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January 31, 2013
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‘Birth Story’: Not the Super Bowl’s opposite, but pretty close

Not everyone is excited about the impending Super Bowl weekend. There are plenty of people who prefer to spend the day outside, shopping or entranced in the arts.

If you are one of those in need of a Super-escape, even before Sunday, I recommend a free movie.

That’s right — free.

At noon Saturday at the Magic Theater, the Birth and Early Parenting Educators, Wise Womb Collective and California Association of Midwives will present the local screening of the feature documentary “Birth Story.”

The film is based on Ina May Gaskin and The Farm midwives. Gaskin gained notoriety 40 years ago when she and a group of friends began delivering their babies on “a caravan of hippie school buses, headed to a patch of rural Tennessee land,” according the film’s synopsis.

That patch of land would turn into The Farm, a new society based on communal living.

“The people of the Farm grew their own food, built their own houses, published their own books and, as word of their social experiment spread, created a model of care for women and babies that changed a generation’s approach to childbirth,” according to the film.

Gaskin is largely considered the most famous midwife in the world. And while the film promises to depict childbirth “the way most people have never seen it — unadorned, unabashed, and awe-inspiring,” it also highlights the history of life on The Farm, which continues to thrive as a fully communal, agricultural society.

The film, directed by Sara Lamm and Mary Wigmore and produced by Sara Lamm, Mary Wigmore, Kate Roughan and Zachary Mortensen, tells the story of Gaskin and her friends as they lived it. From teaching themselves how to be midwives to the creation of The Farm Midwifery Center in Tennessee, through Gaskin’s four books on the topic. Her books have sold more than a million copies and been translated into 10 different languages.

Gaskin was the president of the Midwives Alliance of North America from 1996 to 2002. In 2003, she was chosen as Visiting Fellow of Morse College at Yale University, and in 2009, she was given the title of honorary doctor by the faculty of health and human sciences of Thames Valley University in London. In 2011, she received the Right Livelihood Award (also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize), given in an award ceremony before the Swedish Parliament. Not bad for a self-taught woman.

While the film is about midwifery, which may or may not be your “thing,” it portrays a strong female making it on her own terms. It is also a great opportunity to experience their slice of the ’70s hippie movement through the lens of the filmmaker.

After the 93-minute film, a panel of local midwives and health care providers will speak with time for questions and answers. “Birth Story” will not be released publicly until later in the spring. Go to http://birthstorymovie.com to learn more about the film.

For those of us who have waited a VERY long 18 years for the 49ers return to the Super Bowl, well, what can I say but GO NINERS!

Features Editor Brett Bentley can be contacted at bbentley@theunion.com.


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The Union Updated May 9, 2013 02:51PM Published Jan 31, 2013 08:52AM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.