Midwifing a Movement

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Midwifery Today, Issue 112, Winter 2014.
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Brian Dunne—©Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

The midwifery movement needs to become a worldwide movement. This will allow for optimal births for all people.

Amnesty International has been doing their part by organizing a conference focusing on human rights in childbirth. Likewise, Hermine Hayes-Klein, a lawyer, has been organizing similar conferences. Let’s join in movements like these to make them even bigger and their reach even wider. To quote Jeannine Parvati Baker, “Peace on Earth begins with birth.”

One of my favorite things to do is walk in my garden. My husband and I grow a lot of our food, and I love walking through my beds, observing, planning and just being. Along with midwifery, gardening is a passion of mine. That is why I am so thankful I met Emilee Gettle, who, like me, runs a magazine.

Emilee is a leader in the healthy food movement. She and her husband run Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and Expos. They also run Petaluma Seed Bank, a farm and seed store in Connecticut and in Mansfield, Missouri, where they live. Emilee and Jere are working hard to protect future generations by teaching the world about the dangers of GMOs. Their information is especially relevant for mothers carrying the future in their wombs.

Ever since she was 16 years old, Emilee had plans to become a midwife. Her life took a different path, however, when she met and married Jere Gettle. Her purpose now, in many ways, is to oversee the future of food.

When I met Emilee at the National Heirloom Expo, I felt like I was meeting my soul sister. We had been following each other’s lives from a distance—she has appreciated and read Midwifery Today for years and I have been ordering from Baker Creek for years. Emilee has even helped with Missouri Friends of Midwives and Family Birth and Wellness in Springfield, Missouri, where she gave birth to her second daughter.

Jan with Emilee and her daughter Malia

The National Heirloom Expo is a place where you can listen to many speakers and know what is going on in many areas of the garden, permaculture and food movement. I attended so many great sessions, met expert vendors, ate great food and heard wonderful music. I recommend that everyone attend the expo. One very special thing I noticed is the cooperative rather than competitive spirit of the people involved in this event. There was a definite like-mindedness there. To paraphrase Erik Ohlsen, one of the speakers, “We can be in competition but we aren’t. We are on a journey with fellow humans. We are all in this together.” Another speaker said, “When I feel competition come up in me, I just reach out and ask a person how I can help them.” This is a likeminded group working toward the betterment of the planet, just like midwives are doing.

Emilee and Jere believe that to be successful, we must help each other be successful. Read this quote from Jere’s letter in the last Heirloom Gardener: “Save some seeds each year! It is fun and easy, and you will help preserve your heritage. Look around your community, because neighbors often have heirloom varieties that may be local treasures. Buy heirloom seeds, not just from us, but from a variety of heirloom sources. That helps keep us all in business, and it helps the various seed companies preserve their seed collections. We must all work together to promote the seeds of freedom!”

What we eat throughout pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding is crucial. What we teach our children about their food is especially important. Emilee and Jere are on the leading edge of keeping us informed on what is going on with GMOs and our food supply. Subscribe to the Heirloom Gardener to learn about this and so much more.

All of us are here on Earth for such a short time. There are so many important topics for us to work on together: food, birth, microbiomes, etc. Knowledge is breaking open on many fronts. We are learning more about the importance of birth every day, and the science of microbes is showing us that the way we are born carries a great impact and influences our lives and the lives of our future generations. It is even thought that many of the horrendous food allergies, such as gluten intolerance and food sensitivity, may stem from having received our microbes from germ-infested hospitals instead of from our mothers. We are also learning so much about the microbial actions going on in the soil.

By joining together, we can make a bigger impact. I always find it amazing that every single person on Earth was born, but very few people are interested in birth. How do we help people see the importance in all of this?

Diana Paul went with me to the expo. She and I were amazed at the unity, love and helpfulness that emanated from organizers, speakers, vendors and attendees. We long for that kind of unity amongst midwives. Diana even coined a new term while we had our expo adventure: bearthbirth and Earth pronounced like birth. Perhaps this term is the start of a merge between the birth movement and the food movement.

Toward better birth,

About Author: Jan Tritten

Jan Tritten is the founder, editor, and mother of Midwifery Today magazine and conferences. Her love for and study of midwifery sprang from the beautiful homebirth of her second daughter—after a disappointing, medicalized first birth in the hospital. After giving birth at home, she kept studying birth books because, “she thought there was something more here.” She became a homebirth midwife in 1977 and continued helping moms who wanted a better birth experience. Jan started Midwifery Today in 1986 to spread the good word about midwifery care, using her experience to guide editorial and conferences. Her mission is to make loving midwifery care the norm for birthing women and their babies in the United States and around the world. Meet Jan at our conferences around the world!

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