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Education, support and advocacy for birth and wellness choices across Hawai'i

Latest News

  • 19 Mar 2024 1:15 PM | PBC Staff (Administrator)

    Dear PBC friends and family,

    I first encountered Pacific Birth Collective in 2020 after the events of the year inspired a very serious soul searching and new creative energy. At the time, I was a single woman with no children, and was talking story with a dear pregnant friend about her most recent home birth and the birth that she was currently anticipating. She casually mentioned how she found her midwife on the PBC directory, and I didn’t think of it again until I became pregnant for the first time in early 2022 and found my midwife on that same directory. 

    These foundational moments were the catalysts of my support of this incredible organization. Through the years I have watched in awe of these ladies rising to the occasion and becoming a pillar in our local community.  From establishing the physical space in Haiku, responding to the ever-changing needs of the Maui community in the aftermath of the 2023 fires, and actively participating in advocacy efforts for ohana issues, I am so wholeheartedly proud of this organization and all that they have accomplished.

    I'll admit it: I’m obsessed with birth. I can’t pinpoint exactly when this happened but at least 50% of my time spent on social media is watching birth content. When I became pregnant with my daughter, I had already considered many of the specifics of my pregnancy and birth plan, with all of the evidenced-based, physiological-birth data to back. I knew I wanted a home birth and the PBC directory was how I began the search for my midwife, and how I would eventually become connected with Kii Kahoohanohano, my pale keiki of choice.

    After getting to know me and my ‘ohana, Kii referred me to PBC’s Community Birth Project, connecting me yet again to another of this organization’s amazing offerings. Because of the Community Birth Project, I was able to receive prenatal and postpartum care from my doula, Makalani Franco-Francis.  As a first time mother who ended up with a Cesarean instead of the home birth that I had worked so hard for, this team of practitioners held me through some of the most challenging and most beautiful moments of this chapter, if not the entirety, of my life.

    So this is where I land, right in the midst of everything that has blossomed after years of big dreams and hard work at the hands, minds, and hearts of many brilliant women. I bring an eclectic career that has allowed me to think outside the box and learn from some of Maui’s distinguished industry and community leaders. I am honored to have the PBC team’s trust as we look toward the future and integrate our recent growth. And to our many supporters, volunteers and donors: Mahalo nui for allowing us to do this essential work. I’m so glad that you see the same potential in PBC that I do.

    With gratitude,

    Morea Mendoza

  • 2 Nov 2023 2:18 PM | PBC Staff (Administrator)

    A threat to reproductive justice anywhere is a threat to reproductive justice everywhere. SisterSong defines reproductive justice as "the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities." 

    The continued terrorist attacks on the Palestinian people, the historical and current violence against Jews in Israel and around the globe, and the hate crimes that have increased as a result of propaganda, are all a threat to reproductive justice. 

    As we focus on recovery in our own island community, we send love and light to other communities experiencing tragedy and hardship and we stand with all of those who are committed to peace and justice. As an organization whose mission is education, support, and advocacy in birth and wellness choices, our hearts are with the suffering mamas, babies, and families. 

    If you are experiencing a crisis and would like support, please reach out to the following organizations:

    ·        Crisis Text Line

    ·        NAMI - Mental Health Crisis and Suicide Prevention helpline

    ·        Mental Health America - Resources for Immediate Support

    If you are unfamiliar with the war happening, or its ramifications around the globe, we encourage you to engage in learning on this topic. 

    ·        North American Rabbi's Call for International Intervention 

    ·        Breaking the Silence Joint Letter

    If you want to engage: 

    ·        Midwives call on ACNM to support ceasefire

    ·        Birthworkers for a Free Palestine

    If you want to donate to affected women and girls: 

    ·        The United Nations Sexual and Reproductive Health Agency 

  • 30 Oct 2023 1:29 PM | PBC Staff (Administrator)

    As the weeks go on, the immediate crisis of the fires has settled into the ongoing struggle for displaced families to survive. The stories have shifted from families outrunning the fires to emergency births in hotel rooms, postpartum mamas leaving the hospital with no place to go, and families with small children struggling to meet their basic needs.

