I was in a conversation yesterday that reminded me of this. There’s so much cultural appropriation in the birth worker world.
Again, because history left unaddressed becomes the present:
There’s a lot of mythology to midwifery, and not just in sense of herbal medicine and holding the space, though those stereotypes are present, too. Most of our mythology involves our history, and I am about to attack one of our giants, Ina May Gaskin. Ina May is a poster grandmother, if not a poster child, a white hippy who founded a back to the land commune in Tennessee in the 1970s, The Farm. Ina May began doing births for the women of the farm, with very little training, teaching herself midwifery by reading obstetrics textbooks, and opening a birth center that women flocked to, avoiding the more restrictive hospital conditions of the day. Ina May is often credited with founding, or at least re-discovering U.S. midwifery, but the truth is that midwifery was here all along, it just was not White.
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