I am excited to add a new feature to WWHT called “Phenomenal Woman” where I will feature women who are experts in topics pertaining to women. Today’s WWHT comes from a phenomenal woman who happens to be a certified nurse midwife, my dear friend, Kizzie T. Ricks CNM, ARNP.
Kizzie and I met in 2012 while working at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD. She is an amazing individual with a beautiful spirit who has inspired many women including myself. I am catching up with her while she and her husband tour Paris!
Kizzie, I am so excited to have you as my very first Phenomenal Woman guest! I remember when we met and we were sharing our career goals you told me you wanted to go back to school. Tell us why you chose midwifery?
I loved the Cosby show and Cliff’s profession, and I would tell my Momma (I was around 6 mind you) that I wanted to be a baby doctor and delivery babies. I can’t believe that my young spirit knew what I was meant to do with my life. I was then lead to babysit at an early age (managing newborn twins at the age of 14 isn’t easy), volunteer as a NICU rocker and cuddling feeder/growers, and teach 7th/8th graders the art of math and science. So empowerment and impacting the youth has been my life, and I am more than appreciative of that. But after getting my degree in Biology and starting the journey into becoming an OB/GYN, something just didn’t feel right. This is the moment I learned about Midwifery, the more holistic aspect of caring for women and delivering babies… and I knew from then that was what my future career was to be.
Wow, that is beautiful! It must be amazing to know what you are destined for at such a young age and go on to achieve it! I know becoming a midwife is no easy feat. What is your educational background and training?
I have definitely been a life-long learner!! I think I am finally done with school! I have my first degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from Tennessee State University in Nashville, my second degree in my BS in Nursing from the University of Saint Mary, and last but not least my MSN from George Washington University and post- masters certificate in Midwifery from Shenandoah University. While completing clinicals, I got to train with an amazing midwife in Everett, WA. I then spent time in my home state of Kansas learning and delivering babies in the Spring with another wonderful midwife and her partner. And I completed my integration in NM at an Indian Health Services facility and now get to work there with the fabulous group of midwives that mentored me through the summer!
Congratulations on the job! I know that you have a background in pediatrics and ICU, so what inspires you to take care of women?
I love when I see us empowered and knowledgeable. All women deserve to know how important we are as individuals as well as the collective. This is what motivates me. I want to be a part of making us stronger and owning our bodies, protecting our uteruses. We all need to be able to make informed choices, but many don’t have access or have been left in the dark about the real reason for well woman exams. I teach as I perform pap smears, because every moment can be a teaching moment. Many women don’t know why cervix is relevant and why it’s important to keep her healthy! And as I develop into a more experienced practitioner, I plan to make my voice heard outside of the exam and delivery rooms. Knowledge is Power! I take my life goal of educating women in all phases of life very seriously.
As you said, knowledge is power! There is so much involved with our bodies especially during the reproductive years. I dig the fact that you make it a point to educate your patients. With so many pregnant and future pregnant readers, tell us why prenatal care so important?
Yes, pregnancy is a normal occurrence. Yes, it can be done without any intervention. Yes, women are made to carry and bring life into the world. But without the knowledge of what effect hormones and bodily changes have on the symptoms one might experience and how they fluctuate from the 1st to the 3rd trimester, weight gain that is really appropriate during this time, vaccines that are safe and important during pregnancy, and many other aspects of care that help support the woman through such a different time in life, one may feel left in the dark. Why go through such a delicate time on your own when you have knowledgeable practitioners out there that can experience this time with you? Midwife means “with woman”.
Absolutely! Any advice for your pregnant readers?
Definitely!! Remember these important aspects:
- You are not eating for two, just for you! Make them well balanced and colorful meals with nutritious snacks. And keep active, it is important for circulation and overall health.
- Take a prenatal vitamin with 400mcg of folic acid before pregnancy. It is a nice way to make sure your body is prepared just in case of pregnancy. A developing fetus needs this supportive environment for the formation of vital organs in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.
- Don’t worry about more vaginal discharge, it is normal and healthy! Just pay notify your practitioner if it doesn’t smell like your normal, it changes in texture or color, or if the vagina isn’t happy and feels irritated. Changes may mean infection, and treatment is important…especially in pregnancy.
- Be patient and love your changing body. It is a beautiful time in life and women are the only ones that can accomplish such a feat!
Those are great pearls of wisdom, Kizzie. No one is born with this knowledge and pregnancy can be such an intimidating time, we need clinicians like you to share your knowledge. OK, I know that you haven’t been practicing that long, but what is the most rewarding thing about being a midwife so far?
The are SO many rewarding aspects of finally being a midwife!! Connecting with women daily and educating about what I love is one big thing. I am also honored to empower as well as learn from my clients about their lives and experiences. But the one thing that will always resonate with me is when I feel that warmth over my heart and in my belly as a baby is crowning. The joy and elation I feel when a new spirit is joining us earth-side is indescribable, and I have the privilege of supporting the journey with my two awaiting hands. And I have a feeling that I am where I am supposed to be in this life…. finally.
Your words are so encouraging! You have been on such an inspirational journey! Tell us your favorite quote?
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
And I know that is a quote you live by! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us and being a phenomenal woman!
If you enjoyed hearing from this month’s Phenomenal Woman leave her a comment below! Thanks for reading!