    Maui has faded from the national spotlight, but we are still here. Pacific Birth Collective, along with our community partners and volunteers, are working every day to help Maui families as they navigate the aftermath of the disaster. As the thousands of people who lost homes and family face uncertainty and further displacement in the coming weeks, the need has become even more dire for many.

    Here at PBC, we wanted to share with you, our community and donors, some of the things we’ve been doing to help with your support.

    Honokowai Healer Hui

    Impact: 40 to 60 families per day served with healing services and essential supplies

    The powerful work of the practitioners at Healing Hui continues to serve displaced and affected families. Under Costco tents at a central beach park on the Westside, a dedicated and rotating group of healers offer services including but not limited to lomilomi, deep tissue massage, naturopathic trauma-informed healing which incorporates hands-on modalities, nervous system reset technique, chiropractic, laʻau lapaʻau, prenatal care, postpartum and breastfeeding support and acupuncture.

    The Hui also functions as PBC's Westside distribution hub for those on the Westside needing supplies for their growing families, like diapers and wipes, Ergo carriers, organic formula, strollers, and so much more. The Hui also makes and offers natural and homeopathic medicines, vitamins, and supplements.

    Those being served have experienced the loss of loved ones, loss of income and businesses, and loss of home and place. Trauma can cause emotional, psychological, and physical pain, and many of these folks are at risk for respiratory issues from the fire’s residual toxic ash. Many face potential homelessness, poverty, and immense trauma, and the stress can exacerbate physical ailments. Human touch, connection, and care are essential for healing.

    Before the fires, the situation on the Westside was already dire, with no hospital and limited medical support. The nearest hospital is 30 miles away, and ambulances are scarce. This type of on-the-ground support is essential to keeping people safe and healthy. In addition to all of the healing services, in-person support for two births and four hands-on prenatal care consultations were provided to women who were affected by the fires just this past week.

    The Hui has a consistent need for volunteer healing practitioners. If you'd like to get involved, please let us know.

    Affected people receive healing services at Honokowai Beach Park on the Westside of Maui

    Aloha ʻĀina Distribution Center

    Impact: Over 1000 impacted families served, and over 300 displaced families served. 65,000 items distributed. 37 postpartum bags delivered to mothers.

    Back in Haʻikū on the other side of the island, our distribution center continues to deliver custom care packages of diapers, wipes, postpartum supplies, and other essentials to families in need.

    Right now, those who have been displaced are prioritized, but no family in need is being turned away, as many families have lost jobs, businesses, and income as a result of the disaster.

    Families or advocates fill out this form to indicate their needs and goods are delivered straight to families. We are still partnering with Maui Rapid Response to meet the specific housing needs of pregnant moms, keiki, and newborns. If you need or can offer housing, please check out their new program, Maui Hale Match.

    With PBC’s support, the labor and delivery team of nurses at our local hospital facilitated the delivery of 37 bags of diapers, vitamins, diaper cream, and all the essentials for displaced mothers who gave birth in the hospital.

    The Donation Center is currently open Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 11 am to 3 pm at 810 Kokomo Road, Haiku HI 96708 Suite 170.

    Volunteer Opportunity: We often need help with sorting donations, putting together orders that come in, delivering orders out to the community, organizing & taking inventory. To sign up for notifications and communicate with center leads, please join this WhatsApp group.

    Wellness Wednesdays

    Impact: 8-10 served weekly

    Wellness Wednesdays have been running each Wednesday morning from 10 am - 12 pm in the Aloha ‘Āina Center, serving those in need with free services like massage therapy, acupuncture, and other healing practices. Families drop in for care and to relax with the community as needed. In recent weeks, it has become a safe space for pregnant and postpartum mothers to come together and connect.

    One mother who lost her home in Lahaina shares: “With two parents and three young children, the stress is relentless. Bringing joy to our keiki is our priority. PBC has on numerous occasions since 8/8 provided us with unexpected relief and Joy. For volunteer staff, they function better than many city, county, state, and federal organizations. Wellness Wednesdays are essential to pausing the madness for a moment. Mahalo nui loa.”

