The midwife clinic I've chosen teaches a birth class based on principles taught in this book. Birthing from Within by Pam England. I ...

What I'm Reading

The midwife clinic I've chosen teaches a birth class based on principles taught in this book. Birthing from Within by Pam England. I immediately wondered what this book was about, especially compared to the popular Bradley Method which is "Husband-Coached Childbirth." I checked it out at my local library and I've been flying through it. Let me share for a bit on what I'm learning.

First of all, I will offer a disclaimer. There was a time in my life when I thought natural childbirth and home birth was absolutely ridiculous. I was of the impression that if drugs are available, USE THEM! I thought home birth was only for backwoods hillbillies and dirty hippies. I hate to be so blunt, but those were completely my thoughts. You remember when I posted about how I've had to eat a lot of crow because I spent so much of my youth developing opinions on things that I had no interest or investment in. Well, childbirth was one of them! My heart has changed so much, even in wanting to have kids. As a teenager, I never really wanted to get married or have kids. My MOPS group is doing a great study and one of the questions they asked was, "What was one of your 'I'll nevers' before you had kids?" All these women said things like co-sleeping, spanking, saying "because I said so," and so on. When they got to me, I said, "I was NEVER going to have kids!" We all got a great laugh out of it. The point is that God has worked in me a new heart with new desires that honestly I'm still getting used to. So, during my pregnancy with Addie I thought about what I wanted her birth to be like. I educated myself and I talked to friends. Manda G. Money

Why....grr I get mad at blogger. Anyway, Amanda was a big proponent of natural childbirth and really got me excited about that possibility. Honestly I was afraid of an epidural, episiotomy, and a c-section more than I was empowered about giving childbirth without drugs. You can read about that whole experience on my old xanga blog Part 1, Part 2, & Part 3

Hopefully those links will work. Alright, on to the book. It is totally hippiefied but I love it. The first several chapters are devoted to describing birth art and how it can reveal your assumptions, fears, and hopes for childbirth. I even tried my hand at drawing a "Journey through Childbirth" picture. I was pretty amazed at all the symbolism that came out in my drawing. Pam wrote this book with her husband, who is a psychologist. She is very merciful to all women, even those who do want to use drugs, have a hospital birth, don't want to breastfeed, whichever. She advocates natural childbirth and breastfeeding and care from a doula and/or midwife in whichever setting you give birth. Her book really promotes respect though, for a mother's journey and her power. She explores birth in other cultures and some of the stories are amazing. She also discusses our culture's assumptions about childbirth and pain, and how the woman's body is completely equipped for childbirth. There are several chapters on the husband's role during childbirth and I just love it. Her methods promote the husband as a partner, an encourager, and a father rather than a coach or a guide through childbirth. She brings up the great point that no matter how much we love our husbands, that they are not women and in many cases we are going to be less receptive to their coaching for that very reason...they have never experienced childbirth and have no frame of reference for our pain or the changes going on in our bodies. It was definitely not a negative assumption, just kind of true for me at least. She also describes the dad as needing to be cared for during labor as well, that he needs guidance, reassurance, and time to take rests and breaks as well from the exhausting event of labor. Right now I am reading the last few chapters on pain management techniques. I'm trying very hard not to be skeptical and just open my mind to these options. I love that she talks about Laborland or this place that your mind-body goes during labor that is almost disconnected from the environment you are in and totally focused/concentrated on your body and labor. She uses holding ice cubes for one minute and practicing the pain management techniques to "simulate" a one minute contraction (um, she totally admits that nothing can prepare you or actually simulate labor pain!). Jason and I tried the first one together last night and I feel pretty good about it. So far, what I've figured is that labor actually takes extreme concentration. I always thought that you may need to just "check out" and try to float out of the pain or something. According to Pam's research and experience though, women have to be completely connected with the pain in order to listen to their primitive brain and respond to the body's cues during labor. It's all very new and exciting, and slightly scary.

Okay, that's my incredibly long post for today! I'd like to encourage everyone to set out today to challenge your opinion on something. Think of an issue or idea that you have a very strong opinion on. Examine it. Does this issue concern you at this point in your life? When did you develop this opinion? Are you different, or have you had new experiences since then? What information did you use to develop the opinion? Is there new information? Does your heart feel peaceful about this or strained? What can you do to make your heart more peaceful? I think it's kind of amazing when God helps me examine these things, because sometimes I'm left even more turned around because I don't get an answer right away. It seems like my sweet Jesus really enjoys those times when I am actually open to listen rather than trapped in my own sea of opinion and self-righteousness. They are rather uncomfortable for me, but I always come out on the brighter side of things.


Geidlbots said...

I want to read this book. I love reading these hippie books. I love reading other women's stories of their births. However, I will refrain until I know what Felix is up to because NOW, I am on a completely different journey--making peace with a c-section. This has been very difficult, but I think I am coming into acceptance. If he flips, I want to borrow it. :)

wow! well, i had wondered if you were planning a home birth since you were talking to midwives, etc.--amazing!