La Matriz Birth

Tema Mercado, Midwife

Grounded Bilingual Homebirth Midwife Care for San Diego and Tijuana, Baja California Families

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Mission Valley , San Diego
3633 Camino Del Rio South, #206, San Diego CA. 92198
Tijuana Clinic



About Tema Mercado, Midwife of La Matriz Birth

Tema Mercado is a Xicana mother of five children, wife, and Licensed Midwife.

She was born and raised in San Jose, California and studied for a short time in Mexicali, Baja California. Tema has dedicated the past 20 years in the service of women at different capacities, Gang Intervention Specialist, Sexual Assault Counselor, Perinatal Health Educator, Teen Parent Advocate, Breastfeeding Peer Counselor and Birth Doula. After being a doula for some time Tema came to a cross roads. Being a doula meant she could support many women within the hospital setting but it also meant she must bear witness to some of the traumatic routine hospital practices. She knew as a Doula that her care in the hospital was limited to the care provider and that if she wanted her clients to receive more dignified care that she would have to become their care provider. The universe aligned and her prayers were answered, Tema received full funding to Midwifery School and completed her three years of clinical practice at Birth Roots Maternity and Women’s Health Center in Chula Vista, CA. When not immersed in the birth world she enjoys attending cultural events, Aztec dancing, singing, playing the guitar and sewing.

Tema’s passion above all things

is working with women and witnessing them transcend to higher manifestations of their true self.

She is a true women’s advocate. She honors and incorporates traditional ways with modern day midwifery practices to help heal and comfort the emotional and physical needs of mothers at all stages.

What is your philosophy about birth?

Birth is a physiological and sacred process. I believe it needs to be treated with reverence from conception all the way to postpartum. Natural birth can look many ways for each person. What I know to be true about birth is that it will continuously humble us. I will never know all there is to know about birth.Birth is the climax of this entire process but it’s the smallest part of the journey. While it is of utmost importance that this moment is prepared and planned for, it is not the only important part of the process.
Becoming a mother does not happen in those moments after pushing, it’s an evolution at every stage of your pregnancy and through postpartum.

My philosophy is simple, give the mother love.
Treat her with dignity and respect.

I do this by humbling myself and providing her a hand tailored midwifery experience. So that when the time comes to face labor, she knows that she is supported. She trusts in her team and we trust in her. She chooses how she wants to traverse her own process.

In this way, I believe that childbirth is a unique portal for women to realize their true self.

When guided, respected, and protected through the process of childbirth a woman can transcend into the deepest dimensions of herself. There, she can heal and gain powerful medicine that she can carry forth for herself all those who surround her.

My job as a midwife is to make sure that all the checklists have been checked. I guard and make sure that the process is within safety parameters. I will use my diagnostic tools ( blood pressure cuff, doppler, exams etc.) to ensure the mother and baby’s safety. I know how to be hands off and understand when I must use my skills. I pay close attention to the mother and partners needs throughout the birth. I listen and honor the birthing families wishes while making sure they too understand my limitations and boundaries.

Why did you decide to become a Doula & Midwife?

I eventually came to birth work in my late 20’s in a very unexpected way. I went to go visit a friend of mine after she had her first daughter. I sat there and listened to her birth story, she told me about her magical natural birth, her doula support, her encapsulated placenta and most of all how happy and satisfied she was with her birth experience. I walked out of her home flooded with so many emotions and questions. Why did I not have an experience like that? I didn’t even know it was possible too. Soon after I enrolled into the soonest birth doula training in my area. After only about 30 births as a doula I knew I could no longer stand by and witness obstetric violence, lies, and women being spiritually crushed with traumatic births experiences. Being a doula reminded me a lot of my work as a Sexual Assault Advocate. I had to put up a fight and make sure my client was talked to with respect and honesty. Walking into the hospital was like a battlefield at times. I took so many hits all to protect the mother, the baby, the new family. I knew that if I wanted things to be different for my sisters, that I would become their care provider. So I began manifesting Midwifery education. With so very little resources but with a full vision and a determined heart I found a grant that paid for my midwifery school tuition and landed my dream apprenticeships with my very own midwives. It was as if the universe was just waiting for me to find my path into midwifery because everything unfolded right before my eyes.