    Community Birth Project

    IMPACT: 59 families served with birth and postpartum doula care, midwifery services, and lactation support. 13 displaced families served

    It’s well documented that intense trauma and disaster can cause increased risk for perinatal outcomes. In the days and weeks immediately following the fires, midwives and doulas in our collective jumped into action, delivering babies and caring for pregnant mothers and newborns.

    In response to their work, we developed our existing program, the Community Doula Project, to increase capacity and are happy to announce the Community Birth Project, which connects families who need birth, postpartum, and lactation support with professionals.

    Many of these professionals, all of them women and small-business owners, have been volunteering their time to help displaced and affected families. With this program, we can support these women, all dedicated members of this community and advocates, to do the work to help the most vulnerable in this crisis.

    In the works...

    Mobile Unit:

    We’ve been working diligently with our community partners and staff to get our mobile clinic up and running. The van recently took its maiden voyage to the Westside to deliver essential supplies to families. In the coming weeks and months, it will be used by practitioners to run prenatal and postpartum clinics and deliver essential supplies. We are so excited to be able to serve our most vulnerable with this important asset. Stay tuned for the results of this program.

    Holiday Distribution:

    We are also working with a partner organization Family2Family to serve displaced children with holiday gifts. We can’t wait to share the results of this joyful initiative with you.

    Want to support our work? Please consider making a tax-deductible donation.

    Mahalo for your ongoing support. The work we do could not be done without you.

    Mālama pono,

    PBC Board & Staff

  • 30 Oct 2023 1:20 PM | PBC Staff (Administrator)

    Pacific Birth Collective board member and pale keiki Kiʻi Kahoʻohanohano and cultural practitioner Laulani Teale are in Geneva, Switzerland at the United Nations with the Center for Reproductive Rights. They presented a report on the human rights violation involving Hawaiʻiʻs criminalization of traditional midwifery among other issues involving the maternal healthcare crisis in the United States. For history on this topic, please read here.

    Kiʻi and Laulani are working alongside the Center for Reproductive Rights and the Indigenous People's Working Group, advocating for multiple injustices occurring in the occupied nation of Hawaiʻi.

    The report, entitled “Retrogression in U.S. Reproductive Rights: The Ongoing Fight for Reproductive Autonomy” describes the human rights abuses presently occurring in the U.S. with regard to sexual and reproductive health and rights.

    The report details how legal restrictions on midwifery are rooted in racism, and describes how the criminalization of midwives disproportionately harms Black and Indigenous

    communities, undermining reproductive health and autonomy. Native Hawaiian and Polynesian women have the highest maternal mortality rates in the United States, more than 450% higher than white women, with 80% of deaths deemed preventable. These numbers represent the system that oppresses traditional methods which are the answer to filling in the gaps to care for low-income, rural, and families of color. It is statistically proven that culturally competent care significantly increases positive birth and health outcomes.

    To be clear, this advocacy is not about trying to eliminate midwifery licensure in Hawaiʻi. We are not against licensure, we are against forced licensure and therefore forced assimilation and erasure of cultural and religious practices which has been the result of forced licensure for at least a century in America. Pacific Birth Collective strongly supports our licensed midwives. These midwives are our friends and allies, and we believe their work is essential and necessary. However, the way the law currently stands in Hawaii contributes to cultural erasure during a time when we need cultural wisdom and expertise more than ever.

    PBC stands for choice. This advocacy is about ensuring that our communities will always get a choice about where and with whom they decide to give birth.

    Press Release: UN Report: Hawai’i’s midwifery licensure law, Act 32, violates Human Rights

  • 21 Aug 2023 11:39 AM | PBC Staff (Administrator)

    Less than two weeks ago, Maui woke up to the horrific news that our beloved Lāhainā town, birthplace of kings and queens and hometown to many deeply-rooted local families, had burned to the ground. Fueled by shock, we, alongside our community, jumped into action to support survivors. Over a week later, the around-the-clock efforts by our board, staff, and volunteers have resulted in a coordinated and dedicated effort fueled by grief, love, and our knowledge of the immense need of the mamas and babies displaced by the Westside and Kula fires.

