Hello and welcome! I’m Jane Beal, a Christian midwife who serves childbearing families cross-culturally in the U.S. and internationally. After three years of academic and clinical training, I received my Certificate in Midwifery from Mercy in Action. I have served in homebirth practices in the Chicago, Denver, and San Francisco metro areas and in birth centers in the U.S., Uganda, and the Philippines. With this background, I currently serve families as a doula, childbirth educator, and lactation consultant (see christiandoula.net) in hospitals, birth centers, and homes, alongside other midwives, providing holistic care to expectant families living between Sacramento and San Francisco. I am always passionate about promoting motherbaby health and happiness in childbirth.
I first became vividly aware of babies when I was thirteen months old and my Irish twin, James, was born. In due time, I became the eldest of fifteen children in a blended family. My parents were involved in a Christian ministry to young mothers facing unexpected pregnancy in California, so before I was ten years old, I learned from them details about a baby’s unique DNA at conception and fetal development in the womb. I have cared for infants and children throughout my life.
I attended my first birth at age sixteen, that of my brother, David. The next year, after attending my first childbirth class, I helped my best friend Jennifer labor and give birth to her son, my first godchild, Zachary. I continued helping friends and family members in childbirth while pursuing a BA, MA, and PhD in literature and teaching at the collegiate level. (To learn more about that, please visit sanctuarypoet.net.) I realized that I loved helping mamas having babies!
Later, I received formal training for childbirth work from DONA (Doulas of North America) International, BirthWorks International, and Lactation Education Consultants as well as TOLABOR (The Organization of Labor and Birth Options and Resources) and Mercy in Action. I served families as a doula, childbirth educator, and lactation counselor, and I saw many miracles. These filled me with joy and awe! I also gained experience in at-home labor, homebirth, in-hospital delivery, pre-term labor, natural childbirth, waterbirth, medicated labor, twins, unexpected complications, induction, cesarean birth, VBAC/VBAMC, breastfeeding support, and post-partum care of women and newborns, including preemies. This motivated me to continue my training to become a midwife, especially so that I could serve women in need, in the U.S. and the developing world, who don’t have good access to care during their childbearing years.
I pursued my academic studies through Mercy in Action, a non-profit midwifery training school that provides free or low-cost services to childbearing women through its birth centers in the U.S. and the Philippines. I chose this program because of its reputation for providing an excellent midwifery education and preparing midwifery students to become certified professional midwives (CPMs). I chose it over other educational programs because I knew that my tuition would be used to support Filipina midwives, international midwives working in partnership with them, and childbearing families in the developing world. I hold a Certificate in Midwifery from Mercy in Action.
Since 2010, I have served women in childbirth, working alongside other midwives in homebirth practices, in Chicagoland, the greater Denver metropolitan area, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Internationally, I have served as primary midwife in Atiak, Uganda, East Africa (north of Gulu city and south of the Sudanese border) and Davao City, on the island of Mindinao, the Philippines (south of Manila, the capitol city on the island of Luzon). In Uganda, I worked in a rural, low resource birth center as well as in nearby villages, partnering with both traditional midwives and international midwives to serve the Acholi people. In the Philippines, I worked in an urban birth center, alongside government-licensed Filipina midwives and international midwives, providing services to families lacking financial resources. I have also volunteered at Maternidad La Luz, a birth center in El Paso, Texas serving Mexican and Mexican-American women on the border.
My work as a midwife inspires my work as a writer. I write birth poems, biographies of midwives, and reviews of books about childbirth and midwifery. My work appears in Midwifery Today, BirthWorks International, and International Doula as well as the anthology, All We Can Hold: A Collection of Poetry on Motherhood, and elsewhere. My birth poems have been collected in two volumes, Epiphany and Transfiguration; I am currently in labor with a third, Annunciation. My essays on the lives of midwives are being made available in a series of volumes called Midwives in History. My book reviews appear on the BirthWorks International blog. I also teach childbirth educators certifying through BirthWorks and serve on the BirthWorks International Board of Directors.
I value a well-balanced life that includes times of rest and renewal. I love spending time with my families, friends, and seven godchildren as well as my beloved miniature dachshund, Joyful. I put my trust in Jesus and thank God for every new life that I have the opportunity to help make the transition from the womb to the world.
“I came that they might have life, and have it more abundantly!” Jesus (John 10:10)