**EDIT** Original post February 2013
A quick visit to Ina May Gaskin's website (www.inamay.com) will humbly inform those who don't know who this living legend is that she is an "Author, Activist, Innovator".
But if you're here, reading this blog, chances are you are already familiar with this amazing birth visionary. Right? This is Ina May! Mother of Midwifery! She and her husband along with a caravan of friends traveled cross country in the 70's to "birth" The Farm Midwifery Center in rural Summertown, TN (one of the first out-of-hospital birth centers in the U.S). What made The Farm so noteworthy, and why it remains so, is their incredibly low rate of intervention or shall I say, medical support. Birthing mothers and fathers were encouraged to take an active role in the birth, move as their bodies instinctually knew to move, and to, like, stay happy, man :) It worked. Mothers were giving birth to healthy babies with incredibly low incidence of Cesarean birth (less than 2%), and other interventions like forceps or vacuum extraction were nearly unheard of. Moms and dads were left alone to birth, and it worked. (A great time to say "Thank You" to our local Baby Love Birth Center and Family Birth Center of Naples for providing out-of-hospital birth options for our local birthing community!)
Since then, this incredible midwife has been busy. She's authored the famous "Spiritual Midwifery," (1977), the go-to book for mothers and birth workers everywhere with incredibly inspiring natural birth stories and in more recent editions, information on the safety of routine hospital interventions and maternal mortality. She's authored "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth", (2003), "Ina May's Guide to Breastfeeding", (2009), and most recently, "Birth Matters: A Midwife's Manifesta." (2010).
But wait! Her incredible-ness goes further. She learned and implemented what is now known throughout medical literature as "The Gaskin Maneuver", a technique to resolve shoulder dystocia during a birth, (and the first obstetrical maneuver to be named after a midwife). Every time this maneuver is implemented, I would imagine a prayer of thanks goes out to Ina May by everyone present at the birth. Also part of Ina May's legacy is her Safe Motherhood Quilt Project, a national project aimed at honoring mothers who have lost their lives during pregnancy, childbirth, and early postpartum period, with the intention of drawing attention to the current maternal death rates in the U.S. and looking at why these death rates persist.
But you know all of this already, right? Or maybe some of this was news to you. She's all this and so much more. Her influence is all over the birth world, in articles, films, presentations, and conferences. She's won countless awards.
If we are aiming to change the culture of birth today, Ina May is *the* inspiration we need. So check it out! She's coming HERE to SWFL! Right here in Fort Myers! A living legend, a birth visionary, and from what I hear, an incredibly cool, down to earth person. See her live, in person, touch her arm (haha), and chit chat birth with her at the VIP screening of her current film documentary "Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin and The Farm Midwives." This private showing will take place on Friday night, April 19, 2012. You'll have a chance for a Meet and Greet reception with food and drinks, a private viewing of the film, Q and A after the film, and a chance to have her sign your copy of Spiritual Midwifery (or any of her books, plus her newest book will be on sale at the event). Can't make it Friday? Come on out to the Green Family Expo on Saturday, April 20th and have another chance to view the documentary film at 1pm, and hear Ina May speak about the Safe Motherhood Quilt Project at 3pm. She'll stick around to sign books after her talk, too! Both of these events will take place at the Alliance for the Arts off McGregor Blvd in Fort Myers. Purchase your tickets at www.inamaymovie.com.
This is HUGE for our growing birth community and I am so honored to help host her while she is here. Yes, I'll be driving Ina May around this town in my doula-mobile Prius :) Heartfelt gratitude goes out to Baby Love Birth Center for sponsoring the entire happenings involved with bringing Ina May here. For this doula, this weekend in April is a professional dream come true. Join me in giving Ina May a warm welcome to our community! Visit www.inamaymovie.com to purchase your tickets to either of the film screenings. More information about the Green Family Expo will follow soon. See you there!