Linda Graf

Linda Graf

As a young nurse in the mid 1970’s after several years of working in Labor and Delivery at a high-risk perinatal center, I slowly came to the conclusion that I had to become a midwife. I was newly married and had been doing A LOT of reading.

Ina Mae Gaskin had just published her manifesto: “Spiritual Midwifery”. Frederick Leboyer and Michele Odent were publishing their work on “Birth without Violence” and water birth. I KNEW what kind of prenatal care and birth I would be looking for when my husband and I were ready to start our family, but at that time in Chicago, options were limited. I realized that I had to become the ‘change’ I wanted to receive.

I was fortunate to be accepted into the University of Illinois’ Nurse-midwifery program. I sought out mentors who shared my philosophy and passion for childbirth alternatives, non- violent birth, and woman-centered care.

Following my graduation, I worked at Cook County Hospital as one of their 25 member midwifery service so that I could gain the skills and wisdom necessary to provide the best possible care to women and families while at the same time giving that same care to those who normally would not have access to such compassionate excellence.

Fast forward 35+ years! I eventually opened the first home-birth midwifery practice in Illinois. I continued to teach midwifery and do home births for the next 20 years. Eventually, the health needs of elderly parents required that I close my homebirth practice where upon I returned to working as a CNM in the hospital setting.

Following the closure and move of our hospital practice, teaching took on a bigger role in my life and with it came the opportunity to complete my Doctorate of Nursing Practice.

In the summer of 2014, I was able to re-connect with my former home-birth- client-long-time- friend, Hillary Kieser, to then begin volunteering as a part-time midwife at Gentle Birth Care, Inc. It is my dream come true to be able to once again follow my passion for serving women with such a stellar group of ‘like-minded’ professionals.