Saturday, April 24, 2010
Old Hippie, Talking Smack
Ina Mae is here in town! She is speaking at a conference here in town. Here is a snapshot of her I took in California last Fall. For those who don't know, Ina Mae Gaskin is a pioneer in birth here in the US. She and her band of hippie followers started a commune in the 1970s in Tennessee devoted to (well lots of things, but one was natural birth) that triggered the homebirth movement here in the US. When I read her book, Spiritual Midwifery in 1978 as a 15 year old pregnant teen, it transformed my thinking on childbirth and truly set me on the course I am today. Her recent work on maternal mortality is, like her work on homebirth, ahead of it's time. She is a true hero to me. I've seen Ina Mae speak lots of times, but never here in my city. She rambled on the way she does in her stream of consciousness style of speaking. Her photos and stories of the commune days are always enjoyable. Her rantings about the benefits of 'socialized medicine' don't play as well here in the conservative midwest. A natural born storyteller, she was at her best, telling birth stories and spouting 'old folk' wisdom. What was best about the presentation was actually her audience- the people she drew to her. The audience was chock full of nursing babies and moms, as well as every type of midwife imagineable. That in itself is a feat. Ina Mae is one of a few people who can draw CNMs, CPMs, and DEMs, all to the same table together. I loved that audience. It was full of MY people. I wanted to rush around and hug everyone. I know all those women (and some men) are out in the world doing their thing to make birth better. I'm looking forward to the second day of the conference today and the learning and networking that will take place.