Posted on May 2, 2017
Member's Statement: Midwife Noreen Walker
Midwife Noreen Walker
Ms Babcock: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This Friday is the International Day of the Midwife, and I rise today to pay tribute to a woman from my constituency who literally touched the lives of thousands of Albertans over the span of her career, Noreen Walker. Noreen was a heroine to many and a pioneer that helped shape maternal care in this province and will be missed by friends and family and the almost 4,000 families that she served.
Noreen’s career as a midwife spanned more than 40 years. She was one of the founders of the Alberta Association of Midwives in 1986 and operated Passages Midwifery in Stony Plain. The profession itself was not formally recognized and regulated in Alberta until 1991, and it was Noreen’s charge in 1990 of practising medicine without a licence, of which she was acquitted in 1991, that contributed to this recognition. A September 1991 article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal speaks to Noreen’s dedication to her profession, reporting that “she felt ‘honoured to be the last midwife in Alberta to be prosecuted’ under the Medical Profession Act.”
Mr. Speaker, I can tell you that the birth of a child and what that looks like is so very important, with each soon-to-be mother having their own deeply personal vision. I am profoundly grateful that here in Alberta we have options as a result of the hard work and advocacy of pioneers like Noreen Walker and other midwives. It is women like Noreen that make a difference and improve the lives of everyone they touch, and this is clear from the words of those she served. “You provided such beautiful care to the mothers in labour, you became a part of their family, you loved their kids as if they were your own,” and “She gave us the gift of beauty and calm on the most special days of our lives.” She was “so brave, so honourable, and loved” according to her patients.
Mr. Speaker, the loss of Noreen has left many saddened, and I offer my condolences to her friends, family, and the birthing community. I invite the members of this House to join me in honouring her and the legacy she leaves behind.