At the heart of Frontier Nursing University is a talented and diverse community of students, alumni, faculty, staff, Couriers and preceptors. Spotlight blogs feature members of our FNU community that are focused on the mission of educating nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners to deliver quality health care to underserved and rural populations.
For Madison, Wisconsin-based Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) and Frontier Nursing University alumni Ingrid Andersson, the fundamental rights of pregnant people has always been at the forefront. Andersson believes that reproductive justice should be actively defended and that these rights, as defined by Loretta Ross of the Sister Song Reproductive Justice Collective, include the right to have children, the right to not have children and the right to parent children in safe and healthy environments.
“Throughout my career, I have worked to ensure pregnant people’s access to a full spectrum of pregnancy options, at the same time working for safe and healthy environments,” she said.
Andersson earned her post-graduate certificate (PGC) in Nurse-Midwifery from FNU in 2000. She has worked as a CNM through a private home birth practice for 21 years.
As a CNM in a private practice, Andersson said her model of care is not based on “provider/patient,” but on a healthcare partnership.
“I learn as much or more from my families as they do from me,” she said. “It is also very prevention-oriented, so much of our hour-long visits are spent in discussing things like work stress, relationships, nutrition and COVID management.”
Andersson said though many people are aware of the effect stress and anxiety can have on a pregnancy, these factors also can have an effect on breastfeeding. To address this, Andersson founded Mothers’ Milk Alliance, Inc. (MMA) in 2007. The organization is designed to provide mothers who cannot produce enough breast milk (in the short-term or long-term) access to breastmilk from donors. Today, MMA has five community freezers, and about 6,000 ounces of breast milk is moved in and out of their facilities each month. Those who donate breast milk to the organization are tested by volunteer midwives and the organization also receives support from local physicians and lactation consultants.
In addition, Andersson was included on the founding steering committee of the Wisconsin Environmental Health Network (WEHN). A group of healthcare professionals who collaborate with local environmental advocates, WEHN works to inform healthcare professionals, the public, and policy makers about the effects of environmental toxins and climate change on public health. This year’s virtual conference, which began in February and will continue through March, focuses on various topics including the health and financial burdens of extreme heat and what health professionals should know about protecting vulnerable populations from environmental and occupational harm.
Andersson also is the co-founder of Pregnancy Options Wisconsin: Education, Resources & Support, Inc. (POWERS). The organization is made up of volunteer doctors, midwives, doulas, educators, and activists who are committed to pregnant people’s informed choice and access to all pregnancy options.
“I believe that a career of connecting dots and walking bridges between practitioner and activist, individual and community, health and environment, has helped build the strong relationships that my community enjoys between home and hospital,” she said.
Just as Andersson’s career influences her advocacy, it also influences another one of her passions: poetry. She recently released her first published book of poetry, entitled “Jordemoder: Poems of a Midwife.” Published by Holy Cow! Press, the book draws upon Andersson’s experience as a Certified Nurse-Midwife with an academic background in medical sciences, anthropology, and European literature and languages. “Jordemoder” is the Swedish and Danish word for “midwife.” “Jord” translates to “earth/ soil/land/world,” while “moder” translates to “mother.”
“The word, for me, captures midwifery as a metaphor for an ecology or a reciprocity of world relationships, as much as the literal processes of pregnancy, birth and early parenting,” Andersson said.
Since earning her certificate from FNU, Andersson has precepted several Frontier students and continues to enjoy meaningful relationships with them.
“I loved – still love – [FNU’s] legacy of turning around abysmal, shameful local health statistics and its benchmark history in serving families at home,” she said. “I continue to work with Frontier colleagues and students and love the ongoing connection and support as a preceptor.”
FNU is incredibly proud of Andersson’s work as a healthcare professional and passionate advocate. She is an exceptional example of FNU’s Culture of Caring.
To read more alumni stories, visit the FNU Alumni stories page.