March 15, 2010

Midwife Assistant Workshop experience

Last Sunday, I headed down to Summertown, TN to The Farm and The Farm Midwifery Center for a Midwife Assistant Workshop . I stayed in the dorm next to the clinic with 7 other women. There was 15 of us taking the workshop, the other 7 ladies were staying with Farm residents. Our schedule was a very busy one. Morning class 8:30-12:00, lunch 12:00-1:00, afternoon class 1:00-4:00, free time 4:00-6:00, dinner 6:00-7:30, and evening class 7:30-9:00. It was such a wonderful experience! I met 14 wonderful women (fellow students): Natali, Sonya, Heather E., Heather, Amber, Cindy, Tatiana, Hannah, Becca, Wilma, Michelle, Erica, Sierra, and Sarah. Natali wins the "distance" award...coming all the way from Germany to attend the workshop! There were 3 of us from TN: Becca, Cindy, and myself. Our instructors were some of the midwives from The Farm Midwifery Center: Ina May Gaskin, Pamela Hunt, Joanne Santana, Stacie Hunt, and Carol Nelson. They are all amazing women and great role models & inspirations. We had a fabulous cook who made dinner for us every night, Louise. She has written several vegetarian & vegan cookbooks and cooked delicious vegan meals for us each night we were there.

During each class the midwives shared with us as much information as they could. We received handouts and had discussions and as much hands on experiences as they could provide. They had all kinds of models for us to practice on with lots of role playing. Some of the best was meeting 3 delightful pregnant women that came in and let us practice figuring out what position their babies were in and find the heartbeats with fetoscopes (very difficult!). The midwives also shared their experiences with us and told many beautiful birth stories with us. They also shared the "problems"...because THOSE are the deliveries that all your medical knowledge, practice, and learning are about. To turn those into GOOD outcomes.

We got to celebrate Ina May's birthday during our workshop. That was really neat. She has done so much and is such a cool, down-to-earth lady. What an AMAZING storyteller! We could listen to her all day I think. She just has such a way of teaching while weaving this great story and passing along all this knowledge. Ina May has a special project that she's been working on (besides her books, conferences,etc) and she shared it with us, as she does all her workshops. It is The Safe Motherhood Quilt Project . One class was devoted to maternal mortality and the quilt project. We were so touched and inspired that most of us felt the need to help. We met at Ina May's house and received the name of a woman who died in a pregancy-related death. We will be making a memorial panel to honor that mother and sending it to Ina May to have it included in the quilt. Please check out the website. The U.S. is VERY lax in accounting for these women. Our health care system and the current state of hospitalized & medicallized deliveries is making it all worse.

I do have to share that during 1 class, Pam taught us a couple songs and had us singing. At the end of that class, Tatiana wanted to sing a song for us. She sang "Burning Times" by Charlie Murphy. She has a beautiful, sexy, husky voice...that folksy/bluesy voice and it was beautiful and haunting. I got chills. Here is a version of the song she sang for us Burning Times . She had her guitar in the dorm and sang several songs to us before we went to sleep a couple nights.

During the workshop, 2 women that are working on filming a documentary about midwifery & Ina May Gaskin, were there filming. They filmed quite a bit of our workshop. They will be keeping in touch with us to let us know how the film is going & when it will be released. They said it would take about a year. It was great fun to be included.

There is more, so much more, but I am still processing everything. Suffice it to say for was an amazing experience and I feel so inspired! :-) I plan on posting pictures....just need to resize them for the web.


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