Super Secret Outlaw Women (and We’re Not Talking Marijuana)


Baby nursing [Stock photo by Kym Kemp]

There’s a super secret outlaw job in the hills of northern California. And, it’s not growing marijuana….

Some local women are choosing to give birth using unlicensed midwives and a well-written article in Narratively (tagline: Human stories boldly told) explores the world of these daring doulas. The article asks, “When the contractions come and you’ve got a two-hour mountain drive to the hospital, who are you going to call?” Then, the piece introduces the reader to several women who are there to usher backwoods babies into the world.

The story starts,

“There are renegades delivering babies in the woods,” Aria says, in a tone both ironic and mischievous. She is a doula living in Hayfork, California, a community of about 2,500 located in the rugged mountains of Trinity County.

Read the rest of this notable piece and see the lush visual photos by clicking here.

Note: This reporter had two homebirths and one hospital birth and vastly preferred the experience with a licensed midwife in my own home.



  • Henchman Of Justice

    “Some local women are choosing to give birth using unlicensed midwives and a well-written article in Narratively (tagline: Human stories boldly told) explores the world of these daring doulas.”


    1) Child birth did not need licensed midwives for thousands of years.

    2) It is not illegal to have any person help during a pregnancy, despite what gubbamint douche wads of white vinegar argue.

    3) Any person helping is a “mid helper”…….wah, is gubbamint/private sector wannabe slime looking into permit processes at the county level now for conduct as old as human time itself…..

    Go ladies, go…..keep on keepin on with natural, everyday routines… child birth.

    This should be a “non-story”, but…..

    • You are correct, child birth did not need licensed midwives for thousands of years. Death during childbirth was also high for both mothers and newborns if there were any complications too.

      • 80-90% of births are uncomplicated. And there are way too many humans anyway. Can’t wait ti see the reaction to that statement. LOL

    • Sleepy Alligator

      I just have a hard time taking your posts serious when you use your word”gubbamint”.

      • You aren’t the only one.

      • Same here, HOJ is probably a very intelligent person…but that word “gubbamint” makes him sound uneducated.

        • Me thinks that HOJ is very intelligent so much so that his humor goes over the heads of most common folks. Gubbamint is a slang term for not taking the government seriously as the rules and regulations coming out of the mouth of them fools in Washington deserve to be derided and HOJ is just the man to do it.

          • Sleepy Alligator

            Oh really? That’s what it means? Wow, thanks for educating us!

          • Looks like hoj created an account to compliment himself. Nice try HoJ, I mean tugboat, Wasn’t HoJ regularly banned from the site that became Lost Coast Outpost? If I remember it was for just posting over and over and over. What was that site called?

            • Henchman Of Justice

              It was for communicating back and forth as replies that creates a shitload of posts between two or more commenters.

              LOCO was jealous that HOJ was more popular than the journalists attempting their best efforts at news…..

      • I imagine a wrinkled old man with no teeth every time.

      • Henchman Of Justice

        So, you have an easier time with government, lol, what a hoot.

        All this “taking government seriously”…

        … you and Kym and others where??? Trusting gubbamint….

        Thanks for the gut filled laughs by government lovers……

    • Yo, hoj
      What ever happened to that assault on a woman charge? Did they drop it it or what?

      • Lost Croat Outburst

        Yeah, I was wondering about the assault charge. HOJ’s baseline misogyny has been evident since the LoCO days of yore.

        • Maybe if we call him on his bullshit he will tone it down a bit, enough people have exspressed that they are getting tired of his ramblings, you would think one would take the hint of the people and chill, I hope he settles down and quit offending people, nobody wants any bans just some chill time and less ramblings please

          • Henchman Of Justice

            What bullshit? Trying to twist the table around?

            HOJ is a bullshitters nightmare as HOJ never bullshits and hates on bullshitters…….funny how haters attempt any kind of slam job without proof…..keep reaching, keep grasping……HOJ is unique, fair minded, and above all else……principled.

            Have a great Saturday.

            • I don’t necessarily think you’re a bullshitter. I agree with a lot of the points you make and I believe your opinions are worth reading. Sometimes i feel that you go a little overboard when you ridicule Kym and others (if you don’t like the things she posts on HER site then just don’t fuckin read it), after all your opinions are just that, your opinions. Yes I am aware that you also post facts so don’t bother telling me how you are so much more intellegent than the rest of us.

