We are a dedicated group of midwives who are passionate about birth and family-centred care. We strive to provide warm and respective care that responds to each persons individual needs. There are two teams of midwives at the clinic and an Indigenous midwife working with the Urban Native Youth Association (UNYA).
Jill Parsons (til Aug 2019)
Sarah Raeburn (Oct 2019)
Urban Native Youth Association:
Marijke De Zwager
Cora Beitel, Registered Midwife
I am a founding member of the Strathcona Midwifery Collective. This exciting collaboration brings together my love of midwifery care and my dedication to community activism. I aim to provide inclusive, supportive and informative care to all of the families in our care.
I grew up in Montreal on the traditional territory of the Kanien'keha:ka, as a European settler of Jewish heritage, I am fluent in French and speak some Spanish. After moving to Vancouver in 2000, I presented workshops on reproductive health and fertility awareness. Shortly after, I trained and began working as a doula, infant feeding counselor and youth counselor in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. It was after my oldest son was born at home, with the assistance of midwives, that I felt ready to pursue formal midwifery training.
While completing my Bachelor of Midwifery at UBC, I had the opportunity to work with a diverse clientele in both rural and urban areas across BC. Over the years, I have focused on caring for people who are marginalized in society as a result of their youth, street involvement, substance use or mental health issues.
In addition to my clinical work as a midwife at Strathcona, I co-facilitate and organize the Queer and Trans Pregnancy and Parenting Group at our clinic. This is a monthly group that provides support, resources and community dialogue for queer and trans folks on the parenting journey.
Through my work with our midwifery associations in BC and across Canada and with our college, I am deeply involved in making midwifery inclusive and accessible to all of the people accessing our care.
I am continually inspired by my community and the families I serve. I keep growing through this work and gain so much from the people who pass through my care.
When not at work I'm usually hanging out with my family, walking or running with my dog, cycling, weight lifting, knitting, or gardening. I try to get out for hikes in the mountains or to the Gulf Islands as much as possible.
Stephanie Dow, Registered Midwife
I am excited to be a part of the Strathcona Midwifery Collective. I knew for many years that I wanted to work in healthcare, but it took some time before I found midwifery and knew that this was what I was meant to do.
I studied at the Midwifery Education Program at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. During my training I had experiences working with midwives and other health care professionals in both urban centers, as well as rurally. I lived in 6 different communities in Ontario training with midwifes, nurses, obstetricians, lactation consultants, and community organizations. I also spent some time learning from midwives in Jamaica.
Before I began my career in midwifery, I obtained a degree in Human Geography and worked on a number of research projects in Toronto, including research seeking to understand the experiences of LGBTQ people in midwifery care, as well as their experiences of postpartum depression.
One of the most exciting aspects of midwifery for me is having the privilege to support the decisions that families make for themselves during pregnancy and birth.
I love seeing the transformation that clients and their families go through over the course of pregnancy, labour and birth; learning more about themselves, their bodies, and each other.
When I am not working I can be found outside, skiing, sailing, or canoeing. I’m also a novice seamstress, and a pretty good knitter. I love to cook for others, and I also spend a fair bit of time on the phone keeping in touch with my family who are all still living in Ontario.
I am looking forward to meeting you all!
Jill Parsons, Registered Midwife
Prior to becoming a midwife I worked in the fields of HIV research, harm reduction, and research ethics. I recall the day that I decided that midwifery was my calling as I walked through Kensington Market in Toronto. I realised that ushering people and families as gently and respectfully as possible through this momentous life transition was my passion and that I could combine that passion with my interest in evidence-based approaches to care while facilitating informed decision-making for clients.
I graduated from the Ryerson Midwifery Education Program in 2013 and have worked as a midwife in Toronto ever since. I have relocated to Vancouver in order to be closer to my extended family and am very excited to be joining Strathcona Midwifery Collective and continuing to provide culturally safe and inclusive care to all families.
I am a biology nerd who also loves crafting (especially sewing), baking, and generally anything that leaves a big mess. I love to walk. I feel that I observe so much more on my feet than I do with any other mode of transport and I find it crucial to my creative and critical thought process.
I am a settler of European descent. In the past, I have lived in Vancouver, Victoria, Ottawa, and Toronto with my family, which includes members of the Lac Seul, Skwxwú7mesh and Cheslatta Nations. I have three children and have myself been a grateful recipient of midwifery care. I know what a transformative experience childbirth can be for a family. I am pleased to be able to offer this experience to others.
Carolyn Saunders, Registered Midwife
My path to midwifery began in my teenage years when I was exposed to the homebirth movement in Ottawa, Ontario. Ina May Gaskin's "Spiritual Midwifery" was an eye-opening journey into women-centered pregnancy care, and natural birth outside of the hospital. It was a book I passed onto my older sister during her first pregnancy. Sharing in her pregnancies and births and seeing her approach each experience with such amazing strength and courage made a lasting impression on me. We both went on to pursue careers in Midwifery. She now practices in Stittsville, Ontario.
