Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin & The farm Midwives


“Reviews of Sara Lamm and Mary Wigmore's Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin & the Farm Midwives will inevitably warn that the doc isn't for viewers with weak stomachs. That response would likely sadden Gaskin, a leader in the midwife-revival movement who, as we see in scenes of funny, patriarchy-tweaking lectures, has worked hard to change attitudes toward childbirth. The effective doc makes her attitudes and techniques look unarguably commonsensical.
“Gaskin, author of 1975's influential Spiritual Midwifery and numerous other books, would seem to fit some stereotypes that go with alternatives to modern medicine: Early participants in the San Francisco hippie scene, she and husband Stephen Gaskin helped found an enormous and long-lived farm commune in rural Tennessee. It was on a caravan-like speaking tour that she and like-minded women began to share stories about birthing experiences, and where she first participated in a delivery.
“But if she's a hippie to the bone, Gaskin and her colleagues have developed a vast storehouse of knowledge during four decades of practice that integrates folk wisdom with science, and acknowledges the need for conventional obstetrics and surgical deliveries, even as it argues that C-sections should be vastly less commonplace than they are.
“Telling the commune's story alongside that of this midwife practice, Lamm and Wigmore find satisfied customers both young and old; frequently, interviews are intercut with decades-old video footage of the subject in the middle of labor. We watch breach deliveries and other challenging cases, and see various ways -- like having young children present -- in which the group has tried to change perceptions of childbirth as something to be dreaded.
“Gaskin's influence continues to grow: Present-day footage finds her addressing large audiences, doing press tours, and instructing the many college-aged women hoping to follow in her footsteps.”
- John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter


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Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin & The farm Midwives

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