Michigan School of Traditional Midwifery
Bearing the Future ~ Preserving Tradition
Michigan School of Traditional Midwifery, Midwife Correspondance program, education, natural childbirth, home birth, midwife school

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In Loving Memory of Karen Kamyszek
1951 - 2007

It is with an extremely heavy & grieving heart that I write the following...

The midwifery community has lost one of her kindest, gentlest gems. Karen Kamyszek of Calumet, Michigan died 6-26-07 after a long illness and determined battle with breast cancer.

A Certified Traditional Midwife, Karen attended home births for over 30 years practicing mainly in northern Michigan. She was northeast Michigan's famous "light house midwife" for 16 years living in and care-taking 40 mile point light house in Rogers City.

A determined and fearless birth advocate, Karen courageously brought home birth services to women in Canada for many years until legislation limited family choices in childbirth and she was prevented by boarder patrol from serving Canadian home birth families. For the past 6 years she had an active home birth practice in Michigan’s upper peninsula.

Born October 12, 1951, Karen was an “old school” midwife her entire adult life and an active supporter of traditional midwifery. From 1988 to 2007 she was assistant educational director for Michigan School of Traditional Midwifery and editor of The CALLING. Karen was co-founder of the Michigan Guild of Traditional Midwives and served on the board of directors of the MMA for 2 years. Of all her accomplishments, her greatest personal pride was having attended the births of her grandchildren. Those were Karen's most defining moments as a midwife and most cherished midwifery memories.

Karen was presented with a life-achievement award from the American College of Traditional Midwives in 2006 for her outstanding work and advocacy in the field of homebirth which spanned over 3 decades, and for her work with MSTM where she proudly taught hundreds students the art of Traditional Midwifery. Karen loved teaching and seeing aspiring midwives achieve their midwifery goals.

Karen always defended midwifery as something sacred and beyond the grasp of government control - thus she avoided the complications of midwifery politics and debates and kept her focus on serving families and defending the ideals of a woman’s right to birth. She was a faithful servant to birthing families and was never called upon that she didn’t answer - no matter how many miles needed to be traveled - no matter how little compensation might result.

Karen was a friend to all whom she met and she was a champion and determined guardian of natural birth. She will be greatly missed by the families and students who had the privilege to know and work with her. In life, she uniquely preserved of the ideals of midwifery past - in passing she will be cherished and remembered as truly one of a kind.

She always loved teaching at MSTM's midwifery workshops and just before she died, she expressed how very much she would miss everyone this year. She worked hard to make this years conference happen and really looked forward to visiting with all attendants - especially those whom she called "my dear students" as she fondly referred to those in MSTM that she worked with. A midwifery memorial will be held on Monday evening August 6th, 2007 at MSTM's retreat.

The family requests that donations and contributions in Karen's memory be sent to Michigan School of Traditional Midwifery, P.O. Box, 162, Mikado, MI 48745 traditionalmidwife@hotmail.com

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