Book Twenty: Birthing From Within

Birthing From Within, Pam England and Rob Horowitz

This was clearly not the book for me, I should have known that from the start. Even though I sometimes fall on the hippie side of the spectrum, this was just way too much out-there-hippie-craziness even for me. I ended up skimming a lot of this, particularly the sections on creating birth art, which were surprisingly numerous. No, really, like it was a huge portion of this book. Seriously, how much birth art can one pregnant woman make?! I'm sure there are ladies who benefit from this, but I honestly don't need to draw a picture of a bunch of scary male doctors coming at me with knives to know that there are elements of the delivery process that scare the crap out of me. And there were so many horrifying birth stories in here, I'm not entirely sure what the purpose was. Obviously, I know every woman experiences birth in her own way and I don't want to dismiss anyone's individual story as not valid, but the taste left in your mouth after finishing this is that having a hospital birth is horrible and you will be in control of nothing and even if things go "fine" you will still suppress feelings of being violated and ignored that will only surface later when you create yet more terrifying birth art. I guess what I'm saying is, too much negative, not enough positive! And the positive in the book is often trite examples of other culture's birthing traditions with little explanation on how to apply it to your own experience. (Ms. England does throw in the gratuitous "hospital births are fine!" and "it's okay if you choose to use pain medications!" but I didn't really believe them, given the focus of the rest of the book.)

There is a somewhat extensive section on pain coping techniques that seemed actually helpful, though I wasn't actively following along with the exercises. Mostly because I know that we'll have a doula and we'll be doing exercises like this together for our birthing prep. So, why bother duplicating efforts, right? But yeah, aside from that, I don't feel like I got a huge amount out of this. Because I'm not going to be doing coyote howling or creating a birth statue to bring to my birth anytime soon.


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