Lamaze International Wishes Penny Simkin a Happy 80th & Congratulations on 50 Years of Teaching Birth Classes

penny simkin happy birth.jpgCan you imagine the memories of teaching childbirth classes every single week for the past 50 years?  Penny Simkin can and this weekend in Seattle, Penny is throwing the party to end all parties to celebrate her 80th birthday, her 50th year of teaching families childbirth classes, her 30th year of training doulas for DONA International and her 60th wedding anniversary to Peter Simkin, MD, the love of her life. Penny estimates that she has taught over 14,000 families in her childbirth classes!

Did you know that Penny Simkin was born in 1938?  

  • Gallon of gas - 10 cents
  • First class stamp - 3 cents
  • Minimum wage - 25 cents
  • 129,800,000 million people lived in the USA
  • 2,286,962 babies born in 1938
  • The National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, later known as the March of Dimes, was founded.
  • The popular comic superhero Superman makes his first appearance during April when Action Comics #1 is published

In 1968, Penny Simkin starts to teach childbirth classes to expectant families

  • Gallon of gas - 34 cents
  • First class stamp - 5 cents
  • Minimum wage - $1.60
  • 200,700,000 million people lived in the USA
  • 3,501,564 babies were born
  • Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated
  • Dr. Christian Barnard performs the first successful heart transplant

In 1988, Penny Simkin begins training doulas to support birthing families

  • Gallon of gas - $1.06 cents
  • First class stamp - 32 cents
  • Minimum wage - $5.75
  • 275,900,000 million people lived in the USA
  • 3,941,533 babies were born
  • Google was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin
  • The International Space Station construction began in space

While there have been many changes in the past 80 years since Penny Simkin’s birth, one thing has not changed.  How people give birth mattered in 1938 and it still very much matters today. Penny Simkin’s life work has been dedicated to supporting families and helping people have satisfying birth experiences around the globe, ever since she taught her first birth class in 1968. 

Linda Harmon, Executive Director of Lamaze International expresses so eloquently how we all feel: 

simkin head shot 2016.jpg"Penny is a valued leader in the birth community who has contributed tremendously to Lamaze efforts over the years as a speaker, author, blog and journal contributor and volunteer. So many professionals and families have benefited from her wisdom.  On behalf of the Lamaze community, we wish her all the best on her 80th birthday!"

Penny has published many books for consumers and professionals and has been an author or co-author of an enormous body of research. She has presented at countless conferences all around the globe. She invented the squat bar that we find on the ends of labor beds all around the world, many teaching tools that professionals and consumers use to learn about labor and birth, founded two international organizations, DONA International and PATTCh,  and was honored with having the Simkin Center for Allied Birth Vocations named after her at Bastyr University, and so much more. 

Please join me in wishing Penny Simkin a happy birthday and a huge thank you for her contributions to the birth world for the past 50 years.

1 Comment

Celebrating Penny!

June 8, 2018 02:08 AM by Jeanne Green, LCCE,CD(DONA), FACCE

Happy birthday and happy anniversary, Penny. We give thanks for all you have done for birthing women. I'm sorry we will not be at your party, but we will shout out a toast to you from Dallas. I'm so glad I got to give you a hug at your party at ICEA in Louisville. Feel that hug again now. With love and admiration to you and to Peter, Jeanne and Gordon Green

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