Who we are
EMPWR was founded in 2020 by Arlene Oram, a queer Midwife providing LMC (Lead Maternity Carer) services during pregnancy dedicated to those identifying as part of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Lou Kelly, joining the EMPWR team in 2021, an antenatal educator and Midwife offering pregnancy acupuncture. See more about the services they offer here.
Founded by Arlene Oram, a queer Midwife and yoga teacher.
Increasingly aware of negativity and prejudices regarding queer whānau and their experiences whilst giving birth in hospital, Arlene compiled a survey in October 2020 to discover more. Sadly but unsurprisingly, the experiences of the queer community using maternity services were overwhelmingly negative.
Arlene founded EMPWR, to counteract the negativity and offer a compassionate pregnancy LMC (Lead Maternity Carer) service dedicated to the LGBTQIA+ Takatāpui community.
Arlene identifies as a queer, white, cis-gendered, able-bodied woman using she/her pronouns, and acknowledges the privileges she has; hoping to hold a safe space for those more marginalised than her.
Lou Kelly, a queer, non-binary Midwife and antenatal educator trained in traditional Chinese medicine.
Navigating the midwifery workforce and the healthcare system, Lou has seen how the structures of gendering and heteronormativity within reproductive health create inequitable outcomes for those who live outside the boxes of heterosexual or cisgender.
This insight, both firsthand as a patient, and in a professional capacity led them to embark on work that is centred in dismantling those structures, and welcoming in all birthing and parenting bodies to their practice.
Lou's hope is that by doing the work they do to change the system at its very root, that birthing whānau won’t have to bear the burden of that work. They aim to support birthing people to have a joyful and empowered experience of pregnancy, birth, and early parenthood.