Amy Stewart-Banbury is Shelby County’s foremost Certified Professional Midwife, with 17 years of experience under her belt. Amy’s practice, Trillium WomanCare, is leading the way in making midwifery accessible and mainstream in the Mid-South, with clients from Covington, Tennessee, to Oxford, Mississippi. Trillium provides complete prenatal, birth and postpartum care for mothers choosing a home birth. For those seeking a hospital birth with extra care, Trillium also offers doulas and monitrices to provide support throughout the pregnancy and birth experience. We at StyleBlueprint are excited to introduce you to a true pioneer, Amy Stewart-Banbury, our newest FACE of Memphis.
Tell us where you’re from. Are you a native Memphian?
Yes, I am a native Memphian. I grew up in Hickory Hill and have lived in Midtown for 21 years.
Tell me about your family.
I live with my partner and our two children. Scott Banbury is a registered lobbyist with the Tennessee Chapter of The Sierra Club and an environmental activist. My daughter Brighid is 17 and my son Kade is 15 and both of them attend Central High School. My extended family gets together every Sunday at my parents’ house for an amazing Southern supper — my dad specializes in homemade bread and desserts with at least two sticks of butter.
What do you find most inspiring about your work?
I love helping women realize their courage, strength and potential and allowing babies the opportunity to be born peacefully. My clients are my biggest source of inspiration — they are truly my greatest teachers. They unknowingly and consistently inspire me to love unconditionally, ask questions and remind me that I must push past my comfort zone in order to grow.
What do you wish more women knew about midwives?
I wish more people knew that midwives are recognized healthcare professionals. We require (of our patients) regular prenatal care, do standard prenatal testing, refer as necessary and are both trained and equipped to stabilize birth-related emergencies. I wish more women knew that EVERY woman deserves a midwife. We are women’s advocates; it is our goal to provide our clients with evidence-based information so they can make informed decisions about their birth experience. We support ALL women, not just those choosing to have a home birth and not just those choosing to have an un-medicated or vaginal birth. A satisfying experience for mother and baby is our goal and it can look many different ways.
How many babies have you caught?
I have personally caught over 400 babies at home and attended/assisted in the births of many more in the hospital or with other midwives.
Your clinic is in the Broad Avenue/Binghampton area. What do you like most about the neighborhood?
I love everything about it — our neighbors, the public art, The Cove and the general creativity, diversity and fellowship of this neighborhood.
Do you have a mentor or role model?
I consider The Farm Midwives, Joseph Chilton Pearce and David Chamberlain to be my role models. The Farm Midwives seem obvious — they are both local and national leaders in the peaceful birth movement. I had the privilege of hearing Joseph Chilton Pearce speak at a conference in 2008 and it changed the way I practiced. Both he and Dr. Chamberlain’s writings taught me to be present with both mom AND baby and that my thoughts, emotions and the words I choose to use at a birth not only have an impact on the experience itself but will also become the cornerstone of what they will remember for the rest of their lives.
What are your hobbies and how do you unwind?
I love to unwind on my porch with a cocktail and watch the fauna of my yard interact and do their thing. We have thrashers, hawks, rabbits, squirrels, songbirds, you name it — there’s always a show to watch. Being a midwife has taught me the joy of observation and a greater appreciation of nature. I also love handicrafts, reading murder mysteries and listening to true crime podcasts.
What’s the first place you take an out-of-towner when they visit you in Memphis?
Wild Bill’s. Not only is it within walking distance from our house but it is an authentic Memphis experience. Good company, good conversation and cold 40s are guaranteed.
What’s your favorite Memphis attraction and why?
Overton Park — especially the Old Forest State Natural Area and the Levitt Shell. Where else can you go and have all of your senses engaged and satisfied for free? The smell of the forest, the sound of music, the art, the grass under your feet and the history that surrounds it are all so captivating to me.
What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?
Raising two free-thinking, independent, artistic and mostly polite children while maintaining a busy practice! I think that children of midwives and obstetricians have a pretty hard go; because of erratic schedules, we miss birthdays, holidays and family vacations; are vague in our commitments; disrupt heartfelt conversations for client phone calls; and teach our children how to prepare breakfast for themselves at an alarmingly young age. And yet, I have been able to stay at home with them most of the time and encourage them in self-directed learning.
Finish this sentence: If I had a superpower, it would be ____________.
The ability to give an exact due date. Or the ability to tell a woman exactly how many more pushes.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
My mother always said, “Don’t start something you don’t want to finish.” I didn’t get it when she said it but I certainly get it now.
What are three lighthearted things you can’t live without aside from faith, family and friends?
Thank you, Amy, for sharing some insight into your work and the lives you touch on a regular basis. And thanks to Micki Martin for today’s beautiful photos.