The Oregonian newspaper referred to Barbara Harper as "the Billy Graham of waterbirth" when they described her "missionary" style of promoting waterbirth around the world. Interviewed by magazines and newspapers and websites on a weekly basis, Barbara's mission of making waterbirth an available option for all women remains steadfast. Her expertise in waterbirth and gentle, undisturbed birth is widely sought in all areas of the globe. She has lectured in 43 countries, including many medical schools, nursing schools, midwifery programs and university women’s studies departments. Barbara has been interviewed by hundreds of newspapers and magazines and has appeared on dozens of radio and TV shows to talk about her work with waterbirth and gentle birth.
Barbara at the Breath of Life Birth Center in Largo, Florida, using midwife Adriana Algeri to demonstrate positioning in the free-standing birth pool.
August 14, 2009 - during a Waterbirth Credentialing Workshop at the Birth Center
Barbara started her career in maternity as an RN, but not your regular run-of-the mill-nurse. She was always passionate about mothers and babies, even in nursing school. Her maternal grandmother, Estella Ethel Harper Lemonyon, was a nurse and midwife and worked in rural Mercer Country, Ohio, where Barbara learned from an early age what service, sacrifice and hard work were all about. She founded Waterbirth International in 1987 after visiting Russia for the first time and sitting down with Igor Charkovsky, where she was influenced by his complete faith in birthing women and their babies. She also worked extensively with Binnie Dansby, in the early 1980’s learning to respect the cognitive, but repressed, experiences and memories of birth in all our lives.
Her research and experiences resulted in the publication of Gentle Birth Choices, book and DVD, an all time best seller in childbirth books. She also produced Birth Into Being: The Russian Waterbirth Experience in cooperation with Alexi and Tatiana Sargunas in 2000, after traveling many times back to Russia. Midwives and parents alike have called her video programs "the most inspiring birth videos ever produced."
Single with three children, Barbara has dedicated her life to helping heal the way we welcome babies into the world. Her two youngest sons were born at home in water. Her daughter, Beth, the oldest, was born in a typical 1970s style hospital birth. Barbara moved in 2009 from Wilsonville, Oregon, a suburb of Portland, where she raised her children over a 18 year period , to the beautiful east coast of Florida, near Ft. Lauderdale, where she is finally warm and living alone, but rarely home because of her demanding travel schedule. She loves living by the ocean being the water person that she is! You may see Barbara riding her bike along Deerfield Beach on Sundays.
For more: waterbirth.org