    During the initial crisis, PBC was on the ground from day one. In the immediate aftermath, we delivered essential supplies to stranded families via boat and jet ski who were cut off from all communication, camping at the beach in their cars.

    We continue our daily boots-on-the-ground work with several of our team stationed on the westside to meet the needs of pregnant and postpartum mothers. Our board member Ki’i Kahoohanohano has mobilized a Healing Hui, activating a network of traditional healers to begin to heal the deep trauma experienced by survivors. 

    At our donation and distribution center at the Aloha ʻĀina Center on the other side of the island in Haiku, dozens of volunteers are receiving and sorting donations, filling orders from families, and delivering packages of goods to families. Every parent knows that “diapers,” “formula,” and every other baby need are not one-size fits all. Babies have sensitivities, allergies, and are different sizes, and pregnant and breastfeeding mothers have specific needs of their own. With this method, we are able to get families exactly what they need. Families or advocates fill out this form  to indicate their needs, from strollers to diaper cream, and volunteers deliver goods right to families. We've served almost 200 families with this direct support. 

    We’ve partnered with multiple organizations, such as Maui Rapid Response, to meet the specific housing needs of pregnant moms, keiki, and newborns.  Weʻve also received much-needed supplies from amazing organizations like Baby2Baby and the Hawaii Diaper Bank as well as from numerous local and national businesses. We are so grateful.


    Through our hundred-strong network of birth providers on our directory, we are also getting these families the pregnancy, birth, and postpartum support they need. From doulas to midwifery care to trauma-informed bodywork, our birth workers are going directly to families to offer ongoing support. 

    We have housed three families due to give birth in the next couple of weeks, including a mother with three children who was in labor with no place to go but the shelters when she got out of the hospital. We have also been blessed by our partnership with the Aloha ʻĀina Center in Haʻikū. We are now operating two rooms in the center, one for our distribution efforts and another to do the healing work that mamas and babies need. We will start this weekend with a Hāpai Circle and a MotherBaby Circle on Saturday, August 27.

    Additionally, we are so grateful to have received an emergency grant from the Hawaii Community Foundation  to purchase a mobile care van that will hit the ground running as early as next week. This van will be staffed with local professionals and birth workers who will provide care in the field. We’ve have pending grants from other community partners that will fuel this important work. 


    Amongst all this work, PBC partnered with Hungry Heroes Hawai‘i and Privateer to provide Starlink wifi access to affected families. Without power or cell services for days, many on the westside were left with no way to contact family or begin connecting themselves to essential services. We built solar power remote systems and employed them at resource centers, food distribution sites, community hubs, and medical hubs with an emphasis on local and Native Hawaiian Communities. 15 have been installed so far with plans to install a dozen more. 


    Amidst this crisis response, we have received an outpouring of support from local and national businesses as well as funding through grants and direct donations. We are endlessly grateful for the much-needed support. We've received many small donations that represent the hearts and care of our community. We understand the deep kuleana that we have to be great stewards of this energy that is coming toward us. With that in mind, we are in the process of updating our website so that we can more efficiently communicate the impact that this funding is having right now, and the impact that it will continue to have in the weeks, months, and years ahead. We commit to full transparency during this process. We acknowledge that local and indigenous people experience disparities at increased levels across all aspects of society, especially in times of crisis, and with this in mind, we commit to involving indigenous voices in every decision. We will be listening deeply to the needs of our community so that we can meet their needs with efficiency and care.

    PBC is a truly grassroots organization that was started with a lot of heart and very little funding. It has always been driven by the hearts and love of the Maui women whose life’s work it is to meet the needs of other mamas during the special and incredibly vulnerable time of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. Right now, we are being named among powerful organizations such as the Maui Food Bank and the Hawaii Community Foundation. We are humbled before this support and we are determined to meet the challenge.  There is much work to do, now and in the years and decades to come, and we will be here through it all. 

