Ezzy, Ronna, and Silas under the Oak Tree.

Ezzy, Ronna, and Silas under the Oak Tree.




Ronna Strilaeff-Maldonado gave birth to her youngest son, Ezreal, or “Ezzy” in her bed at her small home in Farmville, Virginia.  A mid-wife helped with the birth.


“It changed my life,”  she said, “I can’t describe it in words.”  

She had this sparkle, or glow, or something about her as she said it.  She was holding Ezzy at the time and standing on her porch in the sun.  This was a few weeks ago, but I wanted to know more.


Ronna is the co-director of the Farmville division of Birth Matter’s, an organization whose mission is “to improve the culture of birth in Virginia by promoting an evidence-based model of maternity care and supporting care providers who practice mother friendly care.”  


I sat down to talk to Ronna a few days ago in her living room on what seemed like a typical day.  Silas, her oldest son, stood in front of me offering me his finest toys: skateboard, cowboy hat, red cape, and some others.  Ezzy ran about the room without any pants on playing with whatever toys lay about.


Now keep in mind, I am feeling a bit out of my league talking to Ronna, as a man and a single man at that, whose child-bearing career looks far off, but, I am interested.


“There are choices and there are options for women in their maternity care and the way that they give birth.”  She started.  There is also a lot of information, that is not widely accessible.


According to Birth Matter’s website, the United States spends more money than any other nation on maternity care.  YET, we are the 29th ranked in infant mortality (babies dying before their first birthday) and the US ranks 41st in maternal mortality (the mother dying around the time of childbirth).  What is the difference between the United States and other developed nations that is causing this?  Midwives and, not obstetricians, are used to manage birth in the other countries.


I like the idea of the natural birth process with no drugs, in your own bed with loved ones nearby.  I have recently read a book about aborigines, whom would go out to the “birthing spot” in the outback and hold onto a tree, while standing up and the baby would plop out into the hot, desert sand. 


As Silas was running off into other room with my car keys, “I got your kweeysz!!!” 

Ronna was trying to quote from a recent documentary about the maternity industry, “The Business of Being Born,” that “birth is going to change you, it is just a matter of how.”  


For more information, check out the Birth Matter’s website, it has a host of information or there is a monthly meeting in Farmville, that discusses birth options and information for couples.


Tommorrow, I will be heading out on another pre-hitchhiking trip up North towards Charlottesville.  My goal there will be to meet at least one World Changer and talk to them.   


Change your world,



“Women need to have variety of options for giving birth where they feel the safest, and that is going to be different for every woman.”   -Ronna Strilaeff-Maldonado