Helen Jolly Nelson is one of the great pioneers of midwifery in the country and we are lucky enough to call her our founder. Helen served as a board member of NAPSAC (National Association of Parents and Professionals for the Safe Alternatives in Childbirth) and is a founding member of MANA (Midwives Alliance of North America). She served as a state officer for La Leche Leagueand is a founding member of both ATM (Association of Texas Midwives) and the NTM (North Texas Midwives). She has continually served in several positions on the Texas Department of State Health Services Midwifery Board and has attended over 3,000 births.
Helen began attending births in 1972, out of a simple desire to help families who desired a home birth. She soon realized she had a calling to full time midwifery, and in 1976 she apprenticed with a labor and delivery nurse and received instruction from a family practice physician. This training led to Helen becoming a registered midwife with the state of Texas. Helen remained a registered midwife and active in the legislative process for the next thirty years and when professional standards were established, she obtained her license and her CPM.
In 1981 Helen opened Family Birth Services (FBS), the very first free-standing birth center in the state of Texas. Her desire was to have a safe place for women deliver in a home like environment. From the day Family Birth Services opened until now, it has fulfilled that intent consistently in its original location for 36 years.
Helen’s vision didn’t stop there, she wanted to train more midwives to help more women have the birth experience they desired. From the beginning, Family Birth Services has been a center of midwifery education. Helen started the North Texas School of Midwifery at FBS, which was the forerunner of what would become the current nationally known Association of Midwives Midwifery Training Program (ATMMTP). Helen has personally trained more than 80 midwives through traditional apprenticeships at Family Birth Services, with many more “daughter” and “granddaughter” midwives trained by FBS graduates. Because of the values of relational excellence Helen infused into her midwifery education, our high-quality apprenticeship program is known and well respected nationwide.
Helen remains the owner and senior retired CPM consultant at Family Birth Services, and still serves on the Association of Texas Midwives Board and the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) Midwifery Advisory Board. She is available to the staff midwives for clinical consultations and loves sharing birth stories with everyone she meets. It is rare for Helen to go out in public in Grand Prairie or the surrounding areas without meeting a family that she has delivered a baby for, and she would not want it any other way.