2012 NACPM Board Members
Holly Arends Murphy Ellie Daniels Kaye Kanne
Tanya Khemet Audrey Levine
Holly Arends Murphy, CPM
I was born in 1977 at a small hospital in northern Michigan, and am the eldest of five daughters born within 7 years. Mine was the first vaginal birth on my mother’s side of the family in three generations, and was a “textbook labor,” according to my mother. My childhood memories are full of images of my mother pregnant or nursing, and from an early age I took a strong interest in babies and their care.
I enrolled at Saint Mary’s College, a small liberal arts women’s college, in 1995. There I developed an interest in ethics, particularly medical ethics, and graduated with a double major in Religious Studies and Philosophy and a minor in Justice Education in 1999.
After college I spent three years living and working in a community of people with disabilities in Tacoma, Washington. During my time in there, I had a friend and a sister who, coincidentally, had both become unintentionally pregnant. Each chose adoption for their babies. My friend chose a homebirth; she birthed her baby at home, nursed that sweet boy for three days, and then drove him to his new family to begin his life. My sister concealed her pregnancy, drove herself to the hospital, birthed her baby alone with an epidural, and drove herself home without a baby. The contrast between these two experiences inspired my interest in midwifery.
I enrolled at Birthwise Midwifery School in 2002. After attending homebirths in Maine with several midwives and at a birth center in Davao, Philippines, I became a CPM. I opened Birch Moon Midwifery, a private, independent practice, in the summer of 2005.
My practice is small; it does roughly a dozen births a year, and is deeply rooted in education, informed choice, and family-centered care. Most of my care is in clients’ homes. Though not efficient, it is a very satisfying model of care. Developing deep relationships with clients feeds my soul—and my social network as it turns out.
I am also a faculty member at Birthwise, having taught there since 2005. The school is a three-hour drive from my home, and while it makes no practical sense for me to continue teaching there, I love it. It makes me a better and more-informed midwife, and the energy, enthusiasm, and passion of aspiring midwives is contagious.
I began volunteering with NACPM several years ago as the membership coordinator, and in 2011 joined the board, by appointment, as treasurer. I’m passionate about engaging the next generation of midwives in leadership, and in envisioning the future of midwifery. I am the youngest member of the board by several decades.
The treasury has been my primary work on the board. My mission has been to bring some order, consistency, and discipline to our finances. NACPM is in the midst of transitioning from a small, volunteer organization to a larger, well-organized and well-funded professional organization. This transition has complicated our bookkeeping, and my work has been to clean up our books a bit and to create policies and structures that will serve NACPM into the future.
My other interest is expanding membership and member services. I would love to see NACPM grow into a vibrant, active, and engaging professional organization. I want our work to be so compelling that CPMs recognize NACPM as a primary supports for their work as midwives.
My husband, Matthew, and I live together in Penobscot, Maine with our sons Linus (2 ½ years) and Odin (9 months). Both boys were planned homebirths, but were born by cesarean after lengthy labors. They are precocious (both walked at 7 ½ months) and lively fellows and keep us running most of the time. Matt is the editor of WoodenBoat magazine. We spend our time together as a family sailing our wooden yawl, hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, and playing.
Outside of midwifery, I also love craft. I have a passion for food—cooking, baking, fermenting, preserving, and, of course, eating. I am interested in the way food touches politics, policy, culture, and health, and in how it draws people together. I love wool (knitting, weaving, felting), clay (I was a potter, and taught pottery to children before my life as a mother), and wood. Our children are developing their own interests and aptitudes for handwork, as well.
Despite the challenges of being a busy mother, midwife, and educator, I enjoy and am inspired by the work and women of NACPM.