Erin sweeney, LM

My Work

I help women embody physical and emotional sovereignty through the rhythms of fertility, menstruation, birth, and mothering.

My midwife role is to hold neutral space for women to be their authentic selves, to safeguard normal, physiologic birth at home, and to help women experience a confident, grounded, and relaxed pregnancy and birth. I provide nearly a full year of high-touch, compassionate, woman-centered midwifery care.

By the time women become mothers, or want to become mothers, most of them have grown up under the belief that experts know more about their bodies than they do. Birth is often the pinnacle of this dynamic. I wholeheartedly love helping women to understand that 1) they are their own authority and 2) they already possess inside of them everything required to give birth instinctively.

Because the truth is that while every woman walks a unique path, at our core we share collective female wisdom embedded in our bodies and we have everything we need to give birth instinctively, to find our healing paths, and to mother from our intuitive center.  Sometimes we need gentle guidance to remember or discover this.

Witnessing women in birth for over than twenty years has consistently taught me that the safest, most transformative, and joyful births tend to be the least interfered with. And that rooted, embodied women are the most important ingredient for healthy families, communities and ecosystems.

You can read more about my midwifery philosophy here.

 

My Story

Growing up in and around Washington D.C.,  I didn’t know anything about birth, ecology or herbalism, but I knew I needed to be around something more primal and connected in order to survive intact. I set out to slower, dusty New Mexico to find my mentor when I was nineteen. I knew she was there, in some form. I swiftly fell into the birth community of passionate women healers and midwives who were reclaiming authoritative knowledge over their bodies’ natural rhythms, and at same time, actively healing the wounds of patriarchy and abuse against women.  I knew nothing.  I knew I wanted to learn every little morsel of it. It felt like coming home.

Down the street from my little garage apartment in Albuquerque was an an old, dusty, creaky, lost-in-time used bookstore with a little shelf of birth books. I pulled out a copy of Spiritual Midwifery, took it home, and did not put it down until I had read it cover to cover, three times over. Suddenly there was nothing as awesome and magical as women giving birth, and there never would be.

Soon I was working at the Birthing From Within office and Pam England was teaching me how to tend to women in birth. I was enraptured by every minute of the work and also absolutely terrified by the prospect of being of any assistance to women in labor since I had never given birth myself, I had never been to a birth, and I felt completely powerless to do or say anything useful. Pam quickly ushered me out to my first homebirth with two local midwives.

My heart was trembling inside when I walked into the dark house, peeking around corners and carefully stepping down quiet hallways looking for the birth room. I saw candle light coming from behind an open door and found Monica squatting at the foot of her bed with a midwife on each side supporting her. I tiptoed in, trying to be invisible. Why was I even there? The energy was powerful and Monica was breathing hard through contractions, focusing all her efforts on her breathe. After a few primal pushes, she reached down and gathered up a tiny baby to her chest.  The midwives watched in silence, with empathic confidence and ease. I left Monica’s house just before dawn to find a glowing harvest moon anchoring the sky. This birth was my initiation into the exquisite, wild power of birthing at home.

My own first birth years later was extremely long and difficult.  I had a busted sacrum and a large perineal tear that left my pelvis in shambles even though it was sutured.  The ripple effects of that birth infiltrated so many parts of my life – my sexuality, my self confidence, my place in the world. Why didn’t my baby rotate? Why couldn’t I push him out at home? How could I heal my wounded spirit and my unforgiving vaginal tear? I spent the next decade answering these questions, working with my own grief, and trying to untangle what happened with my body during my first birth. I came to pelvic bodywork because it was the medicine I needed.

My midwifery practice now is strongly influenced by my experiences healing from my first birth. I weave all that I have learned about the mechanics and energetics of the pelvis into a fluid, evolving mix of hands-on hands-in therapies to address pelvic dysfunction before birth, and to nurture women in moving into their birthing times with self-love, confidence and clarity.

Beyond my birth and pelvic work, I love being a mother, working with plant medicine, and exploring the west.

 

Education and Training

I graduated from the Seattle Midwifery School in 2004  (now Bastyr University).  My program was modeled on the educational and clinical standards of European midwifery schools with an emphasis on midwifery as a stand alone profession with collaboration and support of the medical system. I have apprenticed with all manner of midwives, from DIY self-taught to medically trained, in various clinical settings –  home, birth center, and hospital, both in the US and abroad. I have been attending births for over twenty years and have been a Licensed Midwife (LM) and Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) since 2006.

 

(2014-present)  Homebirth practice in Hailey, ID.

(2013)  Midwife at the Bozeman Birth Center in Bozeman, MT.

(2009-2010)  Homebirth practice,  Jacona NM.

(2006-2008)  Homebirth practice in Albuquerque NM and worked at GentleBirth Midwifery/the Art of Birthing Center and with various local midwives.

(2003 – 2005)  Student Midwife at:  Around the Circle Midwifery in Olympia WA, Siri Jackman CNM at Holy Rosary Medical Center in Ontario OR, and Treasure Valley Midwives,  Boise ID.

(2000)  Doula, San Francisco General Hospital,  San Francisco CA

(1998)  Media Outreach Coordinator and Doula at Birthing from Within,  Albuquerque NM.

 

Current Licenses and Certifications

Certified Professional Midwife (CPM), North American Registry of Midwives

Licensed Midwife (LM), Idaho Board of Midwifery

Holistic Pelvic Care™ Provider

Neonatal Resuscitation and CPR, American Heart Association