The Farm Midwives

The Farm-Day 4

A surprise

When we think of The Farm most of us think of Ina May.  Even if you have read Spiritual Midwifery and have met the other midwives we don’t always remember their names.  After this trip I know that I will never forget Pamela Hunt.  She was on the original caravan with Ina May and Stephen-she was one of the original midwives.  She is the epitome of everything you would imagine a midwife to be-sweet, compassionate, funny, intelligent, knowledgeable, skilled, excellent teacher, otherworldly and let’s face it the woman loves to break into song.

For each of the evening classes where Pam was present we sang.  The first night I actually had to hold back tears I was so taken by the song.  And her enthusiasm-I don’t really sing but for a woman like Pamela Hunt I would carry any tune.  Tonight she had me and two other women “humphing” with a hip twist while the rest of the group sang the words.

This morning she taught us anatomy.  I am not sure how we got into it-something about how we are hardwired to procreate I think-but we started talking about sex education.  She is of the opinion that we should talk to our kids often and early-she would bring it up at the dinner table when her kids were growing up.  Pam wanted to teach her children (and would encourage us to do the same) to “manage their hormones.”  This did strike a chord with me-my oldest son is nine already-I figured I had some work to do when I got home.

This evening Pam had the daunting task of teaching us about blood borne pathogens.  We all left that class a bit overwhelmed but nevertheless committed to being a bit more mindful about how we protect ourselves at births.

Pamela was a surprise at this workshop. I had expected to be in awe of Ina May.  I had no idea I would find myself listening to Pamela speak-glaring at her like a love sick teenager with nothing but adoration in her eyes.

Day 5

In love with a midwife

I am not sure what my son has enjoyed the most so far-the swimming hole, waking up to a family of deer in the back yard or today’s golf cart tour around the farm.  Most of the residents have their own golf-carts that they use to get around the farm.  Today we took the official tour-we saw the various businesses, the new solar panel installation area, the eco-village and one of the birth cabins.  They have a few birth cabins, a couple birth homes and even a “birth double-wide.”  These days they are doing about 80 births a year-half of which are in Amish country.  Women still come from all over the world to have their babies here as well as to participate in the workshops.

During one of our breaks my family and I went to the park. We met a young girl who lived on the farm.  She was just as curious about us as we were about her.  She asked questions-we asked questions and in the end she really didn’t want us to leave.  She asked why we couldn’t extend our vacation and/or come back for Halloween.  She wanted us to come see her band play.  That’s how friendly the people around here are.

Stacie Hunt taught one of our classes again today. I really enjoy her point of view and hearing about her experiences.  She is the youngest farm midwife by at least one generation.  It’s interesting to hear where they differ in how they practice.  I was sitting next to her on the couch and I realized that every time she placed a hand on me I felt the same sort of school-girl crush that I felt when Ina May or Pamela were speaking.  I think I was falling in love with all of the midwives. I am not sure I will ever be able to leave.

I had a lesson in intuition today.  We were practicing checking cervical dilation, effacement and position.  I went second.  I was confident I knew exactly what I felt.  I think Stacie knew I knew as well but we were holding back our answers until we all got a turn.  We started answering on the other side of the room and everyone started saying something entirely different from what I thought.  I started to doubt myself and I said ooooh now I am not sure.  Stacie looked at me and said “say what you think-don’t change your answer.”  We continued to go around the room and the more we did the more unsure I got so when it was my turn-I changed my answer.  When Stacie told us what we had felt-I had been correct the first time-I knew the dilation, effacement, and even that the baby was breech.  I doubted myself and I doubted my instincts.  Needless to say I learned an important lesson.

The women in our class are really great. We have quite a dynamic group, some doulas-experienced and brand-new, some educators, a hypnotist, women from England, Canada, and Ireland.  Some of them are planning on becoming a midwife and some of us are not sure.  All of our instructors talk about the calling-the calling to become a midwife.  I wonder if you can have selective hearing when it comes to a calling-can you hear wrong? Can you pretend you don’t hear it? Are their signs? Is it ok to be afraid?

About Simone Snyder