Sunday Morning ~ Unity, Maine ~ Common Ground Fair
September 23, 2018
Unity, Maine. Common Ground Fair. They sound like names made up for a novel describing a utopia, which, is fitting for this time and place. The weekend does feel like a little utopia. The Health and Healing Tent is definitely in the coldest part of this fairground. Last year when it was 90 degrees and humid, it was nice here in the shade, but this morning I could do with a little sun on the tent as it was 34 degrees when we woke and the tent was dripping with condensation from our breath. Just a little different from last year. I laughingly, thought I’d get up before dawn and do my long run before the fair opened at 9. Ha ha ha, very funny. Toasty in my sleeping bag with the hood pulled tight around my head, I had to force myself out as the fairgrounds came to life and could barely get my tent down with my frozen fingers. I brought my electric kettle this year so had hot tea to warm me up a bit and once the tent was down and put away I walked the the fairgrounds to be in the sun and watch the place wake up. I just love it here. It makes me want to live on a farm, milk my own cows, make my own butter, and ride my own horse. These are a few of the childhood dreams I never did fulfill. I’ve tried to make a little homestead of my own, but it’s not like the real farm I dreamed of.
Now from my seat at our table in the Health and Healing area I can hear laughing from the Reiki Tent. It sounds like they are promoting a certain energy over there. Next to me a group does Sahajayoga meditation. Across the tent is a table with information about medicinal cannabis which is next to the table of funeral consumers and green burials. Next to them they are doing reflexology. It’s a smattering, but any healthful way of living has a presence here.
I spoke this morning about the cultural aspects of maternity care. The talk was at nine and the fair only opens then, so I was surprised that people actually made it. It usually takes a bit to walk from the parking lot to the fairgrounds and the nine o’clock talks may not be well attended. There are so many women who want to tell the story about abuse they endured within our system. They are frustrated and compromised. They get emotionally manipulated and many have post part depression. Then they are shamed for that, because after all, the baby is healthy and that’s all that matters. So their feelings are devalued and the pattern continues. The medical system rules. They have been “fired” from practices because they didn’t succumb to procedures they didn’t feel they needed. They had to drive hours to find a provider they trusted. They lost their jobs because they had to take time off work to travel for care. The abuse goes on and on. It makes me ponder how to tell their stories in a way that might change the system.
Jewelry I brought from the Tiyamike Women’s group is displayed on our table. I wish they could see people’s reaction to their creations. I’ll write to Ursula to tell them. I’ve shared their stories here and as I listen to local women’s stories, they aren’t far apart. An old classmate of mine who is promoting local food sources, came to my talk this morning. I spoke about the cultural challenges with birth and midwifery education in Malawi and how it compares to the problems women face here with being marginalized in our system. She said, “We need to relocalize the birth movement the same way we are relocalizing the food movement.” She wants to work with me on this. Two young doulas from southern Maine came on Friday and told me the same thing. They want to work on this issue. It’s clearly time, so how do we go about it? I described the model midwifery ward we’re working on in Malawi, and someone said, “We need that here!”
The sun is high now and the air is warming up. Hopefully the ideas we spawn here follow suit.
Love to all,