SARAH VERBIEST

Looking Forward , Sarah Verbiest, founder of Every Woman Southeast, reflects on the new year and what it holds.

Another featured leader from Kentucky is Susan Holland Brown, Kentucky’s Statewide Folic Acid Campaign Coordinator, Registered Nurse, Childbirth Educator, Board Certified Lactation Consultant, Grief Counselor, MCH Nurse Consultant, & Co-Author Kentucky Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait Toolkit. We interviewed her to find out more about her experience and interest in Every Woman Southeast.

How long have you been in your current position?

Twenty-two years in public health as an MCH nurse, childbirth educator, lactation consultant, and grief counselor; and 12 years as Kentucky’s Statewide Folic Acid Campaign Coordinator for the Kentucky’s Folic Acid Partnership (KFAP).

What is your favorite thing/task/part of your work?

I like that all of my jobs revolve around women and the families they nurture.

What is your biggest challenge?

As a nurse and public health professional I’m used to multitasking and juggling priorities but in recent years TIME is what I really miss! Like everyone there’s always too much to do and too little time to do it in… and never any down time to catch up, but friends call that job security and I call it LIFE!  

Why are you involved in/interested in Every Woman Southeast?

I spent 10 years of my nursing career working OB at Salem Hospital in Salem Oregon where I saw childbearing-aged women living a different culture than the women in the Southeast were living at the time. Everyone gave birth naturally with only a few exceptions of those women who truly needed a cesarean birth and of those who did—most gave birth via VBAC the next time around; and everyone breastfed their babies! I learned so much from that positive environment and with my youngest two daughters being born there I got to experience firsthand just how incredible and empowering natural birth can be. It was a life-changing experience that I have never forgotten and I wish women in the Southeast could experience that same type of environment!

If you had a million dollars what would you do with it? (Besides move to the mountains or beach and retire).

I’ve always said in my childbirth classes that if I ever won the lottery I would use the money to go around and bribe all the OBs to not tell women in the early stages of labor that they were in labor because of the way it affects their whole mindset when they hear those words—suddenly feeling each and every twinge when previously they were just fine and would probably have sped right through those 8 hours of early labor without skipping a beat, had nothing been said! Of course, everyone always laughs but there is sincerity in my desire. Why don’t we pay more attention to how our words and actions affect women and their pregnancy outcomes?

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