Marion’s Message: From Mexico

“Honoring the Traditional Midwife” was the theme of a midwifery conference presented jointly by the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) of Mexico and Midwifery Today, in Oaxaca, Mexico, from September 24-28, 2003. [See Jan Tritten’s International Midwife editorial on page 46 for more on the conference.] This was a unique and vibrant opportunity to interact and network with practitioners and supporters from many different cultures and social classes. There were large numbers of traditional, indigenous midwives and healers, mostly from Mexico and Guatemala, as well as participants from Canada, the United States, Europe, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and other locations.

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About Author: Marion Toepke McLean

Marion Toepke McLean, CNM, attended her first birth as primary midwife in August 1971. She received her nursing degree from Pacific Lutheran University in 1966 and her midwifery and family nurse practitioner degree from Frontier Nursing Service in 1974. From 1976 through 2001 she did home, clinic and hospital births, while also working as a family nurse practitioner. In 1980 she taught a year-long program for local midwives, returning to Frontier Nursing Service to teach during the summer. She had a homebirth practice until 1985, when she went to work at the Nurse-Midwifery Birthing Service, a freestanding birth center. In June 2000 she completed a BA in International Studies at the University of Oregon, with concentrated studies on Mexico. Since 2002 she has worked in a reproductive health clinic and attended an occasional homebirth. She lives in Eugene, Oregon, and is a contributing editor to Midwifery Today.

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