The Bible Belt

churchWe arose early to the sound of hymns coming from the television. An extra fancy breakfast was spread for us before we even came out to say good morning. My granddaddy emerged in his best suit.

Sunday in the Bible belt. I was in for a culture shock.

The kids and I loaded up our luggage into the car, prepared to say goodbye to our longest stop thus far and re-enter the world of road travel.

But first, you can’t go to the south without visiting the little country church. So we piled into granddaddy’s car and drove to the First Presbyterian Church of Bay Minette for a service with about 50 people who reminded me very much of my grandparents’ friends in the church I attended as a little girl in Southern California. While formal in dress, the informal, warm style of the service and serving and the sermon about a countryside version of the Prodigal Son made me distinctly aware that I am not in the city or anywhere near it.

As I shook hands with the minister and thanked him for his encouragement to relinquish resentment and embrace gratitude, I noticed he was looking at me strangely. It didn’t occur to me until I left the building that the church is so small and the people so well acquainted that he noticed I was a visitor and didn’t want to be rude and ask.

Or maybe it was the tattoo on the back of my neck. Oh well, I’ve always been the black sheep.

After church my granddaddy treated us to another buffet. This one was larger and located in the small town of Stockton, Alabama. The warm southern drawl of the hostess made me feel like I’d stepped into a film about the south. Trinkets, nicknacks and plaques with Bible verses were set up on display and for sale in the entry.

In the main dining area, there was an elderly lady at a keyboard playing hymns. Three crosses decorated the table in front of her. Everyone eating was in their Sunday best.

My daughter looked at me and asked if we were in another church. I told her I think the whole state is one big church on Sunday.

After we ate, we big farewell to southern Alabama and made our way to Montgomery where we met up with a friend who drove to visit me to discuss the present state of midwifery in the country.

And by evening we were in South Carolina. Late at night. Sleeping in a “dirtier” part of the south that I hope to get a glimpse of in the next couple days. The Blue Ridge Mountains. I’ve dreamed of this part of the country most of my life.

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About supportmidwifekatiemccall

Katie McCall was born at Pomona Valley Hospital in Southern California by scheduled c-section as a frank breech due to the current medical system insistence that breeches should always be delivered that way. Katie's father's family was filled with teachers, her mother's family was filled with healers. It is no surprise then, that she went on to have her own two children and spend her adult life involved in a combination of teaching and healing through midwifery, childbirth education, doula work and serving families in Southern California. Katie attended USC for her general education and then went on to study with the American Academy of Husband Coached Childbirth to become a certified childbirth educator. Shortly thereafter, she certified as a birth doula (labor assistant) with the Association of Labor Assistants and Childbirth Educators. Katie was also mentored through a pregnancy and birth support business called The Birth Connection in Glendale, CA, which Katie later purchased and expanded to include a 1500 square foot education facility, retail store and birthing center. She enrolled in midwifery school and apprenticed with the midwives who ran the birth center as well as with midwives who attended homebirths. She sold her business to pursue her midwifery education full time in 2006 and passed her midwifery (NARM) exam to become a Certified Professional Midwife in 2008. She went on to gain her Midwifery License from the State of CA Medical Board in 2010. Katie has received supplementary education in lactation to become a lactation educator, vaginal birth after cesarean support, support of sexual abuse survivors, aromatherapy and is neonatal and CPR certified. She assisted over 500 couples through childbirth education and attended over 550 births as of 2011. As a Southern California native, she has a wide range of experience, serving mothers from diverse backgrounds. She believes her job is one of empowering women to develop their own trust and connection with their bodies and their babies during their own unique journey into motherhood. If she has learned anything through her experience with birth, it is that every birth is as different as the women who are laboring. On August 17th, 2011 Katharine “Katie” McCall, a licensed midwife, was convicted of practicing medicine with out a license for a 2007 birth she assisted as a student. The charge arose from a home birth where Katie's supervising midwife could not arrive because she was at another birth. Instead of leaving the family to birth unassisted, Katie stayed. She recommended that the family transfer to the hospital and the family refused. They were aware that she was only a student midwife and that she was unable to secure an overseeing mid
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