Small Things Grow Midwifery consists of licensed midwives Robina Khalid and Tanya Wills. We are friends and colleagues who originally owned our own solo homebirth practices, but then spent a year exploring what a collaborative midwifery practice would look like for us. During that time, we fell in love with the way we were able to empower and nurture each other, and in turn, better empower and nurture our clients. It was then easy to decide to join forces longterm and combine our practices for clients due in 2020 onward.
In our practice, clients get to know each of us equally by alternating prenatal visits. Visits until 36 weeks occur at either our Brooklyn or Upper West Side offices (depending on the client's preference) and thereafter in the client's home. We share on-call time so that we are not each on-call 24/7, 365 days a year (as we were in our solo practices!) which means sometimes we attend births individually with a birth assistant, but whenever it's possible we attend births together. We divide postpartum care as we do prenatal care, so every client has the opportunity to process their experience with each midwife.
Partnering means sustainable midwifery practices, so we can serve the community we love for years to come. It means client access to passionate, well rested, fully present, wholly supported midwives at all times. It means two critical thinkers tackling every clinical issue that comes up. It means more ability to support future midwives. It also means, we have learned, a ton of laughter.
We believe in each other, and we believe in our clients. We believe that, together, we have more potential to make the world a better place than we do alone. We can't wait to be on your team!
About Robina (she/hers)
Robina grew up with her feet on two continents, reading books on Brooklyn stoops and running through rainstorms on Lahore rooftops. Her experiences as a working class, biracial child in the United States and in Pakistan awoke in her a deep curiosity about race, gender, and class, and the intersections between them.
That curiosity initially led her to complete a PhD in English with a focus on race and gender in early America at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her experiences there influenced her calling to midwifery, which was both spiritual and political: she believes that pregnancy and birth are sacred experiences that also happen to exist in a world often hostile to those doing the birthing, and she wanted to work to change that.
She received her Masters of Midwifery at SUNY Downstate, where she was awarded top honors upon graduation. From there, she began working in a high volume public hospital where she was able to care for some of the most vulnerable people in our city and advocate for their right to be educated and make decisions about their health while promoting the safe and loving births of their babies. There she learned from hundreds of individuals and families diverse in race, class, ethnicity, and gender expression, and from an amazing team of strong, skillfull midwives. She brings those experiences to her homebirth practice.
She is licensed by the Medical Board of New York State, and is currently working on licensure in New Jersey. She holds current certification in Basic Life Support and Neonatal Resuscitation. She is also a member of the American College of Nurse-Midwives. In previous years, she has worked with her state and city midwifery chapters on advocacy efforts, because she believes every person deserves a midwife.
She loves the art and the science of midwifery and the way it constantly challenges her to grow intellectually, personally, spiritually, and politically. She is so honored to have been called into the ancient sisterhood of midwifery, and to continually witness the courage and strength it takes to bring another person into the world. It is her sincere belief that when that power is valued and supported, it has the capacity to radically change our world.
When she is not working, she still delights in curling up with a book or being in any body of water. But she find her deepest joys learning and traveling with my husband and their three homeschooled children, all born at home with a midwife.
“I absolutely adore Robina and will be forever grateful to her for caring for me throughout my pregnancy, labor and beyond.
She created the trust and space for me to share my hopes and fears, she answered all of my many questions with confidence and humanity. Robina helped me to facilitate the birth of my dreams and was truly there for me in my most vulnerable hours.
She cared for me in a way that I have never experienced before under the care of a health provider. When she arrived at my birth, she brought smiles and calm, she let me take the lead with my labor, simply offering me gentle suggestions. I felt so safe under her experienced eye and so comfortable in her presence that I was able to tap into my primal self and go to the place deep inside that I needed to go to have my baby. Robina will always be a very special person in our lives.”
About Tanya (she/hers)
Tanya is a Licensed Midwife, Board Certified Women’s Healthcare Nurse Practitioner, and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant licensed in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. She is the owner of Manhattan Birth, where she and her team have helped thousands of expectant and new parents with “heartfelt, down-to-earth, no-purple-crystals” classes, support, and midwifery care in the childbearing year. She is a graduate of the midwifery program at Yale School of Nursing, where she received her Master of Science in Nursing with top honors, and also earned her R.N. (Registered Nurse). While at Yale, she received the Power Day Award, chosen by her peers as a promising healthcare provider who uses her power as a force for good.
A former actress, Tanya was drawn to this work after the powerful birth of her son, Milo, in 2008.
“I knew how to manage my period, how to get pregnant, and how to not get pregnant.” Knowing precious little about the process of giving birth, she found herself on a journey through her pregnancy that would lead her to plan a home birth 34 weeks into her pregnancy. After a long, challenging labor, she gave birth at sunrise on a Tuesday, amazed at what she had done - and absolutely certain she had never received care and respect the way she did from her midwife. “This is what you people do for a living? You came to work today and helped me do this?” Tanya was called to midwifery while giving birth herself.
She completed her initial birth and postpartum doula training with Debra Pascali-Bonaro through DONA, International just 3 months after giving birth. She went on to complete her holistic doula training with Whapio Diane Bartlett through The Matrona deepening her capacity to nurture and connect with couples and their babies while reaffirming her belief in the human instinctual knowledge of how to birth.
Tanya earned her Certified Lactation Counselor credential in 2010 through Healthy Children's Center for Breastfeeding enabling her to provide evidence-based lactation support and received additional training while at Yale with Julie Bouchet-Horwitz at Hudson Valley Breastfeeding as an IBCLC candidate. She trained as a midwife's assistant with Ina May Gaskin and other midwives at The Farm.
With a background in theatre, she brings warmth and a sense of humor to her classes and clients. A mother of two, Tanya balances her time when not on the beach working with pregnant folks and their partners, teaching, and learning from the people of New York City. She is also a breast cancer survivor.
“I cannot express how happy I am to have been introduced to Tanya.
I met with Tanya when I was about 25 weeks pregnant after having a home birth suggested to me. The moment she walked through the door I knew I'd like her. She's so warm and friendly and completely down to earth. I felt immediately comfortable and quite quickly felt as though if she told me pigs could fly, I'd trust her!
Throughout my pregnancy Tanya was there whenever I needed her, she was always able to put my mind at rest and reassured mein a way that allowed me to completely relax and not start googling everything. I never felt as though my questions were silly and she always made sure I had all of the information I needed.
Having a home birth really allowed me to trust and believe in myself and having an absolutely brilliant midwife is obviously part of that whole process.
I loved my experience with Tanya so much that I'm literally ready to have another baby asap! I trust this lady with my own and my children's lives implicitly and I'm so incredibly grateful to have had this opportunity in my life."