“Birth has been my passion for the past 20 years,” says midwife Niki Dishong. “I really love what I do.”
Dishong’s journey to midwifery began in college, when she studied goddess-based, matriarchal religions. “The goddess was in charge of life and death,” she says, “and the birth aspect was so interesting to me. It just kept pulling me until finally I realized, ‘I want to deliver babies!’ ”
She started as a nurse’s assistant in labor and delivery, and went on to earn her LPN and RN. She says her mother, who earned her NP degree at age 55, was her inspiration and “compass.”
At 41, Dishong was in her last year of midwifery school when her mom was diagnosed with cancer. “I wanted to quit and be with her, but she would not allow it.
Dishong finished her degree and then went to be with her mom in Florida. While there, her sister and mom performed the traditional midwife “blessing of the hands” ceremony for Dishong, with water from the Gulf of Mexico. “That is another strength I carry in my heart — that my mom was able to bless me to do this work before she died.”
A perfect day off for Dishong includes reading, a good, long hike (“on flat ground!”), and maybe trying out a new restaurant with her daughter. She enjoys living close to her sister and dad in the Twin Cities — and helping her colleagues at Southdale Ob/Gyn deliver the best possible care to women of all ages. “I look forward to doing this until I can no longer do it,” she says. “The work is so inspiring to me. I feel very, very blessed.”