Hey there! I’m Erica Lea Barclay and I am Florida Licensed Midwife 331 who is officially joining the Barefoot Birth family, though I have been an honorary member for quite some time now. I’m here to say ‘hello!’ following this exciting announcement and introduce myself to everyone!
But first… we’re going to take it waaaayyyy back!
For as long as I can remember, I have been intrigued by the human body. Enamored with muscles & natural healing, I would innately massage (to the best of my little-four-year-old-hand’s ability) the sore, achy muscles of my mom or babysitter. They always told me how great I was or how strong my hands were. So in 5th grade when we learned about basic human musculature… That. Was. It. I needed to become a Massage Therapist one day!
Fast forward 10 years, my hubby and I packed up and journeyed from New York to Florida and I began massage therapy school. Shortly after graduation, reiki training & licensure, I landed a job with a Spring Hill Chiropractor. Here I met a young chiro whose wife was trying to conceive. He approached me to provide reiki & massage treatments to enhance their possibility of having a baby. Ultimately, we both got pregnant within one month of each other. They knew right off the bat they would be seeing a midwife and desiring a home birth. “How incredible!”, I thought, but I had already established myself with an Ob/Gyn. Even though I knew I wanted a natural birth, I didn’t realize at the time that the hospital was not a keen choice for achieving that goal.
I immersed myself in research, read books, watched documentaries, anything regarding the safety of out-of-hospital birth, midwifery care, natural vs. medicated births- everything! I knew I had to have a home birth around 20 weeks into my pregnancy. I chose the same midwife my co-worker hired. They had interviewed a couple of home birth midwives who would travel to Spring Hill and they seemed to really like her. I wound up having an unremarkable, lovely homebirth… only because I would have had a lovely birth, not because I had a spectacular midwife. In fact, this same midwife had not given the same level of care to *three* other women that I knew. She had completely abandoned two & didn’t even show for the birth of the last. After all of these women had terrible experiences with her, I thought there had to be a better option. It shouldn’t be that some families get to have a great home birth simply because the midwife liked them better than the next… All women should have the opportunity to experience a great pregnancy & birth, be treated in a balanced, respectful & professional way, following a standard of care.
The poor midwifery care (if we should even call it that) and treatment my friends received and their failed home birth attempts, thrust me onto a path of providing beautiful, quality care for all families desiring home birth. When I started midwifery school, I was blessed with an opportunity to work with a seasoned midwife, where I first met Charlie Rae! Charlie continued to mentor me through her remaining duration at school and after getting licensed. Her willingness to teach me was so inspiring & I’m so grateful to still be involved in her practice!
I went on to work with an incredible CNM who owned a super busy birth center in Orlando, where I gained a wealth of knowledge and fine-tuned my skills. Here, I was able to work under two amazing nurse-midwives and a licensed midwife who has been practicing for over 20 years! It was craz busy, stressful & so so wonderful. Oh! Did I mention I was also pregnant with my second daughter while finishing my clinical requirements here? I gave birth to a second beautiful baby girl at home with Charlie as my midwife and was able to finish my clinical requirements with my tiny baby in tow. It was a special time and the perfect way to gently ease into my life as a primary midwife.
Finally! I was licensed in 2016 and here I am, in Spring Hill, FL. With my hubs, Bradley and our two wee lasses, Charli Samantha (6 y/o) & Everette Jaclyn (8 mo). Our 3 cats, Link, Bowser & Peach. With dreams to maybe move back up north one day.
As I join Barefoot Birth, I will be covering Charlie’s prenatal visits in the event of a birth and act as her primary backup midwife. Occasionally you may see me pop into The Roots to get to know clients. Mainly, I will be working to expand the practice into Hernando, Citrus, Pasco & Sumter counties.
If you live in or near these counties, you’ll understand the desperate need for midwives there is! I sincerely look forward to meeting everyone! I’ll be sure to post updates on events, health fairs or groups I will be attending as I introduce myself into the community up this direction.
If you’re in my service area, feel free to contact me for a consultation to discuss your options!! You can reach me via email or by phone at 813.515.0825. I sincerely look forward to growing midwifery options for families north of Tampa and cannot wait to meet all of you! Love and Light, Barefoot Family!