    As  we continue to grieve for the loved ones lost, homes destroyed, and lives changed forever, we’re committed to supporting not only the immediate relief efforts but strategizing for long-term resiliency. 

    Mahalo nui, 

    PBC Board & Staff 

  • 12 Aug 2023 11:35 AM | PBC Staff (Administrator)

    It’s been 72 hours since the Lāhainā fires. The stories have flooded in: Families who fled with no warning through pitch-black smoke with only their children, parents who jumped into the ocean with kids in their arms to escape the flames, and a single mom who spent two nights stranded, sleeping in her car with her baby with no supplies.

    In those hours, the Maui community mobilized in force. There have been countless hands, seen and unseen, sharing skills, items, food, hugs, houses, boats, airplanes, and trucks.  

    Here at Pacific Birth Collective, we’ve mobilized for the families. We’ve witnessed a constant stream of donations from mothers towing children, giving all the things they know a mom who has lost it all will need. We’ve had dozens of volunteers show up, sharing their skills, time, and hearts, sorting clothes, packing trucks full of diapers, wipes, and baby clothes, and delivering breast pumps and postpartum supplies to stranded mothers and families.

    Since the disaster, PBC has gathered and distributed approximately thousands of diapers and wipes, dozens of pounds of formula, and hundreds of bags of clothing, over 100 boxes of period products directly into the hands of those who need it most. We’ve housed families with newborns. Our board members and staff have been receiving baby formula at the airport after dark, staying up nights to write grants, and delivering diapers and other essentials to Lahaina via boat. We are humbled in deep gratitude for this outpouring of support to those who need it most right now.

    At this moment, the need is urgent. Mamas and babies need our help. And when the smoke clears, they will still need our help.

    What can I do to help?

    Please consider donating. We are endlessly grateful for the supplies, but right now, as we send the supplies out to those in need, funding is our number-one priority.

    Funding will go directly into the hands of impacted mothers, children, and families. If you know impacted families, please help them fill out this form: Direct support for families 

    If you want to volunteer, please fill out this form

    If you are an experienced birth worker or provider on Maui that can volunteer services: fill out this form.   

    We also have the opportunity to purchase a mobile clinic, which could be staffed by local professionals and take prenatal and postpartum care into Lahaina and later into our rural communities where it is acutely needed.

    We will still need volunteers over the coming weeks and months. Please check our Instagram, which will be updated daily with specific needs.

    Tax-deductible donations can be made here on our website

    Mahalo for your consideration.


    For those of you who are new to our organization, welcome and mahalo for your support. You can read our origin story here

    We opened our center at the Aloha ‘Āina Center in Hāʻiku just a few short weeks ago. We never imagined that this would be our grand opening, but it’s fitting. Pacific Birth Collective was founded as a grassroots, unpaid labor of love to respond to a deep need in our community, and with this tragedy, we are growing according to that need. And, just as before, we need your help to get there.

    This is just the very beginning of a sprint that will turn into a marathon, which will then turn into simply our everyday lives, and we will still be here. The need will still be here. Even before the fires, Lāhainā did not have a hospital, just as our rural communities like Hāna and Kahakuloa are without prenatal, birth, or postpartum care options.

    5 years ago, PBC hosted Robin Lim of the Bumi Sehat birth center   in Indonesia to teach a workshop called Birth in the Era of Climate Change. Robin was trained in rescue response to the 2004 Indonesian earthquake and tsunami. We learned what it would take to respond to this crisis, alongside Jacquelyn Ingram of Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies on Oahu, who is here on Maui mobilizing her programs for the good of the community. Our mentors have prepared us for what was to come and to meet this moment.

    To the families displaced and dispossessed: We see you, and we will do everything we can to help you. To the women who have logged hundreds of hours in our center, we see you. To the uncles, brothers, and fathers who have shown up for the most vulnerable, your efforts are also seen. To the grandmas who are at home watching kids so that others can help, you are the foundation. And to the mamas at home with kids, aching to do more to help, aching for the mothers who lost everything – we see you, too. Know that the job you are doing is essential even as it is unseen. You are raising the next generation of compassionate humans that will join Maui’s community, humans that will also know how to show up to help their community and meet their kuleana. 

