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Maya Bence, LM

Maya is a Jacksonville native who has been a birth worker for over 9 years. She has been enchanted by home birth ever since witnessing the birth of her precious niece in 2015. After witnessing her sister's powerful unmedicated birth with a midwife, she applied to midwifery school and began her training just 4 months afterwards. She graduated from The Florida School of Traditional Midwifery in 2019 after serving many families throughout the state of Florida. After working in a busy birth center during her first year of licensure, Maya fulfilled her dream of opening an intimate home birth practice with her business partner and friend Mandi. In 2020 Modern Midwives was born, allowing Maya the privilege of caring for families in their homes as they bring their babies to the world. Currently Maya lives on her property on the north side of Jax with her partner Chris, their two dogs and their beautiful son, Damian. In her free time Maya enjoys cooking, baking bread, gardening, and spending time with her large & loud family. Her biggest achievement to date is giving birth to her son in her home with Mandi as her midwife. Maya's goal as a midwife is to treat each woman with the same love and compassion she would give to her own sister. She has a deep passion for undisturbed birth & believes that every mother and baby should feel loved & listened to as they walk through the portal of pregnancy and birth. 

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Mandi West, LM

Mandi was born and raised in a small town in Florida where she raised chickens, goats, horses and many other animals and plants with her family; all while having a life-long fascination with pregnancy, birth and the feminine physiology. In 2012, Mandi became pregnant with her first child at the tender age of 17 where she found herself under the care of a midwife for the first time. It was soon after this birth that she realized her passion for women's advocacy and midwifery, and as a teenager began attending births, preparing to attend midwifery school, and went on to have a beautiful home birth of her own. After graduating from the Florida School of Traditional Midwifery, Mandi moved to Duval county with her two sons to serve families of the First Coast whom she lovingly cared for throughout her time as a student midwife. Today, she lives in Atlantic beach with her sons Brandt and Grey, and her boyfriend Brandon. Her favorite things to do are camping, adventuring and road-tripping with her kids, cooking and baking, spending lots of time at the beach, and is a hobbyist fossil and shark tooth collector. Mandi cares deeply about informed consent, unconditional positive regard, and encouraging the power to remain with her clients through body autonomy and a hands-off approach.

Malu Critchley, LM

Home birth has always been a familiar concept to Malu since her mother had her and her four siblings at home in Miami. Midwifery was an interest while in high school and after being gifted Spiritual Midwifery the goal of becoming a midwife was set for Malu. Being able to attend births while in midwifery school made her confident that supporting women and families in the birth space was her life’s work. During her training she was able to work at a busy birth center. This allowed her to see many births as well as work with different midwives to learn a variety of practicing styles which helped develop how she practices today. Through witnessing many births she has come to see how important it is to step back and follow the lead of the woman in labor, holding space for her and letting her tune in to her intuition. She believes in supporting women throughout pregnancy while offering education and guidance along the way. Her goal is to create a safe, supportive, and empowering environment surrounding pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. She believes that birth is the most natural part of life and feels honored to have been invited into such intimate spaces with growing families.

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Virginia Disch, LM

Virginia was born and raised in Neptune Beach, Florida but also spent many years living in Illinois where she later graduated with her Bachelors Degree in Health Science. She has always cared deeply about women’s health and knew early on she wanted to work in health care. In 2019 she attended the birth of her niece at a local birth center. This experience led her to her passion for birth and soon after she began her journey to midwifery. For the past four years Virginia has been attending births both at home and in birth centers across Jacksonville, learning from several of our community’s midwives. She has grown a passion for providing personal, compassionate, and loving care to all her patients. Virginia lives in her childhood home in Neptune beach with her cat, Dracula. In her free time she enjoys going to the beach, drinking tea, and spending time with family. She is excited to continue to support women and families through these special moments and to be able to do it in the place she calls home.

Courtney Lay, RN, Birth Assistant

Courtney is a Jacksonville native and a birth assistant at Modern Midwives. She has always had a passion for helping others and attained her Registered Nursing license in hopes to do so in her community. Courtney is an advocate for patient-centered care and believes everyone deserves a calm, wholesome approach when tending to their health. As she witnessed natural birth and the world it encompasses, her passion in women’s health and support continued to grow. She began encapsulating placentas in 2020, became a birth assistant shortly after, and began helping to lead pregnancy support groups in the Modern Midwives office. Courtney is grateful to serve our birth community in so many ways. Courtney's goal as a birth worker is to care for each family with love and intention as they walk through their birth journey. 

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Olivia Martinez, Office Manager

Olivia is a Jax beach local who has been in birth work since 2017, serving women in our community as a birth doula and placenta encapsulator. She started offering free pregnancy and postpartum support groups here at our office to further support women in their motherhood journey, and is also the office manager of Modern Midwives. Olivia has always had a passion for all things relating to birth and babies, and found her calling in the birth world at the young age of 18! Since then, she has attended births both in and out of hospitals around Jacksonville. It wasn’t until the birth of her first daughter, Esme, in 2019 that she fell in love with homebirth. She then went on to have her second daughter, Azalea, with us here at Modern Midwives. Olivia has become a homebirth advocate empowering families one by one to feel confident and safe in their birthing decisions. Olivia’s goal is to make sure every family she comes in contact with feels supported and loved during every step on their journey in motherhood.

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