Joanne Santana, RN, CPM

Joanne 2

  • Registered Nurse
  • Certified Professional Midwife
  • The Farm Midwifery Center 1971
  • Over 1000 births

Joanne is the instructor of the Watsu class, a relaxation technique done in warm water pools. Class instruction takes place at a local YMCA.

Joanne moved to Tennessee with the original members of The Farm Community in 1971. She currently lives just outside The Farm in nearby Hampshire, Tennessee and provides midwifery services for expectant mothers throughout the region.

Joanne Santana’s first home birth in 1970 was such an empowering departure from her earlier hospital delivery that it changed the direction of her life.  Using a small Mexican midwives’ manual, she successfully birthed her son, Anthony, with the encouragement of her husband, young daughter and a fledgling midwife.  His arrival was heralded by a rare lightning storm and 4th of July fireworks that lit up the San Francisco sky.  From that moment on Joanne wanted to devote her life to bringing birth back to the family.

In October, she and her family left California with a group of friends in a Caravan of sixty remodeled school buses, stopping at colleges and churches to give speeches about their philosophy of compassion and peace.  While on the Caravan, Ina May Gaskin and other birth attendants used Joanne’s midwife manual for deliveries while  on their journey.  Passing through dozens of states their group searched for land that would later become The Farm community in Summertown, Tennessee.

Joanne has been attending births on The Farm since 1972.  Initially, she apprenticed with the midwives, preparing birth kits, and attending deliveries in buses, tents, and in Amish homes.  She worked at The Farm Clinic in the Pharmacy, the infirmary, and trained as a primary care assistant.  She managed a birth room in her home for eleven years before becoming a primary midwife in 1983.  During this time, she also taught at the Farm School and gave birth to three more of her children.

Joanne was the first Vice-President of the Tennessee Midwives Association, and later their Treasurer.  She has been a member of MANA (Midwives Alliance of North America).  She is a Quality Evaluator for NARM (North America Registry of Midwives), testing potential applicants on their practical skills exam to qualify as a CPM (Certified Professional Midwife).  She has also been on The Farm Midwifery Center’s Board as either Secretary of Treasurer since 1982.

Joanne earned her BA in English in 1970 from San Jose State University.  She received her RN from Columbia State in Columbia, TN in 1989 and was then employed as a Pediatric, and Labor and Delivery Nurse at two local hospitals.  She became a Certified Professional Midwife in 1996.  She is the author of “Noche del Nacimiento — Night of the Birth,” which is a collection of poetry about births, family and the wonders of nature.

Currently,  Joanne continues to deliver babies and to teach midwifery training courses at The Farm Midwifery Center.  She instructs classes in the Midwife Assistant Program, Advanced Midwifery Workshops, Water Massage for Pregnant Women, and the Neonatal Resuscitation Program.

Joanne envisions a world in which women and their families have a choice of safe compassionate birthing options, whether it be at the hospital, birth center, or in their very own home.  This can only happen with sensitive cooperation between all midwives and their fellow medical professionals.  Her advice to upcoming midwives is to “Adore the babies, love the mamas, and be kind to one another.”

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