Kathe and Kaja Gibbs are a mother & daughter duo that serve Oahu women and families in the childbearing years as Licensed Midwives. They offer well-woman’s health care, midwifery care for pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and birth photography/videography! They are passionate about empowering women and creating community amongst mothers. Kathe is a longtime Licensed Midwife who provides Women’s Health Care as well as Home Birth/Birth Home Services to Mothers from the coming-of-age years, through pregnancy and birth, and completion of the childbearing years. Kaja is like-minded and a recent graduate and Licensed Midwife, thrilled to join her mom and live the dream of practicing together. When I had the honor of meeting these women, I was met with open arms and bright eyes! They are undeniably passionate about women reclaiming our right to birth at home, and to do so with a powerfully supportive community behind them!
Kathe has been practicing Midwifery for three decades all over the world, allowing for very unique and diverse experiences. These experiences opened Kathe up to powerful doctrines, educational relationships, experiences and vigor for increasing awareness in women about normal physiologic, instinctual, empowering birth and parenting! In her travels, Kathe learned about women’s health, healing, movement, bodywork therapies, homeopathy, naturopathy, and nutrition. Kathe has attended more than 1,600 out-of-hospital births in her years of practice and there is no sign of her wanting to slow down. Actually, I see an intensity in her and in her daughter
Kaja to continue their work to effect even more change in the birthing world!
Kaja moved to Hawaii to embark on a nursing school path in order to become a CNM. During that time, she became pregnant with her daughter and had an amazing, documented home birth with her mother as her Midwife. That experience reaffirmed to her that becoming a Midwife was what she wanted to do. She began her training in California with her mother for two years, and then completed her training in the State of Washington to receive certification as a CPM, and then on to become a Licensed Midwife. Kaja put her certification to work at a local birthing center, as she and her mother cultivated a big move back to Hawaii.
In my interview with the two, I was impressed by the way they complemented one another and their wealth of knowledge! They had imagined partnering together to support women in their birthing experiences, and now they are thrilled that they are in Hawaii doing just that. Kaja recalled memories of “sitting in the corner of the birthing room” when she was old enough to watch her mother assisting laboring mothers. She knew then that was her inspiration to go down the path to be a Midwife herself! It took several years to get where she is now: with much ‘due diligence’ in education, clinical training, and dedication to this work.
Kathe opened up about her history of becoming a midwife as well! She was actually in the FIRST class in the FIRST state to offer Midwifery Licensure! She was licensed in 1981 in Washington state, and after a move back home to California was among the first midwives to become licensed there. Her wonderful career is blossoming into fulfilling a long-held vision: to create a sanctuary for women, a center for women’s
health care and family wellness…a place to go, receive information, support, share… She mentions that women are very open-minded during pregnancy because they are aiming to do their best in birth and beyond. She feels that this then is the time most ‘ripe’/receptive for education and information.
Just exactly what services do Licensed Midwives provide? What are their education and training? Consumers and professionals alike are confused. It has been studied and proven that midwifery care for women out-of-hospital for the low-risk population, is as safe, if not safer, and is definitely more cost-effective, as well as demonstrates improved statistics on a range of maternal/child health matters. Midwifery care has always existed worldwide, and its resurgence into primary care in the U.S. is yielding fantastic statistics! It’s time to for midwifery care here and now.
This realization inspired Kathe to create the film: “Birth – A Full Circle of Seasons in the Childbearing Year”, which showcases Kaja’s photography. It has the intention of opening women up to the possibilities of safe, sacred, family birth in an out-of-hospital setting. It is not a documentary Kathe claims, rather she describes it as “to be experienced through the senses: eyes, ears, heart, mind, spirit! It is a visual landscape of that transformative year”
Kathe and Kaja are located in the Hawaii Kai area in a beautiful space where women come together to begin building community with events, support circles, film showings and receive personalized family-centered health care. These women are stunningly involved in the community, effecting positive change and passionate about working with women and families.
You can meet these powerful women in person, and view a clip of the film at this summer’s Mama Makeke, June 25, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm at the WAC in Hale’iwa. See you there!
