Monday, April 25, 2011


It is with great sadness that I share the news that our small home birth community has lost one of our own. Salt Lake City area home birth midwife Briana Blackwelder was killed in an accident on Saturday, April 24th. She was a devoted and caring midwife, an asset to our community and she will be greatly missed.

I don't think I could choose words to do Briana justice but I think Kristi Ridd-Young has done a brilliant job so I will instead share her words:

From MCU President, Kristi Ridd-Young
April 24,2011

It is with a heavy, sad heart that I share with you the death of one of MCU's most beloved. On Saturday afternoon, Brianna and her younger brother were in a car accident near Santaquin, Utah. Brianna did not survive the accident; blessedly her brother did.

Many of you who came to conferences got to experience the incredible way Briana, with her dear friend and soul sister Cathy, touched the lives of those families they cared for and in turn touched your life through the sharing of their wise women ways. From the time I met Briana years ago at a doula training until our last heart to heart a few days ago, I marveled at Briana's wisdom, intuition and serenity. How could a woman so young have accomplished and perfected that which most of us take a lifetime to learn?

I often teased Brianna that I was going to line her up with one of my sons so she could always be my daughter. . . I don't know if I'll be able to walk past her prenatal office to go to my desk without feeling her tender midwifery spirit emanating from within. From cradling the head of a newborn to holding a woman in her arms as she transitioned from pregnancy to motherhood, she truly honored that sacred space of midwifery.

There's a part of me that's a little bit angry right now; I want to stamp my foot and say, "I don't know the reason why and I'm not able to see the whole, big picture, but do you really need Brianna like we need her here?" What I do know is that Brianna loved and honored our heavenly parents. She is encircled in their arms while our arms ache for her. I know that her spirit will comfort her family and the many who are so painfully missing her. I am honored to have known her--truly a ministering angel.

The Midwives College of Utah will dedicate a scholarship fund in her memory to a young, single woman who has the vision Brianna did and can carry on the wise woman ways she taught each of us who were privileged to know her.

In contemplation of all we mean to each other,


You are welcome to share your thoughts and condolences in the comments area.

With love,
Heidi and the Utah Friends of Midwives


  1. Representing the Midwives Alliance of North America Region 5, we are heart broken for Utah and for the family and friends who will miss this beautiful young woman. Sending prayers and support if needed - blessings! Marinah V. Farrell

  2. I met Brianna at an MCU conference in 2007 and was so struck by her humility and kindness. I feel honored to have attended a birth with Brianna just over two weeks ago. She was an amazing midwife. I only knew her briefly but she has touched my life in a very special way. She will be greatly missed by many.