|A sea of people who care about the future of birth.|
There was something really incredible about being in that sold-out room packed with (mostly) women. There were so many pregnant women and mothers with tiny babies, and the room was full of breastfeeders and babywearers. I saw plenty of people knitting, too, which was fun for the fiber art lover that I am.
When I was in line waiting to get in (and nursing Daniel in the mei tai while I stood there outside) a couple of women in front of me in line invited me into their conversation. They talked about their kids, told their birth stories, and even talked about how to make homemade laundry detergent. That interaction embodied the friendly dynamic there; it was like we all understood that we're a part of the larger picture, and that we're working together for a larger cause.
|Ina May in front of a photograph of the caravan|
on their way to found The Farm in Tennessee.
She posited that we, as a society, have forgotten how to treat our sphincters (cervices included) with respect. She outlined the basics of Sphincter Law:
- They are shy.
- They don't obey orders.
- They do respond well to praise.
- They open better when owner's forehead, mouth, and jaw are relaxed and open.
- They open well when owner is smiling or laughing.
|Ina May shares a photo of her husband Stephen's |
famous Monday Night Class.
Lauren and I did a bit of live-tweeting during the talk (at least, I tried...but it was hard to be quick at it). Here are a few of my favorite quotes from our tweets:
"We midwives know we need doctors; we're trying to teach doctors that they need us!"Ina May also answered questions from people in the audience after the main lecture. Topics covered stigma about home birth and availability of midwifery care for fat women, health disparities in the low-income and black communities, and how to encourage a shy sphincter in a VBAC mom. There was a lot of passion apparent, both in the questions that were asked and the answers Ina May gave. Everyone there was trying to figure out how to help moms and babies have better birth outcomes, how to increase access to midwifery care for all low-risk populations, and how to help more people to have access to healthcare in general. It was totally inspirational to be in a room full of concerned people. The energy was awesome!
"I had a secret desire to be a midwife, not an English teacher."
"We had discovered oxytocin...and it doesn't just come in a vial; it doesn't just come in your IV."
"I want us to claim all of our people; I want us to start acting like a country that values our women. I want that more than anything in the world!"
"Teach little kids that birth is natural, birth happens, and we're as well-made as any other mammal!"
I got to meet Ina May after the talk, and she signed my old copy of Spiritual Midwifery, one of the books that made me want to go to nursing school (where I witnessed my first birth):
I met Penny Simkin (author of my favorite book for partners and doulas, The Birth Partner):
And I hung out with Lauren from Hobo Mama (as we both swooned over our birthy idols):
It was really a wonderful day, and definitely a Mother's Day I won't soon forget!
Now that you've heard my account of the events, I highly recommend that you go read what Lauren has to say about the experience. (I hear she even has an extra-special surprise in store for one lucky reader!)