Q&A with a midwife: Tara Donohue, Clinical Midwifery Specialist

Nurse & Midwife Support Stakeholder Engagement Coordinator Celeste Pinney asked midwife Tara Donohue all about her career, clinical practice, and advice for young midwives. Here’s what she had to say.

photograph of Tara Donohue with baby


Tell us about your background in midwifery. 

“My interest in midwifery grew from knowledge gained during the pregnancies and births of my two daughters Maya and Leela. The journey unraveled after travels in India which led to yoga teacher training, then doula training and finally a Bachelor of Midwifery at Australian Catholic University. 

After a graduate year at Mercy Hospital for Women I continued to gain skills across all areas of midwifery.

I am now very blessed to work in Midwifery Group Practice. 

My passion for midwifery continues to grow, special interests include optimal fetal positioning for pregnancy and labour, water birth, yoga for birth preparation, complimentary therapies, wellness for midwives and supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait women.

I have completed Childbirth Education Training at the Royal Women’s Hospital and the School of Shamanic Womancraft’s Four Seasons Journey. More recently I became Spinning Babies Aware Practitioner and a Baby Wearing Consultant and Educator. 

I find wisdom, peace and rhythm in the cycles of nature and live amongst the trees, close to the river on Wurundjeri country, Warrandyte with my children, sheep, cat and dog Lulu.”

How long have you been a midwife for and what areas/model of midwifery care have you worked in?

“8 years now! Over the years I have worked across antenatal clinic, birth suite, childbirth education, special care nursery, postnatal ward and domiciliary — in both public and private settings. Now, I work in Midwifery Group Practice at Eastern Heath where I provide holistic, continuity of care for women and families — my dream job!”

Why did you decide to become a midwife?

“I became fascinated with midwifery when pregnant with my first child Maya. I remember picking up a copy of Janet Balaskas’ New Active Birth and thinking, Wow, it's amazing what our bodies can do!

When she came quickly into the world seven weeks early I was for the first time in the hospital system and really admired the midwives and doctors' support, sensitivity and professionalism in the NICU. 

From there I completed yoga teacher training and flowed into doula training and after supporting a few beautiful births including one of my best friend's home births I was hooked! I was inspired to be a part of it and support women in this special time. The home birth of my son Ushan with my partner, children, friend and midwife present reminded me how powerful and healing birth can be and I love how it brings family and community together.”

There are many highs and lows working as a midwife. What keeps you/ kept you going through the challenging times?

“I remind myself of the importance of the sacred work we do as midwives and the difference it can make in a womans and family's life. I enjoy connecting with friends and focus on my health rituals: healthy plant-based food, yoga, meditation, reformer pilates, bodywork, meditation, river walks and singing to nourish me.”

If you could use one word to describe what its like to be a midwife, what would that be?


The philosophy of midwifery is to be “with woman”. What attributes or qualities do you draw on within yourself to help you be present with woman, even through busy and pressured moments of time?

“Hmmmm observation, empathy, compassion, patience, connection, adaptibility....

I love the deeper knowing of the women's needs and caring, trusting partnership that develops in a continuity of care model.”

Could you please share with us one experience that stands out in your time working as a midwife?

“There are so many! Probably during a birth witnessing a woman moving through the intensity of transition to catching her baby, you can literally see in her face she has found an inner power, an inner strength she didn’t know she had! And is forever changed!!”

Why do you think midwifery is such an important profession?

“Midwifery is an ancient profession it connects us to our linage, our sisters and all midwives gone before. It is holistic and encompasses a woman’s emotional, social, physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. We are “holding space” for a woman to move through a rite of passage which will become her birth story and the start her parenting journey and witnessing transformation in action.”

If you could give one piece of advice to student and graduate midwives, what would you tell them?

“The end can be hard and present many challenges. You are not alone. Draw on the qualities you cultivate for women and families in midwifery practice. Positivity, reflectiveness, generosity, integrity, decisiveness, commitment, resilience and empathy. Practice your health rituals and self-care.

And remember you got this! This is your birth as a midwife! Keep going, keep breathing. The golden time is near and it's amazing!”

Thanks for sharing your insights with us Tara!

If you’re a midwife, nurse or student and need someone to talk to, we’re here for you — free, confidential, 24/7, Australia-wide. Call 1800 667 877 or email us.

Celebrate International Day of the Midwife with us!