Traverse City Record-Eagle

Body & Soul

May 10, 2014

Adapted in TC: A Mother's Day celebration takes action

I used to loathe Mother’s Day.

How could I celebrate when my mother, grandmothers and mother-in-law had all died?

To cope, I employed a variety of strategies. Early on, I simply refused to get out of bed. The next year, I read Hope Edelman’s "Motherless Daughters" and sobbed for hours. Another time, I created a gathering with my motherless friends to honor our mothers.

After that, I recognized the mother figures in my life with donations to organizations serving children. Last year, as a gift, my husband had my wedding ring serviced. My ring depicts five generations of women in my family.

Then this year, I felt like I could truly celebrate Mother’s Day again.

Enter Ninotte Lubin.

I first heard about Ninotte in 2011 when local midwife, Kathi Mulder and her daughter, Tara, volunteered at an international birth clinic in Haiti. Ninotte, a Haitian midwife and administrator, was described as a dynamo who wanted to remain in Haiti and educate Haitian midwives and pregnant women.

Ninotte, 39, was born the fifth of six children in Jacmel. Originally, she wanted to become a pediatrician. Her beloved father died when she was 10. To support her mother and family, she earned a business management degree from Universite d’Etat d’Haiti, Inaghei. She speaks French, Creole and English and has worked as a teacher, translator and business person.

She’s single and doesn’t have children of her own.

Ninotte’s goal is to open a Haitian-run midwifery clinic where she can educate mothers on how to create stronger families; resulting in less violence and poverty. To open her clinic, she needs to complete a three-year U.S. online midwifery program and become a certified professional midwife. In Haiti, a similar program requires students to be under age 25. A Canadian midwife, who lives part of the year in Haiti, has volunteered to be her preceptor. Currently, Ninotte is in Michigan training with and assisting Kathi and downstate midwives.

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