To connect with Kathe and Kaja, please check out their websites:
www.hawaiimidwives.com | www.borntwobirth.com
Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition of Hawaii was prompted in 1981 in response to the US Surgeon General’s conference concerning infant mortality. This Organization was a collaboration between: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), The March of Dimes, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), The American Nurses Association (ANA), The National Congress of Parents and Teachers, and The US Public Health Service, to provide families with education for infant and prenatal care! Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition of Hawai’i (HMHB) is committed to bettering “Hawai’i’s maternal, child and family health through collaborative efforts in public education, advocacy and partner development.”
Lisa Kimura is the Executive Director of HMHB. She has actively been involved for a little more than 3 years now and sees many more years ahead of work with this organization. I met Lisa in the midst of Legislation season, which Lisa admitted is a very busy time for Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies, considering they actually lobby for certain bills and are very present at these meetings. Lisa expressed that, “Lobbying is actually really fun.” It’s a great way to effectively meet needs head-on and push for bills and issues that need to be addressed.
Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies is an organization that does a lot of work that the public sees, however, they match that public influence with work that is behind the scenes. One of these flourishing services they offer is their MothersCare Hotline. This is a hotline where women have access to questions concerning ANY of their maternal needs. This includes Breastfeeding (they can actually speak with a CLC), insurance questions, WIC questions, infant safety and care and more. They also have a service that is called Text4Baby. These are weekly developmental education texts concerning infant care. The texts update mothers on important milestones and give information on the stage in which their infant is at according to their age. Educating mothers is their most powerful way to empower mothers to thrive in their role. Providing this service is a multifaceted benefit to families! The United States has the highest infant and maternal mortality rate in the industrialized world, some of the lowest success rates of breastfeeding and breastfeed for significantly shorter periods of time. Why is this? There is absolutely no need for statistics to reflect on this subject so poorly. I believe that this is merely a lack of support and community when it comes to parenting, and I think many would agree. There are so many resources for parents and yet many are not aware of all of the support they could have, especially when wonderful organizations like HMHB are fighting to make these resources known, and accessible for every family regardless of their economic status.
Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies adapted to community needs as the years have progressed. The organization’s main prerogative is still rooted in preventing maternal and infant mortality. Lisa expressed that their mission is “Helping moms welcome babies, and get access to care so that everyone is healthy and happy.” This mission she feels is well accommodated by the multitude of expertise that each of the collaborating organizations has. “Successful breastfeeding underlies everything with HMHB.” Lisa says. The success of a mother is strongly tied to the community around her and the support that she is provided. With that said, breastfeeding also greatly reduces the likelihood of many of the health issues that they aim to prevent, so it is a huge driving force for them!
Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies works to make sure that even in the workplace women are getting the rights and support they need. They also help employers properly accommodate these women with all that they need as a nursing and working mother! A powerful force that is accessible to the women of Hawai’i!
herself is responsible for many things. Some of these things include overseeing all of the programs ran by HMHB, including Legislation, Programs, Media and Outreach efforts. She expressed that the organization is still fairly small and so they all work hard and wear multiple hats in order to fulfill the organization’s needs! There are currently only six people that work for the organization but each of them are “powerhouses” when it comes to effecting positive change in the community! One of the board members is a seasoned midwife as well, which as a birthing professional, really reveals to me the heart of the organization to support families with knowledgeable members. Almost all of them are parents, like Lisa, who is a mother of three. It’s refreshing to see parents wanting to see success and wellness in fellow parents. We are meant to parent and birth in communities, so please reach out to your local resources, there are always classes and people who are passionate about serving you and seeing your family flourish!
If you are in need of support or know of someone who could use these services please check out their website:
www.HMHB-Hawaii.org or contact them directly at
Phone: (808) 737-5805
Corporate America is full of great opportunity and deep land mines. As you climb the corporate ladder, it’s critical that you learn the career pitfalls through shared wisdom instead of personal experience. Although experience is the best teacher, learning from others can help you miss the mistakes and mishaps that could be avoidable.
Here are five words of wisdom that were passed on to me from career mentors and professionals:
- Stop asking if you can have it all. Men have been doing it for years, so the question is unnecessary. Just go after what you want and just do it.
- Balance is not only important but it’s necessary. Don’t spend so much time investing in work that you forget the ones and things that truly matter.
- Attire does matter so dress for the job you want, not for the job you have.
