As you may recognize, there is a strong current of fear that completely pervades our modern perception of birth. From What to Expect When You’re Expecting to Baby Story on TV, our culture is being hypnotized into believing that labor and birth are things to be planned for, managed and controlled. Every birth I attend I am reminded that Birth is a Mystery. Yes, every woman’s body needs to go through the same physiological processes in order for the baby to be born, yes each baby must navigate its way through the pelvis . . . yes Birth is a Rite of Passage that women have been experiencing since the beginning of our species. However, each mother/baby is unique and therein lies the Mystery . . . she wonders, how will my labor begin? How long will it last? Can I handle it? Will I know when I’m in labor? All valid questions, none of which can be answered until crossing the threshold of your own personal labOrynth. You can, however, prepare for your labor and birth. After all, that is the premise behind childbirth education classes no matter what type.
Though it is hard to swim against this tide, many women do. They want to wake up and take responsibility for their bodies, their babies, their births. They are having their babies at home, in the hospital, and at birthing centers. In this overwhelming information age it is all too easy to fill our heads with facts and figures about pregnancy, birth, etc. Walk into a bookstore and there is an overwhelming number of books to choose from. Here are a few that inspire confidence and trust in birth that I wish every pregnant woman would grab before What to Expect.
9 Essential Books for Pregnancy, Birth & Postpartum
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
Birth Matters by Ina May Gaskin
Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering by Dr. Sarah J Buckley
The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer
Birthing From Within by Pam England
The Natural Pregnancy Book by Aviva Jill Romm
The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin
Natural Health after Birth by Aviva Jill Romm
Breastfeeding Made Simple by Nancy Mohrbacher and Kathleen Kendall-Tackett
You don’t have to read each book, although they all have a different angle and you wouldn’t be getting too much repeat information if you did. I consider Ina May’s Guide and The Birth Partner to be a good place to start and see where that leads you. I hope they help you to swim against the current of fear that surrounds birth in our culture.