70-year-old Ina May Gaskin and her colleagues began delivering each other’s babies in 1970, on a caravan of hippie school buses, headed to a patch of rural Tennessee land. The women taught themselves midwifery from the ground up, and, with their families and spiritual leader Stephen Gaskin, founded an entirely communal, agricultural society called The Farm. They 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.
With archival footage, modern vérité, and interviews, Birth Story captures their unique community—from its heyday into the present–and it tells the story of charismatic midwife and counterculture heroine Ina May, who led the charge away from isolated hospital birthing rooms, where husbands were not allowed and mandatory forceps deliveries were the norm. Today, as nearly one third of all US infants are delivered via C-section and labor inductions skyrocket, Ina May fights to preserve her community’s hard-won knowledge, insisting that women can indeed give birth without drugs or surgery when they are treated with love and respect.