Loree Chantelle and AbigailA place that I had only heard grand stories about and read in books of enchanting powerful and family empowering births. Where babies are born with little to no worldly intervention and material things are useful but mean all most nothing. This great place brought new meaning and growth to my life in April of 2010; when a dear friend of mine (Andi), my doula business partner (Loree) and I made our way there on a pilgrimage of sorts and attended a midwifery assistant training workshop. Where is this place I speak of? It is just outside Summertown, Tennesse which is less than an hour from Nashville. The Farm is a remarkable place that has depth one can only imagine, it's simple peace can not be explained in all it's glory. The Midwives are not the only fame worthy people that live there but they are the reasons I have been fascinated by making my travels to The Farm. My first trip there I learned many valuable lessons, techniques (Not used by medical care providers I usually work along side) but I must say meeting Ina May Gaskin was such a delight. Then meeting the other Farm midwives: Carol Nelson, Joann Santana, Louis Kern, Stacy and Pamela Hunt. Was more wonderful than I had thought possible. Carols soft voice telling our class just a few birth stories of the 1000 plus she has attended. Joann's Poetry about women, life, birth, death and all of it so beautiful we all found our selves drying our eyes from sadness or laughter. But of all the lovely stories, lessons and poems these history creating professionals shared with the inquisitive students I recall how they listened to us. I left The Farm knowing the power of knowledge and understanding and yet the downfall of communication. So as I try to put my experiences at The Farm into words I pray you are as lucky as I to travel there one day.
This trip I made to Nashville for the Lamaze International Conference mostly to collect credits for recertification as a Birth Doula. Hearing Ina May Gaskin start the conference off, her passion, energy and conviction literally fills the grand ballroom of the hotel as I leant in closer not wanting to miss anything. Even after all the time she has spent her life's work speaks loud and clear, ringing as true as can be. After she was finished Jack Newman a fellow Canadian presented as he does just how important a natural start in breastfeeding and bonding is. Through out the weekend we heard from great speakers. Kim James really helped me to see the other side of hospital birth that we aren't seeing clearly.
Then my business partners (Chantelle & Loree) rented a car and went to visit The Farm with the help of directions from their web page and Loree's memory I managed to navigate us safely to The Farm. Of course it was a Sunday so not all of the shops and visiting spots were open but walking around the grounds Loree and I noticed that someone was busy in Pamela's green house so we stopped to see if she might be home. She was! We got to reconnect with her, update her on our lives and get a picture! Then she told us of an empty Birthing cabin that would be open and we were free to check out if we wanted. Did we want to? Silly. We all wondered around this little cabin chattering about all the families that might have been there. How each room might have been used. Took more pictures. I love the art these creative people decorate their walls with. We continued our wonders and found an 'OPEN HOUSE' yes someone on the farm is selling their place if you want to move there $115,000.00 for a small home and property on The Farm. I thought about it... The man selling the place caught our attention as he was playing a guitar and sing on a tree stump out side his trailer parked near the real estate. He is a personal injury attorney who used to live there full time but lately only used the place for an office away to get work done, which obviously he no longer needed. The kind man gave us a tour of the place and then a few ideas of other things that might interest us. Visiting the little tourist village were construction was underway. The Book Store, the Clinic, Community Centre/Meeting Hall and their School were all closed for the weekend. :( But we took a look around enjoying all the artistic talent. A hippie dome! Which is a sight if you have ever seen one, they are awesome. If you have the chance you must go inside and stand in the very middle a speak. Noise/sound waves do something very strange in the very middle of a dome. Such an trip! Memory lane can do crazy things, playing games with your mind. I love this place.
Outside the Birthing Cabin
A birthing stool I wish had been at my births (inside the Birthing Cabin)
Loree Pamela and Abigail