Ina May Gaskin: Strong Women = Healthy Babies

I had the honor of going to see Ina May Gaskin here in Seattle last Sunday at the local Town Hall.

For those who don’t know, Ina May is the mother of midwifery.  She has practiced and advocated for midwifery for 40 years.

She presented this video, of an elephant being born:

Her biggest point was that this elephant knew what to do in order to get the baby to start to breathe, and how to get it to stand up.

What hit me hardest, though, was when a “super-sized” woman (she called herself that) asked Ina May about potential troubles for obese people in giving birth.

Ina May skirted around the issue that she likely doesn’t see too many obese women on The Farm. It is a commune bordered on a couple of sides by a Quaker community – neither type of environment is known for obesity.

But her response was simple – As long as you are strong, you’ll be fine. Weakness complicates the birthing process enormously.

Just before that, another woman had asked how to handle the fact that she’s having a hospital birth, somewhat against her wishes – her husband doesn’t want a home-birth.

Ina May responded – When you go into that hospital room, remember that you are renting that room. You are paying for that space. The people there are being paid by you. Tell them what to do. Make that space how you want it. Stand up for yourself.

Again, what I heard was – Be strong!!!

This lesson must be carried forth!


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