I have just returned from an incredible week attending a training with midwife Ina May Gaskin at The Farm in Tennessee. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the incredible work she and her midwife partners have done over many decades to help women get back in touch with the power of natural birth. At the same time, she shares deeply my philosophy of evidence-based care, welcoming medical intervention when it’s necessary and when women choose it after being fully informed of their options. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to spend a week learning from her.
For those of you not familiar with Ina May, here is a blurb about her from her induction into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
“Ina May Gaskin (1940 – ) – A certified professional midwife who has attended more than 1,200 births, Ina May Gaskin is known as the “mother of authentic midwifery”. In 1971, Gaskin founded the Farm Midwifery Center in rural Tennessee and effectively demonstrated that home birth midwives could be well prepared for their profession without first being educated as obstetric nurses. During a stay in Guatemala in 1976, Gaskin learned a technique for preventing and resolving shoulder dystocia during birth. After using the method with great success, Gaskin and began to teach it and publish articles about the method. Now referred to as the Gaskin maneuver, it is the first obstetrical maneuver to be named after a midwife. Gaskin is the author of four books, including Spiritual Midwifery (1975), the first text written by a midwife published in the United States.”