    We see you all, and we are proud and humbled to stand next to you in community. Mahalo nui.

  • 30 Apr 2023 9:35 AM | PBC Staff (Administrator)

    As of July 2023 the State of Hawai'i has mandated Midwifery Education through programs that are not accessible to Hawai'i Residents meaning that we have no Native Hawaiian Licensed Midwives in the entire state.  

    Additionally they have denies access a nationally recognized Apprenticeship Training Pathway which would help local women to become midwives and access midwives in their own communities.   

    In the January 2023 Legislative Session:  HB955  and Companion bill SB1047  were introduced with overwhelming support.  HB955 received over 1200 supportive testimony and passed successfully through the House Committee on Health and Consumer Protection.  Unfortunately it stalled in the House Finance Committee.   SB1047 was not introduced in the 2024 session. 

    Since these are BIENNIUM Bills (Two-year term of legislative activity), these Bills will pick up where they left off at the Beginning of the next legislative session in JANUARY 2024. 

    In Support of Midwifery Exemption and Expanded Access:

    Over 1300 public and organizational testimonies

    • Hawai’i Department of Consumer Affairs, DCCA: verbally testified in support of permanent exemption of Birth Attendants & verbally testified they would enforce regulation of Birth Attendants.
    • North American Registry of Midwives, NARM: the certifying body for licensed midwives in Hawai'i as defined in HRS457-J
    • Papa Ola Lokahi, supporting the exemption since no Kupuna Council has yet to be formed in protection of Native Hawaiian Practitioners
    • Maui County Council, Resolution 23-28
    • Mayor Bissen, Maui County
    • Hawaiʻi County Council, Resolution 57-23
    • Kauai'i County Council, Resolution 2023-31
    • American College of Nurse-Midwives, ACNM, Hawai’i Chapter
    • United Nations
    • National Aboriginal Council of Midwives, NACM
    • 32k + Women and families around the world who have signed our petition!

    Media Coverage:

    Mar 2023 Maui News Now: Midwifery licensing bill reaches crucial deadline

    Mar 2023 Hawai'i News Now, Mahealani Richardson: Fearing the future of their work, traditional midwives rally at state Capitol 

    Mar 2023 Hawai'i News Now: Hawaii midwives stage sit-in, saying their services could be banned without legislative action

    Feb 2023 Civil Beat: Midwives will soon need a license, Many Push Back 

    Feb 2023 Hawai'i Public Radio: Midwifery Licensure Laws up for debate at State Legislature

    Stay tuned for 2024!! 

  • 2 Nov 2022 11:51 AM | PBC Staff (Administrator)

    by Haley Callahan, PBC Board Member

    As a home birth Mama of two, I will be the first to tell you that I am by no means a hospital birth expert. But I have supported a number of birthers at Maui Memorial Hospital–and walked quite a few women through their healing journeys afterward–and I’ve learned a few things through those experiences that I feel are valuable. 

    To start, it must be said that people choose to birth out of the home for many reasons. Whether you are choosing to birth in a hospital for personal, medical, financial, or political reasons, my hope is that you feel confident in your decision and that you are going into these spaces with clarity and gratitude for what they provide, rather than fear or doubt about your body’s abilities. Wherever it is you decide to give birth, you deserve to feel prepared, empowered and supported by your birth team.

    That said, when planning a birth outside the home, the setting is no longer yours–meaning, across the board, other people are capable of controlling variables and making decisions. For many who choose to birth in the hospital, having others make decisions for the wellbeing of their baby can feel like a relief, and having access to knowledgeable and medically-skilled professionals gives them a sense of safety. This is helpful for the medical aspect of birth, but not necessarily for the emotional, spiritual or physiological aspects of birth. For those aspects, you want to ensure that you have incredible extra members of your birth team to round out the medical side. Remember: just because the setting is no longer yours does not mean that the experience is not. This is your rite of passage; your big day; one of the most important events in your lifetime. There may be people in the room who hold expertise in differing areas, but you are the expert of your body and your baby, and you hold a powerful, irreplaceable, intuition. Everyone attending your birth should recognize your place as the expert in the room.

