Tonya is a wife (to a full-time traveling musician), a mother, a nurse, educator and a midwife. When you meet her you find that there is something special about this woman. She exhibits a quiet confidence that you can feel, but are not offended by. The focus of our interview took a turn right after it began.
Let’s start off with your “rock star marriage.” Your husband is an artist – a musician – and he is on the road frequently.
This does not impact your marriage or your relationship at all. In your case the old saying that “distance makes the heart grow fonder” is real. Can you tell our readers first how long you have been married, how many children you have and finally how the two of you make your relationship so solid?
We have been married for about 7 1/2 years and we have 6 children all together. Two of which are my two little beautiful princesses that are 7 and 9 years old. There are so many things that contribute to us having a solid relationship some of which are love, trust, honesty, and respect. In addition to that, we have always been able to talk to each other about anything and I think that is so important for any relationship. We are best friends for life.
The focus of this interview was going to be on the stability of your marriage and the amazing support that you and your husband have of each others’ goals all while your husband is on the road 90% of the time. But, after you started to reveal more about yourself, who you are and what your goals are, it turned our curiosity in a different direction and we want to talk more specifically about you.
You mentioned your passion was doing midwifery. How did that develop in you? What calls you to that kind of work?
I have always been interested in Women’s Health ever since I was a teenager and many of my school papers were about various topics related to young women and their issues. I knew early on that I wanted to become a nurse so I knew that I had to go to college to achieve my goal. After working in maternity/post partum and labor and delivery for about 7 years it was only natural that I wanted to become a midwife, so I enrolled into a program. I really enjoyed what I was doing but my priorities kind of changed midstream because I started a family of my own. At that point, I could not invision myself leaving my baby to deliver someone elses, so I kind of put my passion aside to raise my own family. At this stage in my life, my family is my first priority and I am enjoying my life as a mother and wife.
Recognizing that each woman makes her own choices about delivery – for those who chose to use a midwife, can you tell us some of the reasons why they chose to go that way?
Well I am going to speak from my own experience with choosing a Midwife to deliver my princesses. To me, Midwives are more in tune to what women need during this time and they are willing to allow women to have more control over their birth experience than most doctors. My Midwife pretty much allowed me to be able to transform my delivery room into a space where I could be free to experience the fullness of each delivery… my room was warm, there were soft lights on, my husband’s cd was playing softly in the background, and I was able to change into positions that were comfortable for me. Both of my deliveries were beautiful experiences and I give thanks for having both my husband and my Midwife there by my side as I transitioned into Motherhood.
What are some of the benefits using a midwife versus a hospital?
Well, it depends on the Midwife that you choose. Midwives can deliver at the women’s home, birthing centers and or a hospital. I choose to deliver at a hospital because I felt it was a safer choice being that I had already worked in labor and delivery and I knew that things could change really quickly. I wanted quick access to a doctor if complications arose.
What kind of education is required to be a midwife?
In order to become a Midwife, one has to complete a 4 year Bachelor of Science degree followed by a Master of science degree.
How many babies have you delivered?
Wow, that’s a good question. I had the privilege of delivering one baby before I even graduated from Nursing school and several others while working on Labor and Delivery. It’s funny how some doctor’s underestimate how fast labor is progressing and being that Nurses spend most time with the women we end up delivering many babies. Although the doctor is still the one getting paid. When I was in the Midwifery program I delivered about 25 babies before I ended up putting things on hold while raise my own family. So the answer to your question is that I don’t really know how many babies I have delivered over the years.
Does your full-time position as a school nurse tie into your midwifery goals?
No, at this point my current job does not tie into Midwifery but it allows me the flexibility to spend more time with my little princesses which is so important to me. I am able to go on some class trips, observe their school performances and share summer vacations with them which is priceless.
You would like to make a difference in the lives of young girls. What are the issues that you see them facing and how would you like to make things different?
Yes, I definitely would like to make a difference in the lives of young girls. There are so many issues that need to be addressed like self esteem/self love/ self respect, morals and values, what to look for in a relationship, celibacy, sex education, respect of their bodies etc… I would like to develop some type of Health Education/Rights of Passage program that will provide them with the necessary information/tools that is needed in order for them to be their best self.
Is this something that you are actively working on now, or is it a goal?
At this point it is a goal that I would like to see come to fruition. There are so many young women who are in need of some information/tools that will help them make better choices so that they can be their best self. In doing so, their lives will be a little easier and they will be able to find success in whatever they decide to do in life. Basically, I would like to continue being a positive role model for all of the young women that I come in contact with on a daily basis regardless of my job title.
You wear the “anhk” and it’s not just a piece of jewelry, it’s a symbol that represents something. What does it mean to you and why do you wear it?
The ankh represents the symbol of life. I like to wear it simply because to me it represents the male and female coming together to bring forth life. Without this natural balance we would cease to exist. This is probably why I am a Midwife at heart because it is so wonderful to experience the first breath of life when a child is born. Nature at it’s best…