I am a recently graduated physician, a single mom of two boys, and a reluctant rabble-rouser. I am in my intern year at a family practice residency.

I spent two years training as a direct entry midwife before starting medical school. While in medical school, I won and completed a pre-doctoral research fellowship, in which I studied labor and delivery interventions. I have written peer reviewed stuff on VBAC and patient autonomy, and not so peer reviewed stuff here and elsewhere, like Mothers in Medicine and Kevin MD.

I have some opinions on some things. The more I experience and endure, the more nuanced these opinions get. All voices are welcome, initially, on here. Just behave, mmKay?

You can contact me at hilseb at gmail dot com.

28 responses to “About

  1. Oh, I think you are wonderful. I too am the mother of 2 babies who were caught by wonderful midwives. I had a doula with me both times and can’t understand why every women wouldn’t want the same care I had! I have toyed with the idea of becoming a doula and love all things birth related. I had both of my babes at the Shared Care Maternity Clinic in Stony Plain, AB. It is a program covered by Alberta Health (so it was no money out of my pocket) that allows women to have a midwife deliver their babies in a hospital setting. It was glorious! Yeah midwives….yeah Doulas…you all rock!


    • rhonda mitrani

      I love your website and I am super happy for you that you are going to for your ob/gyn. I especially love that you are concentrating on attitudes towards labor and delivery interventions. I am also a mother of two. My first child was a c-section – and I still don’t know til today if that could have been prevented. I am happy and blessed with a healthy daughter but I was not going to give up on having a natural birth the second time after being told I could not by my doctor and his partners. I left the practice and started my nine month journey to find a wonderful midwife and had a beautiful, natural birth. What I found puzzling though was how so many pregnant women I knew at the time were so comfortable with having cesarean a second time around. I was definitely the odd one out. Good luck on your research. I look forward to reading about it. Thank you!

      • MomTFH

        Thanks for the nice note! Good to hear you got your chance at a natural birth. I am not sure if you know, but the American College of Ob/Gyn just released a new practice bulletin trying to encourage more VBACs (vaginal births after cesareans). Maybe more women will get an opportunity to attempt what you did, and might not have to search so hard to do it.

  2. anotherhippydoc

    i’m a medical student who also wanted to be an Ob/Gyn. but after doing much research on the american maternity health system, i’ve lost all my hope. my medical school is especially traditional and patriarchal, and i’ve been disappointed at how willfully ignorant some of the Ob doctors and residents are. my question is, how do you deal with believing in healthy birthing, and the current OB practices? are you in residency? how can i survive four years of training in america when i disagree with most of OBs? your advice would be appreciated!

    • MomTFH

      Well, I am not sure how good my advice is, since I haven’t even gone on rotations yet. I would say to seek out practitioners that seem to go along with your philosophy. They’re out there, you just need to seek them out. And, look for programs that are more progressive. For example, I have heard the ob/gyn residency at Asheville, NC, is a pro-woman, low intervention residency site. Oh, and read read read. Most evidence based medicine does NOT support interventions in most low risk situations. If you know your stuff and have evidence to back you up, you may have more leeway to avoid some of the worse transgressions.

  3. anotherhippydoc

    well see, i do have knowledge of the evidence based maternity care, but the OB’s i’ve encountered at my school don’t. they told me straight up they think midwives and doulas (to them they’re the same thing) are BS, without giving any reason why. and a 3rd year student confirmed that her OB rotation was one of the most unpleasant, because the doctors wouldn’t hear of different view points. and since clinical grades are important, especially in the specialty you’re applying for, could i risk bad evaluations because the teachers don’t like what i have to say? if all hospitals are not like this, then that’s great. how would you find out if a residency program encourages low intervention?

  4. MomTFH

    Well, I am respectful to Obs I don’t agree with. I don’t need to change them, I need to decide how I am going to practice. I don’t agree with them, either, but I don’t try to educate my professors. If I get into a discussion about doulas or midwives, I drop some facts and let it lie. I don’t volunteer the conversation if someone doesn’t agree with me.

    I think the most important thing on rotations is to get a good evaluation and to watch and learn. It is really hard to walk into a clinical setting as a medical student and be a crusader, and I am not sure it is appropriate. There are opportunities to discuss cases, and I think it is completely appropriate to question the way something was handled, respectfully, if you have good evidence to support it and you think it is worth it. But, I certainly wouldn’t lecture the Obs on typical standard of care like continuous fetal monitoring. Again, if I am asked about it, then I will say what I have read and be factual about it. But, I am not seeking to change doctors or hospital policy on a one month rotation. I will be looking to become a practitioner so then I can be a real crusader.

    We have the opportunity , at our med school, to choose from several rotation spots. There are several in my area that use midwives for vaginal delivery. Also, you certainly should shop around for residency spots. Go on student doctor. net (if you can handle it…ehhhhh), write to residents in the program, go to conventions, find alumni from your school and ask them where they are and how they like it. Do an elective rotation at all the sites you are interested in, if you can.

  5. anotherhippydoc


    what research fellowship are you doing? are you taking a year off for it?

    let us know about your research plans and results as you go along!

  6. I am awed by Mommy Bingo. Would love to talk to you more about its origins? You created it or found it elsewhere? Email me? belkin@nytimes.com
    Lisa Belkin

  7. desifeminists

    hey mom with tinfoil hat,

    i really like your blog and i hope you’ll have time to drop by ours sometime.

    we hope you’ll include us in your blogroll!