              I, personally, have not read many of your entire posts for a while now because I decided that as soon as you speak in third person or use your word “gubbamint” I won’t read any further. I look at like I would if we were talking in person. I just can’t have a conversation with someone who talks in third person. It’s ridiculous! And when I hear someone say gubbamint I either will know they have a speech impediment or I’ll think I’m talking to a two year old.

              Do I think you care whether or not I read your posts? I’m sure you don’t, but considering the amount of real estate you occupy in many of the comment sections that interest me, it sure would be nice to read what you have to say.

        • Henchman Of Justice

          Misandryst tendencies?

          HOJ has been warned by Kym not to use the word femin#^/&.

          Whenever HOJ is factual and not Mr. Nice, haters want HOJ to be banned, then can’t get their way….then they want HOJ to chill…..funny thing is, HOJ only comments on less than 1/10 of anything Kym posts for a story.

          Thanks Kym for not cowtowing…..☺

      • Henchman Of Justice

        No assault, she lied and the DA called her on her bullshit… did the insurance company.

        Move along shit stirrer…..

  • I remember very well having my second child at home and needing to take them to the hospital due to jaundice. They wanted to keep them overnight however when I saw a sign posted at the nurse’s station saying if anyone came in with signs of a recent birth the sheriff was to be contacted immediately.
    Needless to say I immediately gathered up my child and family and left. By the time I saw the next doctor two days later the jaundice had disappeared. That was my experience back while ago.

  • Beats sitting in a waiting room full of druggies looking for free pills on free health care system. Thank you obamacare

    • That’s absurd. I have health issues that mean occasional ER trips and that problem did not start in the last 8 years, it’s always been like that in the 20 years I’ve lived here. And actually I was told in the Bush years I’d never be able to get insurance with a preexisting condition and should go on permanent disability. I decided to ignore that advice and the Affordable Care Act allowed people like me with preexisting conditions to get the care we need, live productive lives, and now I even own a business and employ people, paying more taxes all around versus being on SSI forever. Thanks Obamacare!

      • I don’t burden the people of this country with my health care expenses, I pay for them out of pocket and give oBamacare money also , for people like you, if I can’t afford medical out of pocket then I don’t go to the hospital , definitely wouldn’t ever consider disability.

        • My grandmother & i have finally have healthcare coverage, thank you Obamacare & thank you Don for paying your higher premiums, much appreciated, thank you.

        • I pay for every penny of my insurance, and had to get the best plan which means no government subsidies for my needs, so I pay more than you, trust me. Before, I didn’t even have that option, and just one medication I take is over $100,000 a year at the cash price. This med allows me to work, to operate a business and to employ others. The difference is I’m allowed to purchase insurance now, I’m not punished for a condition I didn’t chose, cause or want, so check your self-righteousness .

        • Lost Croat Outburst

          Thank you for explaning in one paragraph why we can’t get Medicare for everybody. A majority of people apparently have bought the conservative line exactly as you describe. “If I can’t afford medical out of pocket then I don’t go to the hospital.” Right. That’s your idea for civilization? Live in a fantasy world where you don’t get sick, and if you do, die quickly. You have children? Same rules for them? Daddy, daddy, it HURTS. You better hope you stay rich so you can afford routine care for things like appendicitis and kidney stones. My recent straightforward, regular, kidney stone surgery started out at $89,000 and was subsequently discounted to only $29,000. Local hospital. If conservatives have some rational, non-imaginary, real-world solution to health care costs, please share it with us. Thank you President Obama for at least trying to move the USA into the family of modern nations with health care for all.

    • People sitting in emergency rooms waiting for free treatment. That’s Reagancare.

      President Reagan signed the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act 1986 requiring hospital emergency departments that accept payments from Medicare to provide an appropriate medical screening examination (MSE) to individuals seeking treatment for a medical condition, regardless of citizenship, legal status, or ability to pay. There are no reimbursement provisions.

      Obamacare made it possible for every person legally living in the US to have access to health care via expanded Medicaid or subsidized health insurance.

      Now the people who used to sit in emergency rooms waiting for help with a sinus infection, cut finger, or more serious problem can get treatment is much less expensive clinics and doctor’s offices. And that saves us all a whole bunch of money.

      Thank you President Obama.

      • Blame whoever makes you feel better , just remember, the more you go to the hospital the higher the care costs will go, so keep going for that runny nose, that little cough or the flu ,cause Obama I mean I have your back.

