Felícia is the mother of 7 children who holds a Masters degree in midwifery from the Midwives College of Utah. Actually, she started her career as a physicist in Szeged, and it was the birth of her first child right before she received her diploma that changed her life path, and it was while expecting her 6th child that she decided to become a midwife.
She and her husband, who are high school sweethearts, moved back to Hungary in 2009 after living several years abroad in Canada and the United States. Felícia lives and works in the south of Hungary, near Hódmezővásárhely. She attends births mainly in Csongrád county. Felícia began attending midwifery school in 2006, graduated in 2009 and is now one of MCU’s instructors.
I met Felícia shortly after she moved back to Hungary from the States, and I was awed by her. The seven children alone would have been enough to impress the socks off me (I had two small children at the time), but that she also completed a Masters degree while she was expecting her seventh baby was just amazing. I had recently started on my own journey towards midwifery, and was attending home births with another midwife as an apprentice. Meeting Felícia gave me hope that perhaps some day I would be able to work in Hungary as a home birth midwife, legally, and without having to go through the highly medicalized hospital midwifery training.
About home birth in Hungary
That was years ago, and even though Felícia is the most highly trained midwife in Hungary (Masters programs in midwifery don’t even exist in this country, let alone Masters programs for out of hospital births), it took her years and the confluence of many events to get her to March 12, 2012 when she became the first licensed home birth provider in Hungary.
First came the arrest of Dr. Ágnes Geréb, an obstetrician and home birth midwife of many years’ experience, the leader of the home birth movement in Hungary. (Read more articles about Dr. Geréb.) Then came the international uproar and pressure on the Hungarian government to finally regulate out of hospital births and make the work of home birth providers legal. The new regulations were drafted and came into effect in April, 2011. On March 12th, 2012, nearly a year later, the first license was issued.
Felícia’s Masters degree was first evaluated and „Hungarianized”, meaning it was accepted as a Hungarian credential. Ironically, her out-of-hospital birth Masters degree confers on her the right to attend hospital births in Hungary as a „szülésznő” or a hospital-based nurse-midwife, in addition to attending home births. Unfortunately, in the area where she lives, maternity wards are extremely conservative, and so it is out of the question for her to be able to continue a mother’s care in a hospital setting should a transfer be necessary, but in theory her credential allows her to do so.
She also had to meet certain other requirements, some of which included setting up her own company, finding a neonatologist willing to make house calls within 24 hours of a birth, finding and paying for liability insurance and jump through many other hoops set forth by the new regulations. When I reached her on the phone 2 days ago, she was actually attending the first legal home birth in Hungary.
Hopefully, Felícia will be followed by many others in receiving their out of hospital license. She has been an inspiration to me, and I am now following her footsteps, pursuing a Masters degree from the Midwives College of Utah, and inching that much closer to my dream of working as a midwife in Hungary, with the ability to serve women wherever they choose to birth.
If you want to help more home birth midwives become licensed in Hungary
Send these women money!
Felícia is a member of a team of three midwives struggling for licensure need money to pay off their CTG machine and to be able to afford their liability insurance. Every penny helps – these women have been voluntarily out of work for a year! You can donate money by clicking the donate button below.
(To be clear: when you click on the donate button, you’ll be donating towards the cost of the new CTG machine and liability insurance for a team of 3 midwives in Hungary who are only kept from being legally licensed by their inability to pay for liability insurance and have gone into debt to purchase a CTG machine. To support Dr. Geréb, go to www.freegereb.org)