a challenge! Even though home birth midwifery care is one-third or less the cost of a hospital birth, many uninsured women are hard-pressed to pay out-of-pocket for the cost of their maternity care. Thus, working with my clients to develop payment plans and financing options that enable them to pay as they go, is an ever-present responsibility. I wish women would plan ahead and save so that they can have the care the want and deserve! I wish couples would research and consider their maternity care and birth from a “financial responsibility” perspective, no different than any other significant purchase as a consumer, such as buying a car or a house. Furthermore, I wish people took the time to understand their health insurance benefits; what it all means, what insurance pays for and what they won’t, what is their patient responsibility, etc., and to plan accordingly. It is an ever-occurring challenge I face all the time, every day … People don’t understand and have no idea; they merely “expect” their insurance to pay for everything, and that is simply not the case; most pay about 30 percent of my fee.
What is the biggest personal sacrifice you have to make because of your job?
Spontaneity! Being “on-call” for any number of clients, all the time, means that my personal life and spontaneous choice-making are constrained by my commitment to the women in my care. I have to plan everything and when making a spontaneous decision, I realize and understand that I very well might get interrupted by a woman in labor. That is completely OK with me. I have made that my own choice. Everyone intersected in my life, my family, my friends, my colleagues and peers … they all understand that my plans can change with one phone call. I “qualify” everything I want to do, plan to do, agree to participate in, saying, “Yes, I’ll do that” … with the disclaimer: “ ... unless I am catching a baby!”
What is one lesson you’ve learned in your job that sticks with you?
It’s not about me; it is about the mother and her baby. It is her pregnancy and her birth and her baby. She decides.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge for women today, particularly females in your industry?
Well, just about all midwives are women, so it is really MORE of a challenge to be a midwife if you are a man. But, for all midwives, especially home birth midwives, our biggest challenge currently is being recognized by the medical establishment as valid health care providers and also having their collaboration and their desire and commitment to develop a health care system that integrates home and facility birth into the cultural “norm.” While we have many prominent proponents and advocates, we also have some very staunch and powerful opponents.
Who are your role models?
Oh my … I have a vast assortment of role models, whose life efforts have positively motivated and inspired me …
My father, Richard E. Lane, a strong-willed, dutiful and hard-working man, who taught me to be confident and savvy; and at whose elbow I discovered that I could do just about anything I set my mind to learn and to do. I love my Dad.
My sister, Michelle Ishihara, a devoted woman, sister, wife, mother and grandmother, whose practicality, humor, loyalty and friendship has been a constant in my life; always my confidant, a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on. Nine years my senior, she is my best friend.
My collective clientele … the women whom I serve. They look to me to help them create possibilities, to inspire them to be their very best, to challenge them to learn and to grow. The are why I do what I do!
And, a myriad of female musical artists, all whom I look to for entertainment, inspiration, and motivation. They get me moving and feeling, and they energize, inspire and empower me, most especially, Lady Gaga! Yes, really! She is a genius and an amazing talent. Then, there is also: Joss Stone, Melissa Etheridge, Stevie Nicks, Madonna, Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguilera, Alicia Keys, Carrie Underwood, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Cher … and so many more.
Is there a quote or mantra that you live by?
“Midwifery calls upon you to be the best you can be: the best advocate, guide, healer, counselor, mother, comrade and confidant of the women seeking your care.” -- Anne Frye
“Well behaved women rarely make history.” -Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
“The best revenge is living well.” -Dr. Phil McGraw
What advice do you have for girls who want to be in your industry?
Get a college education before you do anything else in your young adult life! English, journalism, women’s studies, early childhood development, nursing, public health, social work, finance … pick something. Regardless of the rest of your choices on your life path, the direction and decision that you make in life, love and career … and whatever midwifery credential you aspire to, CPM or CNM, you will stand taller, be stronger, debate with more credibility, and resonate with more self-confidence when you are an educated, savvy, motivated woman!