      • Yes, thank you Obama. Thank you for the skyrocketing cost of health care. Please tax the shit out of my fellow citizens to pay for my shitty lifestyle choices. You see I have smoked cigarettes and meth all of my adult life and lived off of my fellow citizens by way of welfare and food stamps. I don’t work or pay taxes or contribute shit to society and I eat junk food. Now I’m in my 40’s with health problems already. I see these rich, successful assholes with nice families and material things that I don’t have and it’s not fair. Health care is a right. I should have the right to make that rich asshole pay for me. I’m too fucking stupid to see that the government can’t run schools, the post office, the IRS, the highways, Amtrak, FEMA,the EPA, DOJ,FDA,OPM,DEA,FBI,VA, can I stop now?
        Even though the government has thousands of years of history abusing it’s subjects and running things completely inefficiently, please take over the health care system. You see I can ignore the skyrocketing health care costs. The facts don’t really matter to me. As long as I show everyone that I care about people and want them to have “health care” I can feel good about myself and people will like me. Oh thank you Obama. Those evil Republicans are mean and greedy and watch too much FOX news.

      • Henchman Of Justice

        “Obamacare made it possible for every person legally living in the US to have access to health care via expanded Medicaid or subsidized health insurance.”

        Jerry Brown of California gubbamint just requested a waiver for Obamacare to allow up to half a million illegal aliens from Mexico to get coverages.

  • I have nothing against midwifery, but I am very thankful that when my grandson was born, my daughter chose to make the trek to Arcata from SoHum. What had been a normal pregnancy suddenly turned to serious complications during delivery and had the birth been attempted at home, it is doubtful whether either mother or child would have survived. Midwives and doulas are fantastic and provide a wonderful experience for both home and hospital births, but be informed of the risks involved in having a baby at home.

  • Multiple studies have been performed concerning the safety of home births for both the child and the mother. Standard practices, licensing requirements and access to emergency hospital care differ between regions making it difficult to compare studies across national borders. A 2014 US survey of medical studies found that perinatal mortality rates were triple that of hospital births, and a US nationwide study over 13 million births on a 3-year span (2007-2010) found that births at home were roughly 10 times as likely to be stillborn (14 times in first-born babies) and almost four times as likely to have neonatal seizures or serious neurological dysfunction when compared to babies born in hospitals, while a 2007 UK survey found that perinatal mortality rates were only slightly higher in that country than planned hospital births for low-risk pregnancies. Both baby’s and mother’s higher mortalities are associated with the inability to timely assist mothers with emergency procedures in case of complications during labour, as well as with widely varying licensing and training standards for birth attendants between different states and countries.

  • Sleepy Alligator

    The government should mind their own business when it comes to giving birth, just like they should mind their own business when it comes to terminally sick people who choose to end their life.

  • Thank you for posting this, Kym. Women here (many years ago) chose home-births 18 out of 21 times; it was a Rite of Passage, Badge of Courage, and won ever-lasting respect from the men in our ‘hood.
    The neighborhood was always invited to join in the “pass around” of the newly arrived wet little bundle. Freshly showered with clean clothes, we all bonded with Baby, and with each other, and all of us were stronger for the experience. It was a helluva party!
    In qualifying ourselves for safety, there was a clinic which quietly measured our pelvises and examined our blood for the Rh Factor, etc. The clinic staff was well aware of our intentions, and the entire encounter with them was surreptitious and respectful. No records were kept to protect all concerned.
    One pregnancy was ectopic, and was ended in a hospital. What the parents had to go through to wrest their tiny fetus from the grips of the hospital pathology department was sickening, but successful; Baby was finally given a home burial (also illegal) and the matter put to rest.
    Ever Onward, Midwives! You are the pride of the human race!
    RIP, Ina Mae Gaskin (Spiritual Midwifery, still in print.) af

  • Hey HOJ, Ever seen a mother with a baby stuck?. New life turning blue? As the hippie audience sits by stonned/ stunned and praying? Im sure you know all about it.

    • Henchman Of Justice

      Ya, in sheep!

      Did not know society lived in a unanimous herd mentality.

      Sheeple people, lol…..personal responsibility is a natural form of survival of the fittest, it is natural selection……

      Look at it this way, to each his and her own…….money and system versus freedom and liberty….