My formal training in Midwifery began in 2003 when I was accepted into the University of British Columbia Midwifery Program. Since graduating in 2007 I often remark how fortunate I have been to work with such amazing women and families who continually teach me more about the complexities of this work and the importance of respecting the beauty and uniqueness of each experience. In addition to my midwifery training, I have completed a Bachelor's degree in Anthropology and Biology. Anthropology has given me an understanding of the cultural diversity of our province and an appreciation of the rewards of working with women from different social, economic and cultural backgrounds. Summers spent studying birds in northern Canada in 2002 and 2003 gave me a deep respect and appreciation for biological processes, in particular the miracle of reproduction and the creation of new life.
Over the years I have been involved in a number of research projects in the field of midwifery and women's health including publishing papers in the Canadian Journal of Midwifery Research & Practice as well as the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology of Canada. As part of the clinical faculty of the Department of Family Practice at UBC I enjoy numerous opportunities to contribute to the education of midwifery students. It is work I really enjoy and hope will help expand excess to midwifery care across the province. In 2003-2004 I was involved in a project whose aim was to facilitate better communication between health care providers and their clients. Through this work I developed a strong commitment to empowering women to make their own health care decisions. It is my philosophy that a woman should leave midwifery care feeling empowered by her birth experience, feeling that she has done her very best, and feeling greater confidence in her own body. I hope that I can help women accomplish these goals.
In my free time I can often be found riding my bike, strolling through the Vancouver Art Gallery or taking a walk in the mountains. I gave birth to my daughter Violet in 2009. My own parenting journey is now something I can share with the families in my care. I look forward to supporting women and their families through their own birth and parenting journeys.
Andrea Mattenley, Registered Midwife
It was the birth of my son that brought me to midwifery. Both the birth itself and the personal experience through the maternity care system were inspirational in shaping my career. The support we received in those early years and that continues now that he is growing up inspired my own intention to build and contribute to community. My hope is that as a midwife, I am able to assist women in their discovery of their inner wisdom and knowledge through their pregnancies, and labours & births. My hope is that this trust and strength in themselves continues in the early days and as their children and families continue to grow.
While working towards my degree in Midwifery at the University of British Columbia I had the privilege of taking courses which provided training to support women with more complex social backgrounds, including training to act and acting as a doula for women in the FIR program as well as a course relating to HIV and how health care providers can support people with more complex medical histories.
My son was born in 2002, shortly after finishing my first degree, which is in Microbiology and Immunology. The significance of his birth was obvious, though I have maintained a strong tie to the academic aspect of myself, most recently through the study of acupuncture for use in labour.
Aside from work, my son and I enjoy hockey, biking, camping and hosting community dinners. While not working or parenting, I enjoy my book club, canning and I spend every spare minute knitting. I look forward to working with your family, sharing stories and helping to achieve your intentions as parents.
Gillian Prouse, Registered Midwife
I was born and raised in Ottawa and the surrounding valley and now live in East Vancouver. During my midwifery education, I worked in the communities of Maple Ridge, Salt Spring Island, Williams Lake, Haida Gwaii and Vancouver. Before midwifery, I worked in harm reduction in the Downtown Eastside.
My first exposure to midwives was through my friend’s parents, who had lived in a community called The Farm in Tennessee and had their babies with midwives. Through talking to some of my eldest relatives, I learned recently that my great-great-grandmother was also a midwife. She caught her grandchildren, including my grandmother!
Ten years ago, I attended my first births as a youth volunteer in Ghana, West Africa. Upon returning home, I volunteered as a birth companion with Mothercraft Ottawa for many years. This is an organization that provides doula support for communities experiencing marginalization. There, I provided support for birthers of diverse backgrounds, including those who had recently immigrated and evacuees from the Arctic territories.
When I’m off call, you’ll often find me out in the woods. My interests include learning about plants and their uses in herbal medicines, practising yoga and finding new swimming holes.
I see each birth as a personal rite of passage and want you to feel supported and informed on your journey. I consider it an honour to witness and be present for you in this time.
Tia Felix, Registered Midwife
I was raised by a very strong mother, and a supportive community that keeps me grounded in my Secwépemc roots and practices. My journey to midwifery began as the eldest daughter of seven children where I was able to support my mother during her births.
Our community values the power of language, stories and the wellbeing of families. For generations, we continue our teachings and share our ways of life through stories. Birth stories highlight the importance of empowerment, strength and supporting one another. Each family’s story is unique and it’s a privilege to be part of their journey. Our word for midwife is Knucwt’n which translates to ‘trustful helper.’ We are here to support and care for the family’s needs throughout pregnancy, labour and birth, and postpartum. We have always done so and will continue to do so.
Previous to midwifery, I was an Environmental Technician throughout the Interior of BC. I also organized doula outreach programs in collaboration with local reserves. I was a birth and postpartum doula for families throughout the Secwépemc (Shuswap), Syilx (Okanagan), and Coast Salish Nations.
Off call time includes running, paddling, throwing a few casts or baking for family and friends.