we began in alabama

 i have just returned from a near two week adventure to the farm in tennesse.  this journey was such an amazing experience for me on many levels.  the first and foremost, is that it was such an honor to meet ina may gaskin and pamela hunt, two of the infamous farm midwives.  i have read all of ina may's books, and whole-heartedly recommend them to my clients.  now, i truly have a face to the name, and even moreso, i know that this woman is one of the wisest we have on our planet at this time.

i had hopes of blogging daily from the farm, but due to technological difficulties, i will now be uploading snippets of my adventures at the farm over the course of the next few days.

we truly began our journey by leaving the farm with ina may, and driving down to selma, alabama where we spent the night at the saint james hotel.  stepping into this hotel was like stepping into a time capsule.  the walls were thick with history, and at breakfast, all of us women spoke of feelings of ghosts lacing our dreams.  we were a group of five:  ina may gaskin, mary and sara, two documentary film makers who are in the midst of creating a film about ina may, sara's baby obi, and me, a doula supporting the cause by looking after obi so that his mama could create a film.

so we came down to south western alabama, which is over 5 hours of driving from rural tennesse to honor the life of margaret charles smith.  thursday morning, we drove from selma to marion where margaret charles smith was inducted into the alabama women's hall of fame.  mrs. smith was an amazing woman. . .you can honestly feel her radiance and strength just by looking at a photo of her.  together her and linda janet holmes co authored her biography, "listen to me good".  although this read is about a midwife in rural alabama, it also touches on what it meant to be a descendant of a slave, and how the lives of blacks changed in alabama as midwifery also changed, eventually becoming illegal.

it was incrediably special to be at the induction of mrs. smith with ina may because the two of them became quite close in the later part of mrs. smith's life.  ina may laced the day for us traveling women with stories of margaret.  we traveled from the induction on highway 14 east to margaret's home of eutaw, where we stopped at the town square where her book signing was, saw her second house after her first had burnt to the ground, and her resting place.   walking amongst the headstones, you could immediatley tell which grave was margaret's.  it was so regal in size.  

as we drove down mrs. smiths old street, stephen (ina may's husband) called with a message from an ABC news reporter.  this reporter was compiling information for a story that was going to be aired that night, in less than two hours.  the story was about the rise of the mortality rate of mothers in the state of california.  ina may, being the graceful woman that she is, took the time to call this woman, and dig through her database and list off over 21 names so this story could air.  it seemed so fitting that we paused near mrs. smith's house while all of this took place.  
as we sat in stillness, i was reminded of the webs we weave in life, and how all is interconnected.  on the day we honored margaret charles smith, who delivered over 3000 babies and never lost a mother, ina may gaskin delivered important information to an ABC news correspondant on an issue that is dear to her heart, motherhood mortality.

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