    One of the things I  work on most with the birthers at Hapai (Pregnancy) Circle is simply being capable of voicing our wants and needs. As western women, we are so often told what it is we will be receiving rather than being asked what it is we desire.

    For many women, Hapai Circle is the first time they have truly been asked the question, What is it you desire for your rite of passage? 

    Going through the steps of those desires, we can begin to form some ideas for how your birth space will look and feel. We own our power and take back our voice–first in the safe space of sisterhood, then perhaps with our birth teams and our families, and eventually with the providers lucky enough to bear witness to our sacred journey.

    Knowing your options. 

    Many people don’t know that they are able to refuse cervical exams, that they can receive a heparin-lock rather than a connected IV, or that they can request intermittent and/or portable fetal monitoring so that they can experience some relief from the many cords and straps that the hospital places. Most don’t realize they can request to have the lights dim or ask for a tour of their placenta. Almost everyone doesn’t realize a form needs to be filled to be able to take their placenta home. 

    Knowing your preferences and having them written down is important and valuable regardless of where you plan to birth. Plan to discuss all of the pieces of your birth plan with your birth team at a visit, and discuss everything in detail, sharing your feelings. If you aren’t sure about something, ask people you trust, join a pregnancy circle, or read up on the subject. Everyone’s preferences are different, so don’t be afraid to be honest about yours. Most importantly of all: don’t ever forget that YOU are the expert in the room. You can trust your intuition, your body and your baby. Don’t be afraid to make your wants and needs known. You deserve to have an empowered and enlightened birth experience.

  • 28 Jun 2022 9:21 AM | PBC Staff (Administrator)

    By Mariah Strong, PBC Board Member 

    This poem was inspired by the life-long work of my mother, who is my deepest inspiration and teacher. My mom has served families on Maui for over 40 years as their ally and midwife in autonomous birth. She has birthed her eight children at home, with fellow midwives, her friends and family, into water, or into her own hands. She has welcomed her grandchildren in the same way, with the same values. Her life work has been to hold space for birthing families and their choices, to educate and empower. She is a traditional midwife, and has held that role my whole life, inspiring me so deeply that I have chosen to walk this path by her side, as a midwife. 

    The words below came to me in an inspired uproar, when I was told my mother would not be "allowed" to call herself a midwife after four decades of holding that title. That the State of Hawai'i would be taking that ageless designation under a new law, and only let it remain for a certain few. In most cases, these few will be birth workers who have been privileged enough to afford midwifery school and to travel out of the state to complete it. Without an amendment, this law would make all others, the traditional and cultural midwives, the direct-entry midwives and even licensed midwives from certain states, unable to serve our families legally and strip them of the title "midwife.” If they continue to use the title, the position that their community and actions bestowed upon them, they would be legally persecuted. The option to choose our care providers and birth support team would be dramatically minimized, and in some areas extinguished. Once again, our bodily autonomy and medical choices would be taken away and put into the hands of the state. 

    We must preserve the wisdom and teaching of those that are outside of the white-washed education system.

    We must stand up for the safety of the birth workers that have tirelessly served our families, helping us to not only birth our children, but honor and uphold our personal traditions and cultures. 

    Now is the time to fight for our access to culturally appropriate midwives. 

    The words below are my call to action.  

    To learn more and add your voice and experience to the cause, check out Hawaii Home Birth Collective.  

