Gaby and I attended the New York premier of Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin & The Farm Midwives the other night in the West Village. With baby boy set to arrive in four weeks, the timing of this screening was perfect. Believe it or not, this was the first time we had been to a movie together since I was pregnant with Biet!
I was so excited for our movie date, but just as we were lacing up our shoes to walk out the door, the babysitter called with a last minute emergency. Luckily, our dear neighbors helped us out and came over to watch Biet, but we were delayed for over an hour. Then the subway started getting crazy with train delays, which made us even more late. Starving and stressed, we scratched our dinner plans and rushed straight to the theater, hoping all the while that we wouldn't miss too much of the film.
As we skipped up the steps from the subway to the street and hurried around the corner towards the theater's marquee, the entire evening's "bad" timing suddenly made perfect sense. Because who was standing in front of us? None other than Ina May Gaskin herself. Here was the woman who had sparked my journey, and the journeys of thousands of others, towards a healthy and empowered birth. Here was the woman who's written words had, while I was pregnant with Biet, transformed all of my fear and anxiety into excitement and peace and wisdom. Here was the woman who practiced, and wrote, and marched, and taught for the rights and the bodies and the spirits of women everywhere. This woman, standing in front of me on 6th Avenue, had opened my eyes and changed my life. She was a true inspiration.
So without thinking, or speaking, I played the crazy pregnant lady card and went up to her and hugged her. She was a bit startled, but smiled kindly. And then Gaby jumped in and told her about Biet, and about baby boy on the way, and about how we owed so much to her. And after an impromptu photo shoot on the sidewalk, I once again hugged her, and we bid her farewell.
The film was wonderful. It threw me back into the world of natural childbirth, reminding me of all of the forgotten feelings you experience when you go through it, and leaving me extremely excited to do it once again. With my first pregnancy, Ina's May's Guide to Childbirth completely changed my view of what birth can be, and opened my eyes to the wonder of what my body can do. Now I am re-reading it in preparation for baby boy's birth. I highly recommend it to any and all pregnant women, and to any and all women in general, for that matter. You can find a list of all of her books here.
After the film, Gaby and I stopped in to one of our favorite old diners for french onion soup and burgers. We talked and talked and talked about birth. Between the film, meeting Ina May, and reminiscing about Biet's birth, we somehow stepped through that last door from "we're going to have another baby" to "let's do this." Now, Gaby is ready for baby boy to come now. I'll be full term in one week, but I'm ok with him taking as much time as he needs to fatten up in there before joining us in this ever-so-cold winter.
As we sat in the diner post-movie and looked over the photos on my phone, we were both taken aback by the one of Ina May looking down at my big belly. She was saying "this one's almost here!" and congratulating us and wishing us luck with his birth. I love that photo. And I know that one day, after he's heard a thousand times about his own birth and about how Ina May wished him luck coming into the world, baby boy will love that photo too.