Joy M. Jones, RN
I grew up in Morocco, N. Africa, as the daughter of Protestant missionaries. When I was in high school, I left my adopted
homeland for the last time, after 10 of my most formative years.
After finishing high school in the farmland of Ohio,
and one year of college, I entered a nursing school in the suburbs of Chicago. My goal was to be a midwife.
I was there, I met and fell in love with my husband, and after my graduation, we got married and moved to New York City.
day, I happened to be watching the Phil Donohue show, when he was interviewing Dr. Frederick Leboyer about his new book--Birth
Without Violence. He showed film clips of a birth in which his philosophy was used. I had seen several births in nursing
school, but the breathtaking beauty of what I saw in that footage was unlike anything that I had ever seen or imagined. I
felt compelled to go out and find this book.
I made the trek to Manhattan and entered Kroch's and Brentano's, the largest
bookstore chain of the day. As I browsed the selection of pregnancy books, looking for Leboyer, another title jumped up at
me--Childbirth at Home, by Marion Sousa. I was intrigued and picked it up. After a few minutes of skimming, I knew
that I had to have that book.
As I continued to look for Leboyer, another title jumped out at me--Immaculate Deception,
by Suzanne Arms. In a few more minutes, I knew that I had to have this book, too. By the time I left Kroch's and Brentano's
that day, I had bought 3 books, and my life was changed forever.
In my hunger for childbearing, and in my search for
knowledge, I soon found the local La Leche League group, and for the next 3 years I almost never missed a monthly meeting.
One of the friends that I met there was Janice Presser Greene.
Janice and others in that LLL group were also very interested
in and involved with the issue of homebirth, and they introduced me to another monthly meeting that took place in that house--the
HOME meetings (Home Oriented Maternity Experience), which were organized in a similar format to that of the LLL meetings.
I started attending HOME meetings also, and eventually I got to the point where I just had to witness a birth that was conducted
at home, and which made use of all the new philosophies that I was learning. I decided to ask a midwife if I could come along
on a birth. Somehow I got the phone number of a local homebirth midwife, Hazel, and I called her.
Hazel soon became
one of the best gifts of my life. She's a Certified Nurse Midwife who got her education in England, and she has a heart as
wide as the ocean she crossed to get here. She may have been a little uncertain about my request, but she asked me to come
to her house for a visit, so that we could talk about how this arrangement might work. There were two babies who were due
pretty soon, so Hazel proposed that I start coming to their prenatal visits. With the mothers' permissions, that is what
One evening she called me, and we were off for my first homebirth. We wound our way in the dark through some
remote country area, where there were no street lights, or street signs, or house numbers. Eventually, we managed to find
the house--confirmed by the brightly-lit windows, and by the sounds of a woman pushing, in childbirth. Inside, we found her
being encouraged by a large group of friends, who apparently lived with her, in some kind of communal household arrangement.
The beautiful baby boy was soon born, to everyone's delight. The birth was everything I had expected, and more.
short while after I got home, the phone woke me from a sound sleep. I can still hear the lilt in her voice asking me if I
wanted to go on another birth. So off we went again. This time, we found a small suburban house with only a couple of people
in attendance. This time, as the baby was being born the birds were singing outside the window, greeting the dawn of a new
day, and a new life. Once again, my life had been changed forever.
I don't remember how it happened, but Hazel kept
expecting me at prenatal visits, and kept calling me for births, and soon a year and a half had passed, and I had received
an apprenticeship in homebirth. It only ended when my husband and I had to leave for 13 months, to work back in East Africa.
For most of the years since then, Hazel and I have lived far apart from each other, but 500-700 babies, and several midwives
later, she will always be a treasure in my memory.
It was during my three years in New York that I met Tom and Gail
Brewer. Janice was a friend of Gail's, and I believe that they were both active in the Childbirth Education Association of
Metropolitan New York (CEAMNY). In any case, Tom and Gail were invited to present a weekend-long workshop about the Brewer
Diet, sponsored by the CEAMNY, and I decided to attend.
I don't remember how it was that Tom and I started talking
about the design for a poster of how his diet works in preventing problems in pregnancy, but I do remember how impressed I
was with the validity of the science behind the simplicity of his diet plan. During the process of designing the poster*,
and later that of writing a pamphlet for use as a simple handout, I came to understand the diet better, and develop a kind
of friendship with the man. In later years, I appreciated his readiness to answer my questions, and how available he was
by phone. Occasionally, I would receive letters from him in the mail--xeroxed copies of whatever pregnancy and nutrition
development was in the news, and happened to be on his mind at the time. In the margins, he would write copious notes all
about studies that contradicted whatever was written in the article. I felt for him in his frustration that a solution as
simple as eating could be so hard to accept, for many of his peers and others in the health field.
Since then, I've
had two babies of my own and have done many other things in the field of pregnancy and childbirth. But throughout it all,
I've continued to reach out to pregnant women with the Brewer Diet, and have felt the gratification of seeing them turn their
complications around with something as simple as eating.
*(along with graphic designer Johann Schumacher)
Joy M. Jones, RN: Consultant and educator in maternal/newborn health and nutrition; owner of Perinatal Support Services; former
Childbirth Educator of the Bradley Method; Doula/Labor Assistant; manager of HealthWise Lending Library (200+ books of childbirth
and parenting); book reviewer for NAPSAC News, Imprints(ICEA), and Bookmarks/Birth & Life Bookstore (1980's and 1990's).
Author,"Gestational Diabetes: Myth or Metabolism?"(1988), "The Brewer Pregnancy Diet" (1994), and "Illinois Midwifery
Roundtable: A Promise for Progress" (1984). Two entries, "Brewer Pregnancy Diet" and "Diabetes: Clinical and Gestational",
in Encyclopedia of Childbearing: Critical Perspectives, by Barbara Katz Rothman (1993). Guest speaker for grade school
and high school health classes, and a community college sociology class (1980's). Married, and mother of two sons.
of West Suburban Hospital School of Nursing (Oak Park, IL), 1974. Staff nurse 1974-1975 (Chicago, IL); nursing personnel
pool 1977-1979 (NY,NY). Apprentice to homebirth CNM 1977-1979 (NY,NY). Volunteer in Sudan and Kenya 1979-1980. Certified
HOME leader in 1983. Certified by AAHCC (Bradley) in 1985. Participant in Peterson/Mehl workshops in 1983 and 1986. Illinois
Co-ordinator for Alternative Birth Crisis Coalition 1984-1985. Member of AAHCC, ICEA, LLLI, NAG, and NAPSAC, 1980's and 1990's.
Presentor: Helping Hands Homebirth Conference (Apprentice Academics) June 1988--"Gestational Diabetes" and "The Professional
Doula". MANA Southeast Regional Conference, July 1989--"Gestational Diabetes". Indiana Midwives Association, September 1989--"Gestational
Diabetes" and "The Professional Doula". Perinatal Health and Fitness Network, November 1989--"Gestational Diabetes". Midwife's
Assistant for 3 midwifery practices, approx. 1995 to present.
Christian, Mennonite, Living Water Community Church, Reba Place Church, Friends of Reba Place Fellowship
Living Water Community Church
Reba Place Church
Reba Place Fellowship