Birthkeeper Jan Tritten


We are delighted to honor Jan Tritten, Owner and Editor-In-Chief of Midwifery Today.

Midwifery Today is the sponsor of midwifery conferences in the U.S. and other countries; publisher of Midwifery Today, a quarterly print magazine; publisher of books, including Paths to Becoming a Midwife, The Tricks of the Trade Series, the Holistic Clinical Series, and two new publications: Placenta: Gift of Life and Survivor Moms: Stories of Birthing and Healing from Sexual Abuse. Midwifery Today also carries birth-related books and DVDs by other publishers, as well as a selection of birth jewelry and other art.

Jan is a true birth keeper. Through her exceptional magazine Midwifery Today, Jan supports and nourishes midwives, mothers and the spirit of Birth all around the world, keeping alive traditional knowledge and wisdom, and also publishing cutting-edge science and new understandings of the motherbaby. We are all blessed by her work. ~ Dr. Sarah J. Buckley

Through networking and education, Midwifery Today’s mission is to return midwifery care to its rightful position in the family, to make midwifery care the norm throughout the world and to redefine midwifery as a vital partnership with women.

I have been blessed to know this woman for several decades. Jan knows the blood and guts of midwifery and lives, eats and breathes this path. Without her, the knowledge base for true midwifery would be minimal. She is the practical, emotional and spiritual place where many “birth preserver” midwives go for information, understanding and support. Her presence on the planet at this particular time is of utmost importance, and her contributions exceptional. ~ Nancy Wainer, CPM

Jan’s path was similar to many of ours. She gave birth to her first child in a hospital. Although she claims that it was not a bad birth by today’s standards, it was a horrible experience for her and she suffered from post-traumatic shock afterwards. “I don’t ever want to get over the PTSD from my first birth,” she says, “it’s the fire that keeps me going.”

Jan went on to have a wonderful homebirth with her second child. After that birth, Jan found herself continually reading childbirth books. She was hooked. She began a homebirth midwifery practice and started Midwifery Today in 1986.

Jan has since dedicated her life towards her vision that every woman in the world have a shot at a good birth, and that every human being has a chance to be born the way the process was designed. Her main goals and challenges are to:

  • Continually plant the seeds that women’s bodies were made to give birth;
  • Counteract all the dirt that has come up that has disempowered women;
  • Support birth practitioners so that they can save the world; and
  • Give every woman great births with loving midwives, so that she is able to tackle the challenges of motherhood.

Jan’s passion and persistence have been an enormous force in promoting home birth and the Midwives Model of Care. ~ Henci Goer

Jan has been married for 40 years and has three children who work in her business. Jan’s daughter once asked her: “Don’t you ever get frustrated that things are getting worse and worse?” “Yes”, she responded, but after reading her mail and the multitude of thank you notes about the great births women have had, she is reassured that we are on the right path.

Jan is waiting and working towards the attainment of a critical mass that will make a shift in birth practices – birth practices that will be good for motherbaby and society: “There are fantastic people working in this field — How can we as a community stop the abuse from happening – within a few generations?”

We’ll conclude with The Starfish Story – one of Jan’s favorites:

starfish2.jpgOne day a man was walking along the seashore. He noticed that during the night many seashells and starfish had washed upon the beach. Thoroughly enjoying the morning sun and cool sea air, the man walked for miles.

As he strolled along, he noticed a small figure dancing in the distance. It made him chuckle to think of someone celebrating life in such an uninhibited way. As he drew closer, however, it became apparent that the figure was not dancing. Instead, she seemed to be repeatedly performing some ritual.

He drew nearer still and noticed that the small figure was a child. She was methodically picking up starfish and tossing them into the surf. He paused for a moment, puzzled, then asked, “Why are you throwing these starfish?”

“It’s high tide,” she replied, “If I leave them on the beach, the sun will soon dry them and they will die. I am throwing them into the ocean so they can live.” The man considered her actions, impressed with the child’s thoughtfulness. Then he motioned up and down the miles of the beach. “There must be thousands of starfish along here,” he said, “you cannot possibly make a difference.”

The young girl stopped. Her face darkened. She chewed thoughtfully on her lower lip, “You’re probably right,” she said softly. She looked down at the sand. Then she leaned over, carefully picked up another starfish, pulled back and arched it gently into the sea.

With a tone of gentle defiance, she said, “But it made a difference for that one.”

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