- If you’re in the midst of a difficult conversation via email, it’s best to type your response and hold off on sending it.Walk away or come back to it later in the day to review the draft.This will allow you the opportunity to ensure the appropriate tone and response. When in doubt, save draft.
- Do not participate in gossip. Simply don’t do it. People that you think are not paying attention, see and hear it all and your association with the drama can become detrimental to your career growth.
What are some words of wisdom that have helped you navigate your career?
An unfortunate reality centers around the need for higher education in America and the lack of resources and support around educating students (and alumni) about student loan debt. it is the responsibility for the borrower of the student loans to learn the various outlets, payment plans, and resources available to them.
For people like me, I have both private and federally funded student loans. Federal loans are regulated by the government and often have lower rates and loan forgiveness plans for respective fields. Private loans are at the discretion of the lender and often vary through the terms and conditions within the loans.
Some people accept that student loans are a part of life and plan to pay them for the rest of their lives; I refuse to be one of them. As crazy as it sounds, I’ve always declared that I will be free from student loan debt– or all debt for that matter. As I began my journey last year, I found out some things that are truly eye-opening, and worth sharing with you.
Student loans can never be included in a bankruptcy.
Contrary to all other forms of debt, by law student loans can never be forgiven into any form of bankruptcy. They are also transferrable after death (which will be noted within the terms and conditions). This means that for some, family members and loved ones will be responsible for your debt after you die.
Private Loan interests can roll into the principal amount, and it’s legal.
When I originally signed for my loans– my collective amount for undergrad was approximately 35K. during my forbearance period after graduation, the principal grew from 35K to 55K. How in the world did that happen?! Well, during forbearance periods after graduation, the maximum amount of interest accrues on the loans. Once your forbearance period is over, the lender can transfer your interest amount to the principal, essentially securing the payment of that interest for that time given. The worst thing anyone can do is continue to place student loans in forbearance when they have the funds to pay them. It will only hurt you in the long run.
Co-signers can be released.
After you have paid your loans for some time and have made on-time payments, borrowers can request the lender to release the co-signer from the responsibility of the loan. There are quite a few required steps to make this happen (like an age requirement, credit check, proof of income, etc.) but it’s worth investigating. Im sure the co-signer will be grateful.
Loan consolidation is not always best
With student loans, borrowers can consolidate (also called refinance) student loans ONE time during the lifetime of the loan. Most decide to do that to minimize the multiple interest rates, which can ultimately lower the monthly payment. For those who want to pay the loans off before the expected term end date, loan consolidation may not be best. Why? With a large loan amount, it’s much harder to pay that off vs. multiple small loans. It’s easier to see a “light” at the end of the tunnel if you’re focusing on paying off a student loan of 10K instead of a large loan of 80K. If you go this route, always tackle your lowest loan first and use the Dave Ramsey Domino effect and move to your next loan to pay off.
Student loan debt doesn’t have to be a part of our lives for the rest of our lives (and potentially the remaining lives of your loved ones). Be proactive and get educated on the options that are available to you!
Do you have any additional tips to share?
I’m currently pregnant with my third child and with this pregnancy came an extreme distaste for meat. I went to eating meat with almost every meal to not even being able to smell it or look at it. I thought this aversion would for sure leave once my second trimester came along, but to my surprise the distaste for meat only grew. I’ve been going crazy trying to take my ordinary meals and replacing the meat with other foods high in protein, because of this, black beans have become my favorite meat substitute. Beans in general pack a punch when it comes to protein and fiber. With this obsession, came my black bean tacos! We eat them every Monday in our household and they are a win every time! I hope you enjoy and you incorporate them into your diet! They are so simple, extremely quick to prepare, and delicious!
2 cans of black beans
Taco meat seasoning
1 can diced tomatoes
Sour cream (optional)
- Pour the black beans, cilantro, diced tomatoes, and taco meat seasoning into a skillet. Let them sizzle and season on medium heat.
- Meanwhile, cut up the lettuce, avocado, and onions for people to add on if they choose to.
- After about 20 minutes of the beans getting seasoned, take them off the skillet and enjoy!
SIDENOTE: My husband chooses to make lettuce wraps instead of tacos. Just place the bean mixture on first and then happily add your taco/lettuce wrap toppings on!