We had the good fortune of connecting with Christie Sheffer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Christie, how do you think about risk?
I have a delicate relationship with risk. In my practice as a midwife, I do my best to never take risks. The lives that I hold in my hands are way too important for that! Safety is a non-negotiable and vital part of my patient care. As much as I value the dreams and desires of my clients, I value their lives that much more. But birth work comes with so much unknown that it can feel quite risky. Keeping clients safe can mean fast decision making and action. I hold not only one, but two lives in my hands every time I examine a patient or attend a birth! I don’t like to think of attending births as “risky” because that word feels as though there is little responsibility. But in all reality, we simply cannot know everything that can or might happen during the process so there is indeed an element of risk. I embrace this through years of education and experience, constant vigilance and strong practice boundaries/guidelines. I’m not afraid of it, but I sure do have a healthy respect for what being a midwife truly means!
The work of owning my own business, launching new ideas and constantly working to grow and improve my practice comes with inherent risk and I find that I am happy to lean into that! Perhaps it comes from a background of rock climbing, aerial arts and mountaineering, but I enjoy the challenge of risk. I have, over the last year, worked hard to create and launch a Perinatal Trauma Center to help families recover from traumatic birth. Doing this work has been very much worth the risk as I have been able to see transformation happen before my eyes. I love the intimacy of working in this way. Putting myself out there was scary, but the amazing feedback I’m received has made that risk come with rewards!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
There are a few things that make my practice unique. First, I work hard to keep a small enough client load that I am really able to devote the emotional space needed to fully engage in the pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum process with the families I serve. I think the other noteworthy thing is my background in trauma. I feel uniquely qualified to work with patients who have experienced previous birth trauma. Together we work to create a healing and empowering birth.
As far as my background goes, I definitely took a long and winding road to get to where I am! After having my first and quite unexpected child at the age of 21, I really desired to learn and know more. I worked as a doula in the area beginning in 1999. After 2 more babies and a college degree, I became an apprentice to another midwife in town. She retired halfway through my journey and I worked with whomever would have me to completely my training. It was so beneficial to experience so much birth and so many different teachers along the way. Even so, I feel that I entered my field with much to learn. After years of continuing education and experience, I still know there is much to learn! Whoever said that you are an expert at your job after 10,000 hours has never worked in birth!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
For me, it’s all about getting outside! Whenever we have friends visit, we try to camp, hike or whatever meets their needs. We love little spots like Manitou Lake where we can get out on the SUPs, camp and bike a little. We live in Woodland Park and 2 of my kids work at Carmen, so we often take friends to dinner there! My youngest daughter is in the Circus Club at the Milibo Art Theater. Whenever there is a show going on there that is a great place to bring friends. My husband and I really enjoy fine dining and tasting menus. James Africano at the Warehouse is one of our favorites. In fact he came to our house for a tasting menu during the shutdown.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My husband Scott has been an endless source of support and encouragement. Being married to a midwife isn’t easy! I leave at odd hours, and can be gone indefinitely. The phone rings constantly and interruptions to date night are not only tolerated, but expected. My kids are also so great at putting up with me missing birthday parties, family events, etc. My daughter Chloe has even begun assisting me at births when she’s able. I could not do this job without my amazing family.
Instagram: @bluecolumbinebirth @perinataltraumacenter
Facebook: Blue Columbine Birth. And. Perinatal Trauma Center
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