The Journey to Daraluz Midwifery
Dawn M. Dana, LM, MA, Certified Midwife in Ventura and Santa Barbara
My interest in midwifery began when I read Ina May Gaskin’s Spiritual Midwifery in high school. This inspirational book resonated with my implicit faith in the natural and healthy workings of women’s bodies and my belief in honoring the emotional, spiritual, and physical aspects of birthing. Because the only route to midwifery in California that I was aware of at the time was through nurse midwifery, I began to take the prerequisites for the nursing program at Ventura College.
The road I had envisioned to midwifery took and unexpected yet wonderful detour beginning with my own pregnancy and the birth of my daughter in 1983. I was blessed to experience a beautiful, healthy pregnancy and birth with the supportive assistance of a midwife. As a young single parent, though, I could not imagine how midwifery would fit into my life. I returned to college for what I thought would be a quick AA degree so that I could support my daughter. Instead, I embarked on an educational journey that took me to UC Santa Barbara where I obtained a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology. While at the university, the beliefs I held so strongly about women, birthing, and families sang quietly in my heart.
As I began to attend midwifery workshops and experienced the power and joy of birth attending the homebirths of friends, my calling to midwifery was reinspired. My own son was born at home in 1991~ this profound experience made the song in my heart unsilenceable. After looking into all the paths to midwifery, I chose a traditional apprenticeship as the most fitting way for me to acquire the art, knowledge, and clinical skills that comprise midwifery. I began a formal apprenticeship with a homebirth midwife in 1993. As my skills, experience, and confidence grew, I took on increasing responsibility in the practice toward the culmination of my apprenticeship in 1996. In 1997, I received my certification as a Licensed Midwife from the California Medical Board.
I was a partner midwife at the Ventura Birth Center from 1998 to 2012. During that time, I attended families at over 800 births as they welcome their babies at home, at the birth center, in water. In 2012, I opened an independent homebirth practice focusing on respectful family-centered care and supported natural birth and family bonding.
I participate in peer review, and regularly attend classes, conferences and seminars as part of my continuing education in midwifery. I am also a guest lecturer in Holistic Health classes at our local community college.
I also have a deep love of travel and have often been able to combine midwifery with overseas adventures. I have done a Midwives Cultural Exchange in Jamaica, visited Robin Lim’s Bumi Sehat in Bali, been invited to attend births in Australia and Mexico, and recently attended a Cultural Competency and Global Midwifery Care conference. I am committed to improving care and outcomes for women and children on our planet. I am also available to attend births internationally for families who so desire.