I recently had the privilege of witnessing Shoaf (pictured above) do what she does best and it was such an honor! She was attentive, caring, and so supportive of the family she was serving. I also had the opportunity to interview her and ask her some of my burning questions. Here's what she had to say:

Go ahead and introduce yourself! Tell us a bit about your family, hobbies, etc.

My name is Shoaf Camp. My husband is my best friend and a fella I met about 16 years ago here in NWA. We moved back to NWA in summer 2019 after working in Kansas City for the previous 12 years. We currently live in South Fayetteville. We have three boys together: ages 10, 8, and 7. We love to camp and hike anytime we can get out to the woods.

How long have you been a midwife? Why did you choose this career?

Since 2018. That's a really long story that began when I was 5. I think the shortest answer would be to say that this career chose me.

What services do you offer as a midwife?

Informed Parent Crash Course (childbirth prep class), preconception counseling, nutritional counseling, prenatal care, labs, labor/birth, postpartum care, all newborn screenings [CCHD, hearing (coming spring 2021), Newborn Screen (previously called PKU screen)], blood typing for Baby, monitrice services, unassisted childbirth package [includes at least one prenatal, labs, all newborn screening during a postpartum visit (3 day PP)]

What would you tell someone who is trying to decide if they wanted a midwife?

I would ask them what it is they are looking for? What kind of birth experience are they hoping for? What made them look into midwifery in the first place? What setting (hospital or home) are they wanting for labor? For birth? I would give information on our local care providers for maternity (for both home and hospital). I would answer try to answer whatever questions they might have about care with a midwife.

What are your core beliefs about labor and delivery?

My core belief about pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum is that the entire process is a completely normal design of the female reproductive life cycle. Our systems are perfectly designed for the process of giving birth.

Are there any common misconceptions about your role in birth? If so, how would you address those?

Yes! So many! It's hard because there are so many ways that being a midwife or midwifery cafe is misconstrued. The best way I have found so far to address this is to ask questions. To ask what a person or a family know of midwifery care, have heard about midwifery care. Then I can address it with those individuals.

How, if at all, have you seen birthing norms evolve since you've been a midwife?

I have seen women and families grow to understand the power they have over their own bodies. I have seen a growth in the knowledge that how you birth, where you birth is a choice.

What are your biggest goals for our area in terms of birthing norms?

I would love to see better collaboration between our area maternity providers. I would love to see our rules expand the scope of midwives to the full extent of our training. I would love to see our area have more birthing options: more CNMs, more midwives in the home setting, birth centers.

Overall, what are your clients' most common concerns? How would you address these?

Most concerns are addressed during consultations. I always address concerns with getting to the bottom of how each parent is feeling. Then we move on to statistics for home birth, my own statistics, my training, what concerns I have dealt with and do I have training for those instances, etc.

If you could give every expectant mom in Northwest Arkansas a piece of wisdom/advice, what would that be?

First, take an in depth childbirth prep class! Take all of the free classes, then find one local with an evidence-based curriculum. Second, hire a labor doula AND a postpartum doula (unless the family has friends and/or family who will support them through those times!)

Thank you, Shoaf, for taking the time to do this interview and for the tireless work you do to ensure women and families in our area have the support they need and want during birth.