Tavoria Kellam, CNM

When I started out in life, I wanted to be a doctor. I was told girls can’t do that; even the encyclopedia said so. So I decided to become a ballerina or a nun because I liked the outfits. I later read something about “midwives” and that it meant “with women” and I thought that sounded great. But everyone said it was a dead profession and in any case illegal. There being no Wikipedia or internet, and scant mention of midwifery at all in my encyclopedia, I pursued other interests, eventually earning a Masters in theoretical linguistics and doing research on visual-manual languages (signed languages) especially Japanese Signed Language. After 5 years in Japan, I returned to the US and landed a job at NYU where I learned that my long-held love, midwifery, had never been dead or illegal and was in fact alive and well and thriving at SUNY Downstate University, so I returned to school, earned a Bachelors in nursing at NYU and completed a Masters in midwifery in 2000. I’m thrilled to be a part of the New Life family and continue to love being with women at all stages of their lives (though when the British series Call the Midwife appeared on PBS, I realized I still have a thing for a crisp, freshly starched wimple!).