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MEETING INA MAY

Posted on: Friday

Gaby and I attended the New York premier of Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin & The Farm Midwives the other night in the West Village.  With baby boy set to arrive in four weeks, the timing of this screening was perfect.  Believe it or not, this was the first time we had been to a movie together since I was pregnant with Biet!  

I was so excited for our movie date, but just as we were lacing up our shoes to walk out the door, the babysitter called with a last minute emergency.  Luckily, our dear neighbors helped us out and came over to watch Biet, but we were delayed for over an hour.  Then the subway started getting crazy with train delays, which made us even more late.  Starving and stressed, we scratched our dinner plans and rushed straight to the theater, hoping all the while that we wouldn't miss too much of the film. 

As we skipped up the steps from the subway to the street and hurried around the corner towards the theater's marquee, the entire evening's "bad" timing suddenly made perfect sense.  Because who was standing in front of us?  None other than Ina May Gaskin herself.  Here was the woman who had sparked my journey, and the journeys of thousands of others, towards a healthy and empowered birth.  Here was the woman who's written words had, while I was pregnant with Biet, transformed all of my fear and anxiety into excitement and peace and wisdom.   Here was the woman who practiced, and wrote, and marched, and taught for the rights and the bodies and the spirits of women everywhere.  This woman, standing in front of me on 6th Avenue, had opened my eyes and changed my life.  She was a true inspiration. 

So without thinking, or speaking, I played the crazy pregnant lady card and went up to her and hugged her.  She was a bit startled, but smiled kindly.  And then Gaby jumped in and told her about Biet, and about baby boy on the way, and about how we owed so much to her.  And after an impromptu photo shoot on the sidewalk, I once again hugged her, and we bid her farewell.  

The film was wonderful. It threw me back into the world of natural childbirth, reminding me of all of the forgotten feelings you experience when you go through it, and leaving me extremely excited to do it once again.  With my first pregnancy, Ina's May's Guide to Childbirth completely changed my view of what birth can be, and opened my eyes to the wonder of what my body can do.  Now I am re-reading it in preparation for baby boy's birth.  I highly recommend it to any and all pregnant women, and to any and all women in general, for that matter.  You can find a list of all of her books here

After the film, Gaby and I stopped in to one of our favorite old diners for french onion soup and burgers.  We talked and talked and talked about birth.  Between the film, meeting Ina May, and reminiscing about Biet's birth, we somehow stepped through that last door from "we're going to have another baby" to "let's do this."  Now, Gaby is ready for baby boy to come now.  I'll be full term in one week, but I'm ok with him taking as much time as he needs to fatten up in there before joining us in this ever-so-cold winter.  

As we sat in the diner post-movie and looked over the photos on my phone, we were both taken aback by the one of Ina May looking down at my big belly.  She was saying "this one's almost here!" and congratulating us and wishing us luck with his birth.  I love that photo.  And I know that one day, after he's heard a thousand times about his own birth and about how Ina May wished him luck coming into the world, baby boy will love that photo too.  

46 COMMENTS:

  1. How wonderful that you met the woman who had been such an inspiration for you!

    I have to confess I never heard of her, but she sounds amazing.

    Love your blog by the way. I just found you recently and already am a faithful follower :-)

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    1. Thank you so much for reading! I had never heard of her before I became pregnant with Biet (actually not until I switched to homebirth and my midwives recommended her books). They are so educational, though!

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  2. Your story is amazing. I could not just take my eyes off for one single second. Life is sure full of surprises and you never know when someone will cross your path and leave an imprint forever.

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    1. That's exactly what I choose to believe every day too, Elena! You just never know- great things can be just around the corner.

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  3. this made me cry! I have had two homebirths and I know how special it must have been to meet Ina May..

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    1. That is so amazing that you had two home births! It was truly wonderful to meet her- I hope she knows how many women she has inspired and educated.

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  4. I can't believe you met Ina May!! I would have done the same thing, because "the crazy pregnant lady card" is the best and hugs are even better ;) How serendipitous. Best wishes to you and baby boy for a beautiful and empowering birth, you will both be amazing.

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    1. Thank you SO MUCH for this beautiful comment Maghan! I am so blown away by the support and encouragement from this community of readers and bloggers. Your words and well wishes really mean a lot to me. xx

      And, yes the crazy pregnant lady card is a great one to have. I need to use it more in these last few days!

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  5. Oh my! What a wonderful encounter!
    Wishing you an amazing delivery!

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  6. Thats so awesome that you got to meet Ina May. She must have been so happy to see her work and it's positive effects.

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  7. That is so cool! Her books have inspired me so much (I just finished her latest, Birth Matters) and her words also fed me with strength to give birth to my daughter (and in a few months, my son) naturally.
    Good luck with your birth!

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    1. Yay!!! Good luck to you as well with your upcoming birth, and thank you so much for your kind words and well wishes. xx

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  8. How amazing! She is the most inspiring woman. Your words definitely echoed my experience in pregnancy and childbirth. I'm so envious that you got to meet her!

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    1. Its so amazing to read comments like yours Lauren! Thank you so much for reading and for reaching out to me every now and again with your kind words. Its nice to know that others out there have the same feelings and experiences with pregnancy and birth.
      xx

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  9. I've never heard of her before, but so need to check out her work now!

    Have a lovely weekend,
    -Kati

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    1. I had never heard of her either before my midwife recommended her books when I was pregnant with Biet. Her words guided me through the process of switching from a hospital to home birth, and gave me the courage to trust my body. Her books are so educational, I highly recommend them!

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  10. How wonderful to meet her. I have just finished her guide to childbirth while preparing for the birth of my second baby - powerful and inspirational. I have deep regret that I didn't discover it prior to the birth of my first - it was completely natural (as was my intention) but I felt pretty lost at sea throughout. This time I am prepared!

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    1. That is so great that you feel empowered and informed now! I was lost at sea as well during the first half of my pregnancy with Biet, until I switched to a midwife who encouraged me to read Ina May. Its amazing how little women know about what to expect of their bodies at birth, isn't it? I really wish that our culture would embrace honest birth education more.
      I'm sure your second birth will be amazing!
      Thank you for reading.
      xx

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  11. Serendipity - perfect timing for this encounter.
    I found Ina May's guide to childbirth fascinating when I was pregnant.

    Have you seen Stephen Gaskin's Hey Beatnik, The Farm Book? inspiring (and pretty heavy, sister;)

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    1. I learned about it at this film actually, when they show footage of the book being printed on the farm's printing press! I had never heard of it before, but am definitely interested!

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  12. This is so amazing. She is such a positive force in the childbirth community and has touched so many. So glad she was able to touch you too, even with a physical embrace! :)

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    1. She is such a strong and beautiful force, and she has inspired *so many* women! Every woman I know who has had a natural and/or home-birth, and every midwife and doula I've met as well, had credited her with guiding them on their path. I feel so lucky to have met her! I just know it will bring good luck for this little boy's birth!

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