Friday, August 17, 2007

Transformation Through Birth

This afternoon I finished reading Transformation Through Birth. It is by Claudia Panuthos, who also wrote the excellent Ended Beginnings (about miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death, and healing all sorts of childbearing losses. Required reading for ALACE certification). I had never heard of this book until two weeks ago when another Leader recommended it to me. It was written in 1984, so you'd think I would have noticed it before now! Anyway, it was pretty good and barely "dated" at all (there were a few things, such as a section about the Age of Aquarius {??}). I enjoy books that are designed to help women with the emotional work of pregnancy instead of just the physical work, with a quick dabble into the psyche. I find they are few and far between.

Some points I particularly liked:

"In some sense, childbirth is much like a marathon. Once given some general guidelines, marathon runners know how to breathe, to run, and to complete their race according to their own body signals. Similarly, women know how to breathe, to birth, and to complete the delivery according to their own body signals. Marathon runners who are true champions are free to stop the fast pace, and even quit the race without loss of integrity."

She then makes the point that birth is really more like a "Zen marathon" in that "the focus is to become centered and one with the body, to remain on purpose and directed toward a signle goal and to act from the witness or higher mind within."

"Because we view marathon running as an expression of ultimate physical health, a similar attitude toward childbearing may greatly aid in the altering of present attitudes that respond to childbearing as an abnormal condition requiring medical treatment."

This reminds me of something one of the doctors in the Business of Being Born film said that made me really outraged. He said something to the effect of: "in three months you're just going to be pushing a baby in a stroller, so what difference does it make how you gave birth?" What difference does it make?! Would anyone even THINK to say something like that to a marathon runner or Olympian--"in three months, you'll just be pushing a baby in a stroller, who cares that you won a gold medal?" (analogy side note, feeling good that you won a gold medal [gave birth in a triumphant and empowering way] does not invalidate or cause guilt in those who did not run the marathon, or had to quit early, or needed help finishing. There is no shame in not running, but there is also rightful PRIDE and "glory" in finishing the "race" you set out on. Someday soon I will be developing this analogy into a real essay, so wait for that!)

Okay, back to the actual book I read! A gem of a quote:

"Women who birth joyfully do so because of who they are, what they believe, and how they live."

With regard to cesarean birth experiences (different section/context than quote above, but compatible when paired):

"For the woman who delivered surgically, her task is to see that she was attempting to save her baby's life through an act of personal courage."

I also love the author's concept of encouraging and preparing for postpartum EXPRESSION instead of postpartum depression (the theory being that stuffed down, unexpressed feelings, moods, conflicts, emotions contribute to depression by repression of expression. That's my own bit of alliteration there--I'm so catchy! ;-)

1 comment:

Laborpayne said...

You've been tagged!

RULES - Post rules before giving the facts - Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves - People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules - At the end of the your blog you need to tag six people and list their names - Leave them a comment on their blog, telling them they have been tagged and not to forget to read your blog.