Editor’s note: As modern global elites champion powerful and defiant women, this series features Alaskan women who embraced their vocations as daughters, sisters, wives and mothers, while leavening the world with that particular love unique to the “genius of women.” Click the following links to read parts one and two.

The concept of putting God and family before her career is something Certified Professional Midwife Bethel Belisle has successfully put into practice for nearly 40 years.

Bethel is senior midwife and owner of Haven Midwifery Birth Centers in Anchorage and Wasilla. She is also the current Chair of the Board of Direct-Entry Midwives, which most recently persuaded the Alaska Legislature to overturn one of the governor’s many Emergency Orders to abolish it in the name of “efficiency.” As chair, Bethel has been instrumental in raising Alaskan midwifery standards to match the national standards set by the North American Registry of Midwives.

Married for 36 years to a man she calls “the model of the servant heart,” Bethel and her husband have committed to follow the Word of God and daily live out their Messianic Jewish faith. Together they’ve raised 14 children, six by birth and eight by adoption. They currently have six grandchildren.

“Be keepers at home. The years really do fly by, and you do not get them back. If the Lord has placed something on your heart to do, trust his timing.

Bethel started out as a childbirth educator after her second child was born and became a fully licensed midwife after her sixth. She opened a small, family-friendly office in her home while her husband rented a larger office space for his work, so he could care for their children while they both worked. Bethel took a break from midwifery to focus on homeschooling during the children’s formative years, returning to full-time practice after all 14 were older.

Asked how she’s been able to run a successful midwifery practice, maintain a strong marriage, and raise a large family, Bethel’s answer is simple: “Prayer and priorities. I couldn’t be a midwife without prayer, and my priorities are God, husband, family. God and family come before my career. My husband and family know that if our relationships suffer because of my work, I’ll quit in a heartbeat.” 

Women who’ve been under her care appreciate Bethel’s God and family-centered approach to maternity care.

“I love that Bethel raised her own large family and that her practices are truly pro-life,” said Jen, a mother of 10. “I’ve worked with several other midwives over the years… Bethel supports our maternal and infant health needs at whatever point we need them and whether we are directly in her care or not.”

Today, Bethel has two of her daughters working alongside her.

“I get overwhelmed thinking how blessed I am to work with my girls,” she said. “To see them on a professional level and for them to do such strong work makes this mama’s heart so happy.”

Her daughter, Asher, is working through her apprenticeship to become a midwife. Another daughter, Noa, is a Certified Professional Midwife pursuing a bachelor’s in psychology with a goal of earning her master’s degree so she can eventually work with women battling mental health disorders in their childbearing years.

If given the chance to speak to the hearts of women today, Bethel would urge them to prioritize faith and family.

“Be keepers at home,” she said. “The years really do fly by, and you do not get them back. If the Lord has placed something on your heart to do, trust his timing. Fall in love with your husband daily, as a strong marriage is foundational. And remember: God is always good. He always loves you and there is always enough grace for today.”

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Authentic Alaskan Women (Part 3): Leading midwife places God, husband & 14 kids above unique career

Theresa Bird
Theresa Bird is a wife and homeschooling mother of eight. She earned her BA in Philosophy at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, NH. She lives in Anchorage.


  • DaveMaxwell says:

    Wow remarkable!

  • Cina says:

    Bethel, you are a woman of God. Your priorities are in order and you have been blessed. May others seek Him. Thank you for blessing birthing moms with a alternative care.

  • Todd M Lindley says:

    Great example! Thanks for sharing!

  • tata says:

    Eight kids? Fourteen kids? Use some birth control for heck’s sake. There is not one significant social or environmental problem that couldn’t be eliminated or diminished by a reduction in population.