Midwife Ashley Collie feels awe and humility every time a mother cradles her newborn to her chest.
“It was empowering and humbling at the same time,” said Collie, recalling the first time she helped a mother deliver her baby.
As a midwife, Collie is beside an expectant mother through pregnancy, birth, and the following six weeks. Whether it’s the mother’s first or fifth child, it’s always an emotional experience.
“When that mom delivers her child and she’s sitting there with that newborn on her chest saying, ‘I did it. I did it,’ every single time, I still fight back tears,” Collie said.
It’s the wonder and beauty of midwifery.
And Highland Lakes mothers can now have that experience. In early April, Collie opened Support the Mama Midwifery Services in Burnet.
Collie did not become a midwife because of her own experiences of giving birth.
“My births weren’t traumatic, but they weren’t really what I wanted either,” explained the mother of three.
A circle of friends who were “birth advocates” introduced her to the world of doulas and midwives.
“I didn’t know there were other options,” she said.
Doulas, Collie explained, provide emotional and physical support for a woman during pregnancy and childbirth and for a short time afterward. They do not deliver babies.
Midwives are licensed health care providers. Along with having a national certification, Texas midwives must be licensed by the state.
“Midwives, like myself, provide care for low-risk expectant families,” Collie said. “We do all the prenatal care. I attend the labor and birth and immediate postpartum. I also am licensed to care for the mother and newborn for up to six weeks from the date of birth or delivery.”
She follows strict standards for what are considered “low-risk” pregnancies.
Collie’s career in midwifery began in 2010 when she began doula training. In December 2011, she started a midwife apprenticeship with Kim Lane. Lane, however, moved to Utah, where her grandchild lived. But, in 2016, Lane relocated to Houston, and Collie moved there to complete her apprenticeship and studies.
In 2018, Collie earned her North American Registry of Midwives certification and Texas license.
Along with providing midwifery services, Collie educates people about their pregnancy and childbirth options and is an advocate for her clients and their families.
The benefits of midwifery are that it allows mothers to give birth in their homes, where they are more comfortable, instead of hospitals and there is less of a chance of mother and newborn being introduced to disease, especially during an outbreak such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Collie keeps regular appointments with her expectant mothers. When it’s time to deliver, she and an assistant attend the birth — no matter the time of day or how long the delivery takes. There is no “on-call” midwife; it’s her.
She follows a two-person attendance protocol so one person can focus on the mother while the other focuses on the newborn. They bring all needed equipment with them. Both Collie and her assistant have CPR and basic life support training.
If, for any reason, Collie determines the mother and newborn must go to the hospital, she goes with them. She then becomes part of the medical team. It’s a collaboration, Collie said.
While Collie believes midwifery is a good option, she acknowledges it’s not for everyone.
“And that’s okay,” she said. “I want people to know it is an option though, and it may be something they’re interested in.”
One of the things Collie loves about being a midwife are the relationships she builds with her moms and their families.
“Watching that mom become a mother, it’s just hard to put into words how it feels,” Collie said. “Knowing they trusted you and that you impacted their life forever because they won’t ever forget that birth. It’s just amazing.”
For more information on her services, contact Collie through her website.