Meet The Midwives

Kristen Bernard DM, RN

At the age of 18, Kristen set off to do New Mexico to begin her midwifery training, but was turned away by the school because she was too young! Kristen began her midwifery training in 1987 with direct entry midwife Elizabeth Mazenec at her school in New Hampshire. Realizing that wasn't enough training to feel competent in birth, she traveled to England where she attended a 3-year direct entry midwifery training through the University of Bournemouth. While living at the hospital, she attended over 250 births there and at home, and worked as a NICU (neo-natal intensive care unit) nurse.

After returning to the United States, she worked as a baby nurse, and then completed the necessary training in the US to become a registered nurse (RN). In that capacity, she worked in Labor and Delivery at Baystate Medical, before joining River Valley Midwives in 1997. Kristen has an extensive background in massage therapy and specializes in newborn cranio-sacral therapy.

Kristen is married and together with her husband Dean, has two children - one she gave birth to at home, and the other baby she adopted from Nepal.

 

Jharna Harvey Ahmai CPM, RN

Jharna's first experience of homebirth was while attending a woman in Calcutta, India in the early 1980's. She was struck by the inability to tell who the midwife was, and who were the family members and supportive women of the neighborhood. At that time, Copenhagen Denmark was her home base and while there, Jharna experienced a culture where the majority of the births were attended by midwives at home. Her interest and belief strengthened.

Jharna began her midwifery training in 1989 with direct entry midwife Elizabeth Mazanec at her school in New Hampshire. Realizing that she wanted to go further in her training she traveled to El Paso Texas where she trained at a high volume birthing clinic named Maternidad La Luz. 

After returning back to Massachusetts a year later, Jharna practiced independently until joining River Valley Midwives in 1993.

Jharna is a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) through the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM). In 1999, Jharna became a registered nurse. She specializes in psychiatric nursing and works part time as an RN at the Brattleboro Retreat, a private non-profit psychiatric hospital. She has a background in massage, herbalism and homeopathy.

Jharna is a member of the MMA (Massachusetts Midwives Alliance) and member of MANA (Midwives Alliance of North America)

Jharna makes her home in Montague, MA with her husband Bush I,  son Mosiayah and daughter Veda Ruth (both born at home), 2 dogs and 4 cats.

 

Kristin Brennan CPM, BA

 

Kristin first knew she wanted to be a midwife in 2008 when she assisted her goat who was struggling in labor and needed the swift help of gentle hands.  After seeing many goat births go without any intervention, Kristin realized that most of the time, with birth, very little is needed, but once in a while some skilled guidance is important. 

 After the homebirth of her two sons with River Valley Midwives in 2006 and 2009, she began reading and studying about all things birth and then, with the support of her partner and three children, decided to leap fully into midwifery.  She completed a degree at the MEAC accredited midwifery school Maternidad La Luz in El Paso, TX where she attended a hundred births in a high-volume birthing clinic in the roles of assist and primary midwife-under-supervision, conducted hundreds of prenatal and postpartum appointments, and  finished her degree at the top of her class.  She is now a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) and joined the River Valley Midwives team in 2016.  

With a background in education and farming,  Kristin actively home schools her 3 children and shares a small urban homestead farm with her husband Daniel and their three children, Dora, Noah, and Rory in Springfield, MA.