  • Back in the early 70s my grandfather had to take a woman out of the hills on a rough 4 wheel drive road (the log bridge below the falls) in an open air jeep. They had wanted to have the baby at home but the baby was breach. It was a long bumpy ride but the mom and baby ended up making it despite the fact they were several hours from a hospital. Does anyone remember Tom Golding? I have always wondered about that family.

    • I had my baby at home 45 years ago before it was fashionable. No midwife. Just dad. My neighbors had a breach birth, successful, the year before. Humans have been having babies for quite a while.

  • I think that your childbirth experience is a very personal choice. It should not be a government choice. The home birth option is not a big debate anywhere else in the world. Even though you might not approve, who are you to take away that experience from others. Kudos to all who are brave and do their own thing! By the way, our doula here in Hayfork has a great reputation. I’ve only heard positive feedback.

    • Henchman Of Justice

      Cuz in America, proponents of “The System” want us all to believe in the mindset that without “The System”, we are all doomed.

      We are all already doomed because we live in a system.

      Without “The System”, the weak are slaughtered and the victims are no longer punished by insiders of “The System”.

      System of a Down

  • I knew a woman who wanted home birth but was afraid so last min they went to the Gville er but wouldnt let them touch her, informing them she still wanted a home birth. They gave her a room n signed a waiver. If she changed her mind, she was to unform them and they’d help. She gave birth to a healthy baby boy between just her n her husband. She said she was relieved to be near help if something went wrong & thankful they gave her space & allowed her to give a home birth

    • That’s terrific! We had a similar experience: The birth (breech) took place in the Motel next door to the ER… All were grateful for the proximity to the hospital staff, which knew about the situation and levied no pressure, just helpful advice. It was all good. (Not Garberville, another NoCal town.) af

    • Henchman Of Justice

      Great news…..a compromise😷😍

  • Wow this is so cool! Hey let’s be “outlaws” and triple the chance of the baby dying! Maybe the Mom can die too!

  • Honeydew Bridge Chump

    I delivered my child at home, just the wife and I during a snowstorm.
    Trinity has a great home birth circuit, one midwife is actually under court order not to deliver babies.

    Getting a birth certificate is easy, but social security will give you a very hard time.

    It’s better a child enter the world in a warm, loving home, surrounded by love, instead of some dirty hospital full of mandated snitch government spies sucking off insurance companies.

    For the next generation to break the gears of the machine, they must be delivered at home.

    Cheers! To all the families that don’t fall for the governments fear mongering.

  • Tough sell here, my oldest daughter would not be alive had we chosen to have her at home (Larabee Valley). It does sound really nice on paper though.

  • I’m currently planning a home birth with my outlaw midwife and I feel way more comfortable wih her than any OB I’ve been to in Humboldt county. This is not my first baby, but it is my first home birth and I couldnt be more excited.
    I have private insurance, not government funded, and I’ve still chosen to go the home birth route. I love my midwife!

    • Home births are great. Just have a backup plan. Our midwife (the best- Jan) did a wonderful job but she had another birth in which the child died, and there were lawsuits and such. It can be wonderful but also can go tragically wrong. But I guess that is just how it goes. It’s crazy stuff!
      RIP Jan

      • Also, I wanted to make sure this was said- Our experience was amazing. In the hills of willow creek in early 2000’s- in a snow storm in January in predawn on a full moon. In our cabin. Amazing.

      • Henchman Of Justice

        Exactly, backup plan😇

  • The person who will kill the weakest among the people of earth, is like a coyote, who will kill and eat their relatives when they become sick and old. Just a good and cheap source of protein for the breed coyote,
    But never heard of a coyote doing an abortion on its young so it could have a more free life style, Unlike us humans who kill the babies still in the womb so they can have more play time. Even to the extend of selling their babies body parts for us, the more civilized and cultured of our species.

  • Hill Baby, City Mama

    Hospital births aren’t all wonderful, with babies always born alive, mothers always left healthy. I wanted a home birth. I was afraid, even though I’d been born at home and most of my friends had midwives assist them at home. No, I chose to have my baby in the hospital with their version of a midwife.

