My name is Krystina Friedlander, and I live with my husband and daughter in Exeter, New Hampshire. I’m a HypnoBirthing Institute trained childbirth instructor, a ToLabor-trained childbirth doula, herbalist, and apprentice midwife, currently finishing up my clinical placement at the Concord Birth Center in Concord, NH. I serve the New Hampshire Seacoast area, Southern Maine, and Boston, from the quietest country farm houses to South Boston apartments, from birth centers to the busiest hospitals.
How did I get here?
Back in 2004, I took a college course on the anthropology of sexuality and reproduction. We read a study on childbirth support in Mexican hospitals. I was struck not only by the better birth outcomes for the women who had doula support, but by the fact that even the women who labored alone but with a researcher taking notes behind a curtain had better outcomes than women who weren’t part of the study and who were laboring completely alone. Just the fact that there was someone there with a woman through her labor made a difference.
Flash forward to 2009, when I was living in Doha, Qatar. I met a woman who at that point was the only professional doula in the country, serving women in a hospital system that did not value labor support. She lit a fire in me to make this work my own. When I returned to Boston, I trained with ToLabor and quickly plunged into the world of grassroots reproductive health. I completed two years of training with the Boston School of Herbal Studies, and began midwifery training and attending home births in 2013.
In addition to my birth work, I love to teach and write, and my thoughts on expanded midwifery care in American hospitals were published for CNN in 2015. On my days off call, you'll find me hiking with my daughter in the woods of New England.
I have an M.A. in Cultural Anthropology from Tulane University in New Orleans, and a special interest in childbirth practices and understandings of women’s health around the world. I love to write, and you’ll find reflections on my own pregnancy, birth, and postpartum throughout my blog. I love travel. I love being a mama and seeing the world through my daughter’s eyes.
My Take on All This
Dr. Cornel West writes that “justice is what love looks like in public.” I do what I love, and I believe that what I do matters. Pregnancy and birth are sites of vulnerability where systemic oppression, including but not limited to expressions of misogyny, racism, homophobia and transphobia manifest. I believe that the work of self-love and justice looks like taking responsibility for our health, through empowered and informed decision-making. These decisions often upend assumptions about control and authority, returning authority to the individual and away from systems that have failed many kinds of bodies and many kinds of families. These are our bodies, our families, our lives, and our choices. It is my honor and my pleasure to companion people and their families through these life-changing experiences.
It also means consciously and constructively stepping back to witness the systemic oppression within communities of midwives and other birth workers that privilege particular experiences, perspectives, and bodies (especially my own, as a white CIS-gendered woman). I am committed to confronting my own power and privilege, to affirming and supporting a diverse midwifery community, to listening to the voices of marginalized midwives, and to supporting them through action.