Lana Cook

Psychedelics and childbirth. Not two words we often put together. In the stories of Amber and others like her in the classic 1975 childbirth guide Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin, one of the foundational figures in modern midwifery, there’s a vision for childbirth that is sensual, ecstatic, and decidedly psychedelic. A strange juxtaposition to the typical media portrayals of childbirth. Close up of a woman screaming in agony, swearing obscenities at her partner, and demanding pain relieving drugs. And then cut to her gazing with pure adoration at the newborn child. Labor and delivery in this version is a story of trauma followed by the bewildering wonder of new motherhood. But, on The Farm in Tennessee, a community shepherded by counterculture hero Stephen Gaskin, the women under the care of Ina May and her midwives describe a rich tapestry of heightened sensation, shifts in the sense of time and space, feelings of expanded consciousness, emotional oneness, and connection with a larger cosmos or collective. In short, they use the language of psychedelics… continue reading.

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