Every few months we are offering a spotlight on an Andaluz midwife to allow families the chance to get to know a midwife they might not have met yet or to take a peek into their midwife’s life!
Carrie Duncan began working with Andaluz Waterbirth Center as a midwife in 2004. Families appreciate her laughter, her friendly way of providing care, and her skills. Carrie has practiced midwifery in Portland and Jamaica – and has even been to Haiti to help after the 2010 earthquake.
Tell us a bit about your family
I live with my guy Pasha, two daughters Sierra (16) and Mathaya (7), my baby basset hound Oliver, and five chickens. I’m an Oregon native, so I have lots of extended family in the Portland area. I am very close to my grandparents and live less than a mile from them.
How did you get started in midwifery?
I got started in midwifery in 1997 after the birth of my first daughter… I was attended by a midwife, who patiently waited for me to birth my baby in my converted school bus. Bless her heart, she spent over 12 hours holed up in the bus with me on December 30, 1996. It was…shall we say, an intimate space… there was no running water or indoor bathroom. Very… rustic. I started studying to be a midwife, and attending births while my oldest was an infant. Basically, I had such a profound experience that I was hooked!
What is the best thing about being a midwife?
The best part is being witness to the birth of not just a new baby, but a new mother, father…and Family. It is truly (and here’s where I turn into a big ole sap) such a privilege to behold….there are few things as magical.
On a less sappy note, I really enjoy working with families as they become informed consumers of medical services. Providing midwifery care affords us the unique opportunity to help families reclaim their decision making power and gain confidence: in their ability to inform themselves, and do research in order to make choices that reflect their true values and needs. I am so blessed to be a partner in this process.
What is the hardest thing about being a midwife?
The hardest thing is having to be super attached to my phone.
What do you like to do when you’re off call?
Mostly I end up doing family stuff and ‘momming’ out. I am happy to be a super home body – you will often find me in the kitchen where I do a lot of from-scratch cooking. I geek out on holidays and will jump at any chance to celebrate. I love to travel, as well, and enjoy sampling all the local spoils of wherever I am.
Recently had a wonderful meal at: A Cena in Sellwood … I totally recommend!
Well, “The Poisonwood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver is a favorite. “The Time Travelers Wife” is amazing. Anything by Tom Robbins. Right now I am reading “Kitchen Confidential” by Anthony Bourdain.
I’m gonna say water, coffee, or wine depending on the accompanying activity.
I have no idea… I tend to watch them and then forget the details. If I have to pick one I’d have to say “True Romance”.
Favorite way to spend the weekend?
I enjoy getting outdoors. Going to the coast or the river in the summer, cooking a beautiful meal and sharing it with family and friends. And sleeping in!
If you weren’t a midwife, what could you see yourself doing?
I have often asked myself this question. Besides working at a health food store when I was in school, I have only been a midwife. I have been working in birth since I was 20, folks! I have a little dream I entertain, about opening a food cart…but the truth is I have absolutely no reference point for any other type of life. At this point I identify so strongly with midwifery, it’s hard to imagine doing anything else. But when I’m sleep deprived or when the politics of practicing an ancient art in a modern age starts weighing heavy, I like to fantasize about doing something simpler.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned from being a midwife?
That there is no “right” way to do most anything. To be humble, and vulnerable and empathetic. And I have learned those lessons over and over…
What are some things about you that your clients may be surprised to hear:
Confession time: OK…[deep breath]
- I drink Red Bull. And I don’t care what’s in it.
- I have A LOT of pairs of shoes…but prefer being bare foot…go figure.
- I prefer to let my man do “man stuff” and could care less about learning to fix the kitchen sink…or whatever (sorry feminism).
- And I have a thing about clean floors, and will not hesitate to vacuum. At anytime…day or night.