Today’s Spotlight is on the one of Saddleback Memorial’s midwives, Allison Molinski! Allison is a recent addition to the prestigious team at Laguna Beach OBGYN. She has partnered with Dr. Kenneth James to provide evidenced-based and compassionate care to the women of Orange County. Previously a midwife at Beach Cities Midwifery, she is now offering hospital-based midwifery services and working tirelessly to bridge the gap in maternity care.
We recently met Allison for dinner to talk all things pregnancy and birth! We are honored to have the chance to learn more about her background, her experience, and her incredible passion for serving women. We are excited to collaborate with her and to support her in the amazing work she is doing in Orange County.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, where you grew up, your education and how your training and experience sets you apart?
I grew up primarily in Orange County but also lived abroad for a number of years in South Africa, Venezuela, and Canada due to my dad’s job as an engineer. I feel so fortunate to have had those childhood experiences as they have had a strong influence on my life path ever since. I attended UC Berkeley for my undergraduate degree, and during my years at Berkeley I cultivated a passion for women’s rights activism and earned a degree in International Development. After graduating I moved to Jakarta, Indonesia to volunteer at a public health clinic for women and children. These experiences shaped my vision of becoming a midwife, as I began to see midwifery as a way I could combine all of my interests – health, feminism, and international development – and be in a position where I could positively impact my community. I left Jakarta and moved to New York City to earn a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Nurse Midwifery from Columbia University. My first job as a midwife was at Beach Cities Midwifery. I feel so blessed to have had strong mentorship from Beach Cities founder BJ Snell, and my time at Beach Cities enabled me to develop a strong foundation in midwifery in an out-of-hospital setting. (I also have tremendous gratitude to BJ as she also introduced me to my now-husband!) I began working part time at Kaiser Orange County about a year ago, and recently left Beach Cities to join Dr. Kenneth James, a well-loved OBGYN in Orange County. I am thrilled at the opportunity to serve a broader demographic, and offer midwifery care in-hospital at Saddleback Memorial. I would love to ultimately work abroad as a midwife, as was my original intent, but for now it is clear to me that my calling is to work with women and families in beautiful Orange County.
What is the “why” behind your business as a midwife? Why do you do what you do?
I became a midwife in part to become a resource for women in my community. So many of us have questions about our bodies – and about contraception, sex, fertility, childbirth, etc, and feel uncomfortable asking questions or having these conversations. I love that I am able to sit with women and create space for them to ask intimate questions. My goal is to offer information and resources and have a woman walk away feeling more empowered and confident about her body, her health, and her overall well-being. I also love that as a midwife I can offer a more holistic approach to women’s health care, blending western medicine with alternative modalities of care.
What is the most satisfying part of your job? What is the most challenging?
Attending birth allows me to bear witness to one of the most intimate and vulnerable experiences of a woman’s life, and there is nothing more rewarding for me than those moments. It is such a privilege to attend women in childbirth – to watch a woman show her strength and courage over the course of labor, and watch a couple meet their newborn for the first time! I have strong relationships with so many of the women I serve. Of course, like any job, being a midwife is tough at times…. 2am phone calls are always tough! But truthfully the most challenging aspect of the job is that caring for women often entails significant grief and sorrow. I frequently see women experience tremendous pain and suffering with infertility issues, miscarriages, and other unexpected challenges.
If you could tell an expectant mother one thing, what would it be?
Trust your body! As Ina May Gaskin famously says, “Remember this, for it is as true and true gets: Your body is not a lemon. You are not a machine. The Creator is not a careless mechanic. Human female bodies have the same potential to give birth well as aardvarks, lions, rhinoceri, elephants, moose, and water buffalo. Even if it has not been your habit throughout your life so far, I recommend that you learn to think positively about your body.” I love this quote!! Such powerful words, and a good reminder for all of us.
What do you like to do when you’re not attending births/clinicals?
I got married a year ago, and spending time with my husband Geoff consumes most of my time outside of midwifery. We love to travel – our last big trip was our honeymoon to South Africa, and our next big trip will be to Croatia. We love to ski, and spend a lot of time in the winter hitting the slopes of Park City. Camping and sailing are my other hobbies.
What are you currently binge-watching?
I don’t watch a lot of TV; instead I usually spend evenings reading or watching movies. But I confess - I am addicted to Game of Thrones and I can’t wait for the next season to start!
What is your favorite place to relax in the OC?
I love the relaxing and laid-back vibe of San Clemente. I spent my high school years in SC and Geoff and I are hoping to move back there sometime next year. I love the fun restaurants downtown, beautiful beaches and beach trail, and perpetual cool ocean breeze.
Join us each month for more “In the Spotlight” features! Next time we chat with retired L&D nurse, CLEC and Doula, Tina Schroeder. Interested in being featured? We’d love to hear about what you offer - email us at firstname.lastname@example.org