Eight years ago, Jon Gramling offered me the opportunity to be interviewed as one of few people of color working as a licensed
home birth midwife in the state of Wisconsin. I wanted so badly for people of color to know they had options — options that
allowed them to be treated with the grace and respect they deserved when they were growing babies from their very own
Recently, I asked Jon if I could write about a new pregnancy options network called POWERS. POWERS stands for Pregnancy
Options Wisconsin: Education, Resources, and Support. POWERS is a volunteer group of midwives, doctors, doulas,
educators, and activists who are committed to strengthening our communities through offering support for all pregnant people.
POWERS has a website (www.pregnancyoptionswi.org) that has an abundant, extensive and still not yet complete list of
resources for people who are pregnant and want to continue their pregnancy, including those who may be looking for adoption
options. The website also helps direct people to resources for abortion or pregnancy release. We have a 24-hour call line (608-
514-1714), where a pregnant person can speak directly to a midwife to help guide them through the resources available to them
based on their decisions.
POWERS offers support to people with questions about in-clinic or medication abortions. Our 24-hour
call-line volunteers can connect pregnant people with doulas who offer support in all settings. A list of birth doulas is also
available through POWERS for people wanting support and advocacy when giving birth.
The volunteers at POWERS recognize that pregnancy is among the most significant and life-changing experiences that human
beings can have. We believe that pregnant people know how best to respond to their pregnancies, and that they have an
absolute right to a full spectrum of options. We commit to assisting all pregnant people in our state to access the support,
information, services, and clinical care they need to make and act upon their decisions.
POWERS isn’t political, it’s personal. It’s about uplifting the basic tenets of humanity of pregnant people — that they are the
authority over their own bodies and lives. POWERS is here to accompany them as they live out their humanity, without
judgment and without agenda.
302. The number of families that have trusted me to accompany them through
pregnancy, labor, birth, and the postpartum and newborn time. They allowed me to be
their midwife — to help usher them into parenting, to help hold their baby to their
chest, nurse them, love them, help them not only survive, but also to thrive. A
number of those families have been Black and Brown families, families of color, who
face horrific birth disparities in the hospitals in Dane County.
Some of my families, regardless of race, returned to me for care, years later, to seek
medical counsel or emotional support after an abortion — or a pregnancy release, as
some of us call it. I am lucky to be called to this work as a midwife, and I never
forget the honor that it is to uphold the dignity and bodily autonomy of the families I