Taking Back Birth: Ina May Gaskin
By OBOS — April 28, 2009
From 2009 – 2011, Our Bodies Ourselves honored the work of women’s health advocates worldwide by asking readers to nominate their favorite women’s health hero. View all nominees by year: 2009, 2010, 2011
Entrant: Venessa Tarbell
Nominee: Ina May Gaskin, Midwife, Director of the Farm Midwifery Center
Ina May Gaskin has been a tireless advocate for midwifery and the health of women for nearly forty years. Her unyielding faith in the ability of a woman’s body to birth a child, her trust in the process of birth, and her courageous criticism of unnecessary interventions in a woman’s pregnancy and labor have inspired countless mothers to take back their births. Her books are an inspiration to all who remain fascinated by the mother-fetus relationship and the process of childbirth.
When I was pregnant, I began questioning procedures that have become routine and the commonly accepted myth that childbirth is unavoidably terrifying. Ina May’s words reassured me that birth can and should be empowering and beautiful. I know that I am only one of many, many women who found comfort and inspiration in her writing and activism.
Thank you, Ina May!
Ina May is my all time hero! I received her book in 1975 I believe and was captured. Today I work as a maternity nurse, using as much of her philosophy as is possible in a hospital setting.
Ina May Gaskin has been my hero throughout my long career in women’s health. She is the reason for the beautiful births I had myself, plus such a perfect role model for me in providing care to women and their partners in their birthing, breastfeeding, parenting, etc. She was our idol during all the years that I worked as a nurse practitioner with the midwives at Carolina Birth Center in NC.
Please note that I tried to vote, but was unable to do so. Please count my vote for Ina May!
Ina May changed childbearing for those of us who are now grandmothers and all the women who have given birth since. She made birth a natural, normal event, not a medical situation.
Please enter my vote for Ina May – 5 stars – the counter did not work. Thank you.
I “discovered” Ina May just after I had given birth to my first child in a hospital with a doctor that was angry because I was making him late for a family dinner. My next two births were home births using lay midwives because of what I read in her book “Spiritual Midwifery”. I wore that book out!!
Thank you Ina May for helping take birth back where it belongs, at HOME!