This past week one of my lifelong dreams came true… I had the privilege of meeting Ina May Gaskin! Ina May wrote, “Spiritual Midwifery” the book that really began my journey in birth work and my passion for women’s spiritual and emotional health. Ina May started a worldwide movement in the 60s of midwifery care and trust in a woman’s body. Her work brought forth amazing stats with less than 1% cesarean section rates in thousands upon thousands of births.
In her workshop this past weekend, Ina May shared techniques she learned from indigenous tribes in Guatemala and Brazil… I saw a beautiful should dystocia delivery as well as several breech births. All of these in film from the 70s-80s and would be considered automatic surgery today.
Apart from the techniques I loved hearing Ina May’s personal stories of her own birth experience, and the first 10 or so births she attended. Did you know she had never even witnessed a birth before age 30? The first birth she attended was with zero training, in a bus in a parking lot. But it changed her profoundly. In a time where women’s husbands weren’t allowed in the room with them when they birthed in a hospital, and they were put on horrifying drugs that made them basically forget the entire experience, Ina May was a revolutionary woman in fighting for women to have ownership over their own bodies and birthing experiences.
At the end of the workshop I was able to meet Ina May and have her sign my old, battered, kid-colored-in copy of Spiritual Midwifery and dang if that wasn’t a highlight of my career. Just being next to such a matriarch was an honor.
It was also great getting to meet doulas, nurses, doctors, midwives, and birth workers of all kinds. It was all-round such a treat and I’ll be sharing and unpacking my notes and what I learned in the coming weeks. For now, here’s some photos!