Tuesday, October 9, 2012

ina may gaskin & the farm midwives - birth story

"Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin & the Farm Midwives" Official Trailer from Birth Story on Vimeo.

last thursday i had the opportunity to snag a ticket to the screening of the new ina may gaskin documentary. this was a awesome opportunity and i left overflowed with knowledge and renewed excitement for my midwife assisted natural birth sometime here soon.

the screening was held at bastyr university, put on by the simkin center where birth professionals from doulas to midwives are trained. this is where i will go to school for my training to be a doula and lactation educator - i am pretty excited about this. penny simkin herself was even there, now if only ina may had made an appearance!

if you don't know who ina may gaskin is and have a desire to learn more about midwives and natural childbirth, i urge you to read one of her many famous books, watch her episode on the more business of being born, or check out this new documentary when it is available to the public. 

She is a remarkable woman who basically got her start as a midwife after a horrible hospital birth with her first daughter, took to traveling on a caravan in 1970 with her now husband steven gaskin. Eventually the travelers moved from california to tennessee where the started a large scale commune and were delivering each others babies. Now, over 3000 births have occurred there.

this is the little snippet i got from the website on her story: "The feature-length documentary BIRTH STORY: Ina May Gaskin and The Farm Midwives tells the story of counterculture heroine Ina May Gaskin and her spirited friends, who began delivering each other’s babies in 1970, on a caravan of hippie school buses, headed to a patch of rural Tennessee land. With Ina May as their leader, the women taught themselves midwifery from the ground up, and, with their families, founded an entirely communal, agricultural society called The Farm. They grew their own food, built their own houses, published their own books, and, as word of their social experiment spread, created a model of care for women and babies that changed a generation’s approach to childbirth.

Forty years ago Ina May led the charge away from isolated hospital birthing rooms, where husbands were not allowed and mandatory forceps deliveries were the norm. Today, as nearly one third of all US babies are born via C-section, she fights to preserve her community’s hard-won knowledge. With incredible access to the midwives’ archival video collection, the film not only captures the unique sisterhood at The Farm Clinic–from its heyday into the present–but shows childbirth the way most people have never seen it–unadorned, unabashed, and awe-inspiring." source.

some of the statistics that were presented in the film, take your breath away in a bad way, it is unbelievable how out of control the natural way of birth has been taken over by narcotics, surgery, and protocol. like how only 8% of births are attended by midwives and we still have one of the worst outcome levels as opposed to a lot of other countries where the attendance is 90% with great outcomes across the board. in brazil, 89% of all births happen via c-section!

after the film was over we got to participate in a live skype q & a with the director of the film. we learned that she really struggled with finding a balance between telling the story of the farm and ina may's personal journey. i personally would love to learn more about the farm!

the film itself was beautiful, you really felt like you were sitting at a kitchen table with these women while they told these amazing sotries of births they had been a part of. today ina may and her practices are respected by doctors worldwide and even was the first midwife to have a certain method named after her, the gaskin maneuver to deliver a baby withs shoulder dystocia.

some of the births i saw left me a little shaken and nervous, like one of a breech presentation that came out bottom first, feet up at the head - could you imagine? but at the same time, it calmed me in the fact that if you are working with trained and passionate midwives, then you can be guided through a situation like this successfully.

ina may is quite the fire cracker and i am humbled by all that she fights for today when it comes to birth mortality in women, a event that has appallingly high numbers when it shouldn't.

so, i highly recommend seeing this film if you can! it really is amazing what the body can do for us.


melissa rohr said...

Thanks for this! I didn't even know about this doc until now. It sorta has miss having another baby.