Saturday, January 24, 2009

Birthing From Within

This week I finished re-reading Birthing From Within. I started re-reading it quite some time ago, but became re-engrossed this week and finished it up (this was the third time I've read it). Words cannot express how much I enjoy this book. It is my favorite, and most personally meaningful, birth book of all time. It is powerful. It is rich. It is innovative. It is timeless. It is inspiring. It is authentic. It is deep. It "goes beyond." I do not know where I first learned of it, but I read it during my first pregnancy and it was my best, most helpful, and most relevant birth preparation I did (better than the in person classes I took--which were not based on BFW). I know that not everyone does, but I connected with it deeply. It spoke to me and meant something and it was relevant during my birthing as well. So, I'm very attached to it because of my association with my first, transformative pregnancy and birth. I read it this time with more of an eye towards my birth classes and I truly think this book provides more REAL preparation for giving birth than any other (though, I'm not convinced that anything can *truly* prepare you--it is an experience to be lived, rather than described). Reading again raised my desire to train as a BFW Mentor. I hope to do it someday.

(I do have two sections I don't like--there is a really poor breastfeeding section and then there is a quote from another midwife about how if the woman is laboring by candlelight with soft music playing, she blows out the candles and turns off the music and tells her to "get to work.")

I also finished reading In Labor: Women & Power in the Birthplace, which I've wanted to read for ages. I finally went ahead and bought it for myself after Christmas. I was reading it concurrently with re-reading Pushed and it was funny how very similar in content they are. Both sociopolitical looks at maternity care and the culture of giving birth in the U.S. I marked a number of good quotes that I will eventually share on CfM, I think. I did notice that it got less good in the final third of the book and actually seemed to itself contradict some of the points she had made earlier (i.e. in the final third, she starts referring to "deliveries" and "being delivered" when earlier in the book she had examined the use of the word "delivery" as inappropriate and how birth is something women do, an active thing, etc...)

I also read a really lightweight and trashy book about a woman married to a man who is perpetually cheating on her--To Have and to Hold. Basically instantly forgettable, but kind of fun to read anyway.

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