    “You can keep your label”


    A simple title 
    Defining a truly selfless act 
    A serving on the deepest level 
    To the reflection of soul in another’s eyes 
    Serving the highest power within 
    To birth anew 
    The attempt at labeling something that is nameless 
    Something that is ageless 
    A song of sisterhood
    that has been sung since the birth of this world
    When the goddess birthed her daughters 
    Her midwife, the cosmos and the stars 
    The ember of that holy service kept alive in the hearts since time immemorial
    Forever this song was stirred hands into service 
    The igniting of a dance that is performed by the side of a woman in labor 
    The stage of this dance never the same 
    A field, a cave, a home, a brightly lit room, the wake of a tsunami, the back of a car, a sterile room 
    Regardless, we hone the ember of service 
    Of care, devotion, love, strength
    We welcome the new world 
    That is birthed with each babes first breath
    Even after all this time 
    There are those that don’t understand 
    They believe a label 
    A word 
    Is what we are 
    In your confusion you burn us 
    You jail us
    You beat us 
    You label us and try to hinder our service by law 
    But you don’t know the song that is hummed in our bones 
    The power that makes us dance 
    swaying our hips 
    Moving our hands
    The dance of birth 
    We will forever serve 
    We will always be there when we are needed 
    When in the cry of labor
    In the dark of night 
    A sister needs us 
    We will be there 
    No matter the label 
    The word
    The phrase 
    The terminology you try to
    Force on us 
    Separating us 
    We stand tall
    Regardless of name or label or law 
    We know our dance and will
    Keep rhythm as one until the end of time 

  • 5 Apr 2022 2:02 PM | PBC Staff (Administrator)

    By Kiana Rowley, PBC Board Member 

    This organization was started with love and dedication for our community by a group of women experiencing what it was like to be in our childbearing years and mothering here in the islands of Hawaiʻi in the 2000s. Most of us were and are struggling on many fronts to juggle the needs of our growing families, make a living, navigate relationships, and within the mix of it all find time for the things that bring us joy. Daily reminders told us that the changes happening in our bodies were something to fear. Despite Google, unbiased and useful information felt shockingly hard to come by.   

    We had to learn as we went, and found resilience and strength in each other. We shared a vision, that together this transformative, transitional part of our lives did not have to be quite as hard as it sometimes felt. We wanted it to be easier and more comfortable for families in our community to find resources and to feel empowered and supported on their journeys into parenthood. That's how the Pacific Birth Collective was born! Now six years later, it is continuing to evolve and grow. 

    At the time we started, many people told us that there was no way, we would not be able to maintain it. We fell flat on our face a few times and received some harsh but necessary feedback over the years about the responsibility of holding an inclusive platform, to honor the past while adapting to the needs of modern citizens of Hawaiʻi. Culture is not stagnant, it is alive and molded by the practices, values and needs of individuals engaged in community. For us to successfully work together, we believe it requires a commitment to open non-violent communication, compassion for our struggles both personal and collective, and a willingness to embrace and respect differences in all forms. We are all in this together. 

    For this first blog post I would like to share a little about myself and my dream for our collective future. My Name is Charlene Kiana Rowley,  I am a straddler of many things, including my heritage being a white woman who grew up in Hawai’i. I always felt a desire to fit in but had to face the reality that my white western ancestors perpetrated the decline of the culture, language, and sustainable life giving practices of Kanaka Maoli who have cared for these islands for thousands of years. Now at 37, I do feel that I belong to Hawaiʻi. I also feel a responsibility to acknowledge past wrongs and advocate for reparations and revitalization of traditional practices that sustain the health of our islands and her people.

    Native Hawaiians and other indigenous peoples suffer from horrendous health disparities. Poverty, food insecurity, addiction and an out of control housing crisis that are killing and displacing them from their ancestral lands. This is not okay. In this uncertain world they hold the key to our survival!! The health of these islands is reflected in the health of her people, and until these disparities are corrected, none of us can thrive.  

    This blog is a living breathing documentation by our community, for our community as we seek to elevate and empower our generation to care for our bodies, our families, our communities and our environment with the collective wisdom of our ancestors and the resilience that comes when we care for and believe in one another.  Mahalo nui loa to each and every one of you who contribute your best self to our community so that together we can proudly pass the torch to the next generation. 

Education, Support, and Advocacy for Birth and Wellness Choices Across Hawai'i

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Updated 9-1-22

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