  8. dr.shaban

    Hello, I too a midwife from Jordan, I have doctoral degree in midwifery from UTS, Australia. I am currently working in research under the title of “Interventions during childbirth at Public Hospital in Jordan: Do We Need Change” this research project which is about acquiring baseline data on hospital practices and their consistency with evidence-based maternity care. This study involves health care professionals who work in maternity services and who attend one or more births during the period of data collection. I do a lot of search to find valid instrument to be used in exploring the perception of health care providers toward interventions during labor and find your work in Knowledge and Attitudes of Labor Interventions (KALI) survey, I’m wondering if you give me the permission to use it in my study.
    I appreciate your concern and looking forwards to hear from you

  9. just subbing so I don’t miss a thing!

  10. Who ARE you and why haven’t we met yet? I am amazed I haven’t found you before now. I’ll be hanging around now, though. *laughing*

    Re: the crap you learn in Med School, including the horridly misogynistic attitudes and actions, I encourage you to find a way to, as objectively as possible, take in what you can *clinically* learn; don’t let the attitudes soak into your psyche… know you will not treat women that way, but know, too, you *will* learn amazing things from even the most hateful doc preceptor.

    As I studied midwifery, I learned creepy, evil things that I would never do myself. Unless it was my absolute last resort before a mom or baby died. While it isn’t anything near my own beliefs, I am forever thankful those actions/that knowledge is in my bag of tricks.

    Learn everything. Retain it all. Skills that seem horrid can, in some instances, save a life.

    I understand and am so, so excited to follow you!

    • MomTFH

      Ha! I am not sure what took you so long. I have been a fan of yours for a while, and have subscribed to your blog for at least a year. Hope I can be a Dr. Wonderful for midwives like you someday.


  11. COOL! Well, thanks for that. Maybe you’ll inspire me to write more. (What the heck’s up with non-consentual writing hiatus’ [hiatuses?]?)

    Anyway, glad to have found you. 🙂

  12. dr. Shaban

    Dear Gerber
    Where are you???
    How are you? I hope every thing going will with you and wish you good luck in your doctoral work.
    Did you remember me???? Iam a doctoral midwife from Jordan who contact you on behalf of your KALI questionnaire to take the permission to use it on my project
    Iam woundering if you published something on it as you ask me to wait until you do that, did you do some analysis on it to test its internal validity?????or create subscales to determine which item under attitude and which and knowledge
    please, it would be helpful if you can send a copy from it. We are finished data collection and will start in next 2 month to work with the analysis
    I will appratiate your concern and looking forwards to hear from you


  13. Erica

    Hi there-
    I saw a posting you made a year or so ago on your decision to become an MD. I would love to ask you some questions off-line if possible.
    Thank you!

  14. milkstained

    Yay! I just popped over here from Jill/Unnecesarean’s site and that you are a mom + midwifety + in med school gives me such hope! Emailing you as well!

  15. marjory

    momtfh, just knowing you exist somewhere is bringing tears to my eyes.

    i’m done having babies myself now, but i couldn’t be happier to hear that someone down the road will have a beautiful birth because you care enough to throw yourself out there and bring some much-needed change/compassion/common sense to our system of medical childbirth.

    thank you!

  16. Hi! I am a 35-year-old hippy, (homebirthing, La Leche League) mom of two, former doula, and private-practice IBCLC who decided to study both midwifery and medicine recently–I’m pre-med right now and will finish those requirements next spring (UVA), and I’m starting CPM training next month. The CPM training is to keep me “honest.” 🙂
    I’m so happy to have found your blog. I’m trying to keep a sense of humor in this journey. I have already encountered one “supportive” male doctor who is on a med school admissions committee and thinks that IBCLCs are “just one mom showing another how to put a baby to the boob.” Nice.
    Wishing you the best in your endeavors.

  17. Tanya

    I just found your blog…hallelujah. I minored in Women’s Studies and have now found myself in Nursing School as a second degree. This following many dis-appointing years as a Women’s Health Pharmaceutical Representative. I am determined to find a way to empower women in there birthing and pp experience. When you finish med school, could you please move to Alabama. Women here are DESPERATE for a ObGyn with the heart, practice and skills of a Midwife. We have no legal options for a assisted birth here other than with a ObGyn in a hospital. Many women travel 2 hours in labor to Tennessee or Georgia to have there babies with a Midwife. Best of wishes to you in your new adventure!

  18. HI,
    I just found your blog by googling the term”medical school mom”–I am a mother of two (would like one more), age 36 and extremely disappointed with my first career. I am seriously considering medical school and would love your thoughts, ideas, opinions on going as a more mature student. How do you make it work? How do you pay for it? Did you have a career before medical school? How do you know you are doing the right thing? Any advice would be so helpful! I’m bookmarking your site right now!

  19. Reconnecting with my former blog roll, when I can find them now that Google Reader has died. Hope you are doing well! I left midwifery….and have a new blog.

  20. Amy

    Oh I am so happy to find this blog I could almost cry! As a single mom / medical student, sometimes I just crave to hear voices of experiences similar to mine. Looking forward to reading more when I find the time!

  21. I just have to say that this blog is awesome. I am applying to medical school after 7 years as a Army Nurse and it’s hard to find people that share the voice as a mother who wants to purse medical school later in life. We are allowed to speak about the challenges and support each other. My favorite so far was the Mommy Wars Bingo. So very powerful and thank you for being a lead voice with this. Good luck with your endeavors!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s