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Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin and the Farm Midwives

By REBECCA JACOBSON
[ONE WEEK ONLY] Like the classic Nova documentary The Miracle of Life, but with fewer in-utero shots and more patchouli, Birth Story charts the biography of midwife Ina May Gaskin, who began delivering babies in the ’70s and continues today, at age 72. In that intentional hippie community in Tennessee (the Farm of the film’s title, which still operates), Gaskin is something of a natural childbirth evangelist, and in Sara Lamm and Mary Wigmore’s adulatory documentary she’s allowed to rail against the rising number of Caesarean sections while also acknowledging the need for modern obstetrics and surgery (which, goodness knows, Downton Abbey has just confirmed). Gaskin is an idealist with a realistic understanding of pregnancy and childbirth, and Lamm and Wigmore provide footage of Gaskin’s scientific discussion of sphincters as well as unabashedly graphic shots of several deliveries. “What if you’ve never seen a breach birth?” Gaskin asks. Worry no more—one is here on full display. And the couple that loves to snog as the woman pops out an infant? There’s one of those here, too. Ever learn Lamaze breathing techniques? They might just help you through some of these scenes.
 

Special Note

Clinton Street Theater
 
  • Genres: Documentary
  • Running Time: 93 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • Critic's Score: C+
  • Directed by: Sara Lamm [Director], Mary Wigmore [Director], Sara Lamm [Producer], Mary Wigmore [Producer], Kate Roughan [Producer], Zachary Mortensen [Producer]
  • Watch the trailer
 

Show Times

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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