“Why THIS building for Healing Passages?”, you ask.


Because spirit and intention matter.


It matters to Chaden and I. It matters to the Willowsong Midwifery team providing theCare. It matters to the artisans of Silent Rivers. It matters to the community we serve. And this spirit, this intention, has the ability to set the path for a more connected, sustainable, safer future for our planet. Or NOT.

On the hilltop corner of 800 19th Street, in the historic Sherman Hill neighborhood ~ up the street from where Willowsong Midwifery Care has been since 2003 ~ there sits a two-story masonry building that has sat empty for years. Chaden Halfhill, of Silent Rivers Design+Build had a vision to bring the building to life through a sustainable renovation aimed to “decrease our carbon footprint, increase energy efficiency and promote better use of materials”.

The site has a green roof…

Green roof on Des Moines Sherman Hill Green and Main building being renovated and designed by Indigo Dawn and Silent Rivers

And a rain wall and rain garden to effectively manage stormwater runoff, as well as geothermal heating and cooling, natural ventilation and solar panels…

Solar panels on Des Moines Sherman Hill building being renovated and designed by Indigo Dawn and Silent Rivers

The very caring, intentional restoration of this prominent building in the neighborhood is the beginning of a greater vision to restore, create and nurture sustainable communities, one building at a time, all around Iowa.

“This project will not only help to beautify a historic piece of our community, but it is our hope that we will inspire others to follow suit,” said Chaden. “There are over 10,000 buildings around Iowa alone that have a structure similar to that of our pilot project.

We could drastically change our environment if we were to implement more sustainable practices when renovating those existing buildings”.

Now that sounds a little like the purpose, mission, vision & values of Willowsong Midwifery Care.

We could drastically change our environment if we were to implement safer, more sustainable birth practices around the world.

This is theHeart of why Healing Passages, the entity that provides theSpace, chose Green & Main’s pilot project to be its future home. We know that when we CARE for one another, we must not disconnect from being human, from the cycles of LIFE, for we all are connected to one another and to our planet. The journey is not sterile. It is organic. The power to HEAL, comes from these connections and this knowing.

Take a moment to imagine a space that holds the belief that BIRTH is SACRED…

An opportunity for transformation for all who participate, an unfolding of a mother and baby’s journey beyond our control, a biological process designed to be SAFE for mother and child, where technology is only used when medically necessary, where the mother’s intuition is honored, where she and her newborn are seen as ONE and her soul’s connection to her baby is valued.

Now, feel yourself in another paradigm, in a space where the belief is that BIRTH is a MEDICAL PROCEDURE…

A physiological condition fraught with danger for mother and child, a process meant to be controlled and pushed, where all who participate feel nothing but FEAR expecting the worst to happen, where technology is seen as far superior than  the body’s design and mother and baby are seen as TWO ~ their soul’s connection devalued.

One paradigm does everything from a point of connection to each other, to our planet. The other from a point of disconnect from ourselves and the planet.

Not only does the building and the land upon which it rests synergistically work with and remind us as human beings of our connection to all the cycles of life; so does the design and intent of the space reflect those connections.

The next blog post will reflect upon how every aspect of the interior is designed for the women and families of Willowsong and what we, as women, do with each other ~ we hold space ~ guiding each other through all the passages of life. It is in this building’s design that theSpace, within which this hard work occurs, shall feel connected and organic as a gentle reminder to us all that this is where all healing begins.
Cosette Boone is the Founder and Executive Director of Healing Passages Birth & Wellness Center, which is the main tenant of the renovated building.

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