Chiggers, Tics, & Birth
All I kept hearing about from the day I received my enrollment packet to the day I arrived in the home where we would be staying on the farm was to watch out for chiggers and tics. The woman at the welcome center asked “did the midwives tell you about chiggers and tics-well we got em, oh and snakes too.” I had visions of little tiny critters waiting for me on the doorstep in the morning when I left and in the evening when I returned-I packed bug repellent (from Whole Foods of course) and purchased some farm made “bug off sulfur lotion” upon arrival. It was all anyone could talk about. Of course at orientation Pamela Hunt had to address the chiggers and tics (and snakes) as well-but something about her presentation created a shift. Very simply-she told us these creatures were out there but if we were smart and paid attention we would be just fine. Ah…the learning had begun.
I realized that it was the same as pregnancy and birth. If we are constantly told that pregnancy, labor and birth are dangerous of course we are going to be fearful just like with the chiggers and tics-if we are smart and pay attention we will be just fine.
So with that-the workshop had begun. At dinner Ina May Gaskin walked into the dining room and I think for an instant the collective heartbeat stopped. Even though not one of us wanted to act star struck and we were in the midst of a welcoming chant I could feel the excitement. She was pretty ecstatic as well as she had just completed (literally two hours prior) her latest book “Birth Matters” due out some time this spring. Sorry-not going to give you any of the details we got at dinner-have to keep some of it sacred.
After dinner we sat with Ina May at the farm clinic as she talked to us about the history of The Farm and the Midwifery Center. It is a true hippie’s paradise but I also found something so appealing about the idea of communal living. We were shown photos of young kids growing up together, going to school together, and living together and I couldn’t help but think-wow-my kids would really love that (and so would I).
We went through this incredible history and then Ina May told us she was scheduled to leave the country the middle of the week. Due to a series of book related events and conferences (and a fun European tour with friends) she wouldn’t be able to enjoy the farm’s swimming hole until some time next year.
As I walked home that evening I thought about what Ina May’s life was like 30 years ago when they first came out to Tennessee and if she ever imagined she would be the woman she is today. Talk about inspiration.
About Simone Snyder