Hi, I'm Krystina, a licensed home birth midwife. I do what I love, and I believe that what I do matters. I'm a midwife with a passion for collaborative, empowered healthcare. I love to support clients as they grow their families, and I emphasize natural ways to nourish a healthy pregnancy and to correct imbalances in order to prevent them from becoming problems. I value traditional wisdom as well as current, evidence-based practice, and strongly believe that midwifery care provides the best of both.
Back in 2004, I was studying anthropology in New Orleans, and I particularly loved a 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 Sara, the country's sole professional doula, serving women in a hospital system that did not value labor support. She lit a fire in me to make this work my own. I then moved to Boston, where I trained with the doula support organization ToLabor and quickly plunged into the world of childbirth and grassroots reproductive health. I also took on a two-year apprenticeship with the Boston School of Herbal Studies, which opened my heart to the possibility of midwifery.
In 2013 I began my midwifery training with Womancraft Midwifery in Amherst, MA, and spent two years in an apprenticeship with a midwife in Boston. In 2018 I finished a second apprenticeship at the high-volume Concord Birth Center in Concord, NH, graduated from the MEAC accredited National Midwifery Institute with a Certificate in Midwifery, and received my Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) credential from the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM). It has been an absolute joy to be in practice with my own clients, and I love to assist other area midwives at births. I strongly value continued learning from diverse perspectives and approaches.
In addition to my birth work, I teach, knit, ferment things, focus on climate change and community adaptation, and write, and my thoughts on expanded midwifery care in American hospitals were published on Mother's Day 2015 by CNN. On my days off call, you'll find me hiking with my daughter, doting on my medicinal herb garden, or reading Slavic fairy tales. I love being a mama and seeing the world through my daughter’s eyes, and I love that she always asks to hear the story when I come home to her from a birth.
“Meet Krystina Friedlander of Baraka Birth in Exeter,” Boston Voyager Magazine, June 19, 2018
“Women in Health: Meet Krystina Friedlander,” Nourished Living, June 25, 2014
Pregnancy and birth are sites of vulnerability where systemic oppression, including but not limited to expressions of misogyny, racism, ableism, homophobia and transphobia manifest. I believe that the radical work of self-love and justice can look like taking responsibility for our health, through empowered and informed decision-making, often upending patterns of control and returning agency 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.
I recognize that individuals and families are discriminated against based on race, ethnicity, age, religion, ability, gender identity, and that this bias manifests strongly in medical care. I am committed to providing sensitive and culturally appropriate care to all clients, and am actively engaged in anti-racism activism within my own community, in the midwifery school that I graduated from, and by practicing awareness of my own privilege and power. This may mean that I will suggest a midwife, doula or other provider that may provide a better cultural match to a potential client and offer the option of a referral.
Community midwifery can hold powerful space for individuals against a medical system that is fraught with systemic injustice. Yet, the midwifery community is also plagued by these problems. My intention is always to consciously and constructively witness and disrupt the systemic oppression within communities of midwives and other birth workers that privilege particular experiences, perspectives, and bodies (especially my own, as a white cisgendered, and able-bodied woman). In particular, I am committed to listening to, affirming, and actively supporting midwives of color, because they are most able to serve their communities, and this country needs them badly.