    Because I had toxemia and was told I should be induced at my final check up before his due date, and because I did not know the risks associated with being induced (I was very young and very naive) I was induced. After the first stage, I was into full-blown labor, water broke, everything. They still gave me the Pitocin. Labor came fast and hard. I learned later Pitocin makes labor come harder than natural labor. I was hooked up to an IV machine, essentially strapped to the bed with needles in my hands; even though I practically cried about how much more comfortable I felt standing up and in a shower. Hours later, through beeping lights and loud nurses, my baby was ready to come. The nurse checking on me accused me of already trying to push, though I had no idea what was going on down there because I had caved and gotten an epidural. Then she went home, her shift had ended.

    A new woman came in who shoved my knees up to my ears and shouted “go, go, go” like I was a football player going for a touchdown. I have torn ligaments at my hip joints to this day that I’ve been told will never be the same because of the nurse shoving my knees to my ears. I wanted to stand up and squat! The baby came, he was perfect, I held him and fed him and all seemed to be good for the next hour.

    Then they moved me to a gurney to roll me to my recovery room, and I burst blood all over the bed and threw up the water I’d drank. The nurse said, “Oh, she doesn’t like the sight of blood.” I never saw her again, or I’d have yelled obscenities at her. I was rolled to my recovery room, no baby, too weak to even sit up. I only remember telling my cousin not to have babies; it was too hard, as we passed in the blindingly white hallway. A different nurse came into my room and asked what was wrong with me as I lay around listlessly, my mom practically clawing at nurses to check on me. Turns out the other nurse didn’t think telling my new nurse I’d burst blood was important.

    For the next four hours, a doctor I’d never met came to my room and reached up into my vagina and pulled out blood clots, muttering that a piece of the placenta must be stuck in there somewhere. The final time I crawled away from him crying to not touch me ever again. “Okay, guess we’ll have to do a D and C to see what’s going on.” And I agreed because I was dying.

    Turns out I burst an artery, a common occurrence with induced labors using Pitocin, and lost four pints of blood. That’s half the blood in my human body, at the time. For the next three days, no one except my mother thought I might need Iron. She brought me spinach salads. The nurses brought me nothing. Until one kind nurse asked me why I had all this salad and my mom said “she needs iron!” duh… The nurse asked me “aren’t you getting supplements?” No, no one ever brought me supplements. This nurse did, right away, without prescription, sliding it to me with water and a note. “You could do something with this,” she whispered as she showed me the numbers for how much blood I’d lost and emphasized the fact that I’d been neglected.

    Another nurse who was also caring, Helen, she would bring me my baby and prop me up so I could hold him and feed him, though I never asked for him because I could barely think. On the third day, feeling a little stronger and thoroughly sick of the hospital sounds and lights and “food”, I was told I could be released. I signed the papers. I got up to get dressed, and fainted. The doctor put me back in bed and gave me two pints of blood.

    I was released the next day, and suffered through postpartum depression for the next 6 months.

    What would have made the difference? Maybe not a home birth. I’ll never know. But the day I walked into my pseudo midwife’s Kaiser hospital room at 6 months pregnant and showed her how weird it was that my finger left an indentation in my leg, I think one of the Hill Midwives would have explained I needed to drink more water, not tell me “you need to stop eating so much.” Thus began my long road through pregnancy induced Toxemia.

    It’s the compassion and the caring, the NOT doing it “by the book” simply because that is procedure, that makes a home birth so appealing, at least to me. I don’t blame the nurses, though I blame Kaiser. I would have interviewed them if I could have. Maybe that’s the difference with Hill Births. You get to interview and say “yay” or “nay.” You have a voice.

    • Henchman Of Justice

      Exactly, and think about all these “super bugs” hospitals are perpetrating onto their patients…..😩

    • Thanks for this (very) succinct report. I’m copying it to send on. Thanks again, and I’m very glad you came through the postpartum depression; many don’t. af

      • Hill Baby, City Mama

        I think that since most of the Hill Midwives I would have asked for if I’d been in Humboldt rather than in the city would have also known me so well, and my whole family, I would have been cared for in a much more loving, natural way, during the whole process. I learned, through my second pregnancy and birthing in a really nice hospital (I was doubly scared at that point) with a young woman assisting the doctor, that the difference can be made by at least having a doula advocate. I trust our bodies, and the natural world, but do appreciate Western medicine when it is helpful, not interfering. Humboldt women are very lucky to have such wonderful midwives, and doulas. I don’t think that should be disregarded, no matter what a woman ends up choosing to do for the birth. We need women who care, not women/doctors who are just getting through the next patient. Wisdom comes from learning from all experiences, not disregarding any of them.

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