The Miami Midwife

Sheila Simms Watson LM, CPM

Monday, August 23, 2010

My Journey into Midwifery - Sheila Simms Watson, LM, CPM

Sharing with you my personal journey into the art and tradition of Midwifery.

Hello, I am Sheila Simms Watson, the Miami Midwife. Traditional midwifery is my life's mission and passion. I honor childbirth as a rite of passage, a celebration of life! A friend planted the seed of midwifery... which was the seed of change in my life, in 1980. I was pregnant with my first child and my friend said, "Why don't you choose a midwife?" Midwife? I knew nothing about whom or what that was. So, my journey began! I got a book from the library and contacted the midwifery service at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City and on March 29, 1981, I had my first child with help of Midwives.

In 1983, the journey continued with a midwife attending the birth of my second child at home. She carefully and lovingly supported me on this journey of birth and midwifery. I became a childbirth educator, a birth assistant and eventually joined a midwifery study group. Midwives and Midwifery care made so much sense to me. It is such an ancient tradition. Women have been helping, supporting, teaching women since the beginning of time. I truly see pregnancy and birth as a fundamentally healthy process that is a normal, natural part of a woman's life. Midwifery became my mission and my passion in life.

In 1990, my journey led me to eventually move from the city to rural Virginia to apprentice with a midwife. The apprenticeship provided me with what I needed and wanted at that time, Traditional Midwifery training. My goal was to get my training and return to my community in New Jersey. However, I did not return to New Jersey. The opportunity presented itself for me to stay and start a midwifery practice in Virginia. I practiced as a Traditional Midwife in an independent homebirth practice in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia from 1991 to 1996.

In 1996, our family relocated to Northern California (for my husband to attend school). During that time I completed the process and attained my Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) credentials and continued to do homebirths. In 1999, I relocated to the "midwife friendly" state of Florida and in 2001 completed the Midwifery program at Miami Dade College and received an Associate of Science degree in Midwifery and a license to practice midwifery.

In June 2001, I established Spirit of Life Traditional Midwifery, an independent homebirth practice. I am so honored to be a part of the wonderful tradition of midwifery supporting, caring for and being "with woman". Pregnancy and giving birth are some of the most magical and powerful times in a woman's life. It is a time of great transformation and change. I know that midwives make a difference. As a midwife, it is my mission and my desire to confidently continue to carry on this ancient time honored tradition far into the future.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Shakti Rising and a panel discussion on racial disparities in infant mortality

On September 5th, 2010 at 7:00 pm, Bellymama Midwifery & Venus Rising, in collaboration with The Healthy Start Coalition, and the Power U Center for Social Change, will present Shakti Rising at the Little Haiti Community Center in Miami, Fl. I will be part of a panel discussion on racial disparity in infant mortality rates and how we as a community can reduce this following the performances. Add this date to your calendar. Ticket prices are $10 in advance and $12 at the door, kids under 12 free. More details below...

Shakti Rising features two pregnant dancers as it tells the story of pregnancy and childbirth through multi-ethnic dance forms, percussion, narration and ritual, with a focus on the emotional and spiritual aspects. Despite the universal nature of this experience, outcomes vary greatly by race, with black infants dying 3:1 to white.

In today’s fast-paced, quick fix society, pregnancy has become an annoyance, an illness to be treated, or a pathology fraught with danger at each new turn. Shakti Rising invites you on a different journey of pregnancy ~ one that will open your eyes through the power of movement.

Join us on this day as we remind ourselves, as well as our community, that pregnancy and birth are rites of passage, sacred miracles which involve great challenge and spiritual transformation, connecting us to a distant, primal part of ourselves and a sisterhood that is as old as time.

Following the performance, there will be a panel discussion to enlighten audiences on the racial disparities in infant mortality and how we, as a community, can help to close this gap.

Ticket prices are $10 in advance and $12 at the door, kids under 12 free. Advance tickets are available online at – "send money" to Bring receipt to show.

For more information and tickets, please call 305-308-5900 or 305-308-5900 or email at Following the performance, there will be a panel discussion to enlighten audiences on the racial disparities in infant mortality and how we, as a community, can help to close this gap.

Panel Participants:
  •     Tamara Taitt: representing Healthy Start--discusses the organization, it's goals, services, history and role in decreasing mortality rates for black infants
  •     Sheila Simms-Watson: representing midwives--discusses the profession, philosophy, herstory, with focus on the legacy of black midwives, and how midwifery care improves outcomes,
  •     Margaret Hepson: representing BIHPI, discusses the initiative, what has been discovered in terms of what's causing more black infants to die, goals of the initiative, and what's being implemented now.
  •     Anjali Sardeshmukh: representing the Power U Center--discusses the organization, services offered, and how it is helping to improve outcomes in the black community.
  •     Dr. Spence/Dr. Muir/other OB: representing obstetricians or ACOG: discusses organization/profession, discussing issues in pregnancy/birth outcomes relating specifically to black community, ideas for improving outcomes.