La Matriz Birth’s Ideal Clients

My clients invest in their birth the same way they might in purchasing a home, buying a car or planning a vacation. They understand that time and dedication is needed into preparing on all levels for their birth. They see value and cherish the way that they will welcome their child into this world.

I work with families that are making an informed decision in hiring a homebirth midwife, and that have a grounded willingness to fully give themselves to this transformative process.

My clients accept a natural birth from rooted place within themselves because they believe in their innate ability to birth. They are open to the many paths that their birth journey can take, and they understand that midwifery care can guide them through this process despite the twist and turns it may take.

What consistent feedback do you get from your past clients?

My clients always appreciate my unique and caring presence. They appreciate the different therapeutic therapies that I utilize. They say I am wise, encouraging, empowering yet calm.

My clients most enjoy our prenatal visits and all the education that is packed into our sessions.

“Tema is an amazing midwife who counseled me through the loss of my 4th pregnancy. She was able to give me medical, practical, and emotional help through the process of miscarrying my precious babe. I will be forever grateful for her warm and caring heart. She has a true passion for midwifery and for helping women. Thank you, Tema!” ~ Gabriela G.

What is your training in midwifery?

I chose a direct entry into Midwifery. For many years I avoided all college courses that had anything to do with the medical and science field. My heart was always in helping people with social work and community activism, until I became a doula. I then realized that I could become a homebirth midwife and still offer that emotional and spiritual component all the while still having a hand in midwifery/birth activism. I was willing to learn all the science and medical components so that I could offer this unique care. So, I enrolled into National College of Midwifery. I completed my degree in Midwifery within a span of three and half years. I then took my national certification exam through the North American Registry of Midwives earning me the title of Certified Professional Midwife (CPM). In order to practice as a Licensed Midwife (LM) in the State of California, I had to meet the requirements provided by the Medical State Board of California.

You can learn more about California’s Practice Guideline for Licensed Midwives here.

My required clinical training was all done at Birth Roots Women’s Health & Maternity Center, the same birth center where my third and fourth children were born. These were my only natural birth experiences and I was thrilled when I was accepted as their apprentice midwife.

Birth Roots is unique in many ways. It is a freestanding birth center, this means it has autonomy from the hospital and and other accrediting associations . Because of this they are one of few birth centers that accept VBAC & VBA2C clients. This was monumental in my clinical experience. Additionally Birth Roots is the only Birth Center located in South Bay San Diego, near the U.S Mexico International Border. This allowed me the unique and beautiful experience of working with Mexican residents desiring an a “Parto Respetado,” a respected birth. Due to Mexico’s high c-section rate, 50% nationally, up to 90% in private hospitals and placing 4th in the world in obstetrical violence, clients would cross international borders to receive dignified care. My apprenticeship there laid my foundation to providing Tijuana midwifery and humanitarian services. Today I have facility privileges at Birth Roots to conduct my prenatal appointments with clients and as a birth center delivery option.

Education & Academic Training

Medical State Board of California – Licensed Midwife
North American Registry of Midwives – Certified Professional Midwife
A.A Science in Midwifery 2016 – National College of Midwifery
Holistic Newborn Transition – Neonatal Resuscitation Program
Optimal Fetal Positioning – Spinning Babies
Birth Emergency Skills Training – B.E.S.T
Trained Labor Assistant – Birth Roots Maternity Center
Certified Birth Doula – DONA International
Trained Birth Doula – TOLABOR
Certified Conflict Resolution Mediator – STAR
Certified Lactation Educator and Counselor – UCSD
Breastfeeding Peer Counselor – California Women’s Infants and Children
Sexual Assault Advocate and Counselor – CALCASA
Certified Hatha Yoga Instructor – Nature’s Whisper School of Yoga
Storytelling for the Birth Worker

Tema’s Current Services

Interested in having something different and special for your upcoming birth? Thinking about Home Birth?
Click on a service below to learn more about what La Matriz Birth provides.