Meet The Midwives

Kristen Bernard

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

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 over 60% 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 Maternidad La Luz. This clinic was located a mile from the Mexican Border and served that community of women. After returning back to Massachusetts a year later, Jharna practiced independently until joining River Valley Midwives in 1993.

In 1999, Jharna became a registered nurse. She specializes in psychiatric nursing and works 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 board 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, step daughter Morgan, son Mosiayah and daughter Veda Ruth (both born at home), 2 dogs and 3 cats.