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on May 20, 2004
This book gently guides women to examine their own fears and assumptions about birth so that they can choose the place where they will feel most comfortable and supported giving birth. For me, this happens to be at home with a midwife, my husband, my mother and 2 trusted and fearless female friends (I also live 3 blocks from a hospital with an NICU). What I like about this book is its emphasis on discovering what makes YOU comfortable, not some ideal birth situation that the author has in mind. I had just assumed that I wanted a hospital birth, since I work with children with disabilities and wanted the "safest" place in which to give birth. As I read the chapter on home birth (which the author almost did not put into the book), I was amazed to read what the actual research said about home births and hospital births and safety issues. It took me a couple of weeks of working my way through the book, but I realized in a flash that I did not want to give birth in a hospital! Again, this is the right choice for ME, not the ONLY right choice. Luckily, my husband was very interested from the start in a home birth as well.
There are also some very helpful techniques in the book for coping with the intense sensations surrounding labor and delivery, and wonderful right-brain practices for uncovering and facing fears you may have regarding your images of childbirth pain, past birth experiences you may have had, inadequacy as a mother, etc.
This book is empowering and illuminating. It helped me move from feeling and behaving like a passenger in the vehicle of pregnancy-birth to being in the driver's seat. It is a great antidote to what books like "What to Expect" tell you about birth options and strategies for coping with sensations and fears.
I also was relieved and so pleased that an author finally had the courage to write about an aspect of birth that is usually ignored in almost ALL childbirth books: the spiritual aspect. This book acknowledges that pregnancy and birth are not just about a physical process, but about the birth of a new being, a mother, and a family.
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on March 1, 2006
I have read several pregnancy books from the popular "What to Expect When Expecting" to the fluffy "Girlfriend's Guide." This has been the best book to prepare me emotionally and intellectually for the process of labour, delivery and becoming a mother. It has helped me to start many conversations with friends who have children, my own mother, grandmother and my husband to discuss the birthing process in a meaningful way.
The book's layout is extremely easy to read, and the author gives a lot of stories and quite a bit of medical research summaries to inform and open the reader's eyes and heart. While she does lean towards a "natural birth," she gives a lot of information and discussion towards the medically assisted births as well with the intent of assisting mothers becoming an active agent in the birth process and to not fear or regret whatever may occur.
There are two books I've insisted my husband read: "Your Pregnancy: Week by Week" by Curtis & Schuler and this book. The week by week book is the best for the physical aspects of the baby's development and my physical health, and this book for awareness of the emotional and cultural aspects, as well as the mechanics of labour and delivery!
It also has some very good pieces of advice for the birthing partner, which are easy to remember and empower him/her through the process as well. (My husband is already practicing offering me three fingers instead of four for griping onto, as apparently four can lead to a husband with a broken finger. Who knew?!?)
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on December 25, 2000
Whether you plan to have a natural birth experience or prefer to use drugs for the pain, you must read this book first. It will tell you all the things your Dr. never will. You'll be so much more informed about your options and so much more comfortable with your choices!! I am 3 weeks from my due date at this writing. Between this book and the book "The Thinking Women's Guide to a Better Birth" I have such a different outlook on child birth and I am actually looking forward to delivery day. I had no idea what possible complications could be caused by medical interventions and I also had no idea how to get through child birth naturally, until I read these books. I would also recommend a childbirth class/method other than Lamazze. I took Imagery Birthing which is based on Hypnobirthing. The idea is to practice imagery, relaxed breathing and help your mind get out of your bodies' way when it's time for the baby to be born. You could also use The Bradley Method. Remember, you are not an ill patient when you go to the hospital to have a baby - it is a role women are made for and it shouldn't require you to be hooked up to all kinds of machines, medications and procedures. Good luck to all you expectant mom's!
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on June 27, 2004
I am 32 weeks pregnant with my second child and I just got done reading this book. I wanted to see what other people thought of it and read some of the reveiws. After reading a few negative ones I wanted to warn people that the book is very open to every option not just homebirth. This book takes evey birthing situation (even c-section) and tells you how to make it a positive and beautiful experence. I have to admit though some people might think the book way out there, but keep your mind open and give it a try. I've read a LOT of pregnancy/childbirth books and this one is by far the BEST one.
***and if you read the book you will notice that never does it say to "howl like a wolf" when in labor, so don't worry when you read those reveiws that say that, those people misunderstood it.***
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on March 15, 2004
Even though I am hoping for an unmedicated birth in a hospital, I thought this book would be "too alternative" for me. However, I am so thankful that I read this at the suggestion of my doula - who happens to be a Birthing from Within instructor. There are definitely some passages that don't mesh with my personal preferences and birth philosophy, but I was able to overlook those and find some truly wonderful morsels of wisdom that touched me. After all, every birth and every woman is different, so you don't have to follow the book to the letter or believe in every opinion presented.
For me, the most helpful aspect of this book was the assumption that the birth would take place in a hospital. What have become routine procedures for birth in most hospitals scare me very much, so I have chosen a doctor and birth attendants who support my decision for a natural, intervention-free birth. However, most books I have read that share my viewpoint are extremely anti-hospital and only serve to increase my anxiety level. (I did consider home birth - my first choice - but ultimately decided against it for various reasons.) Although "Birthing from Within" contains some horrible stories of hospital births, I appreciated that the book's focus is on making a hospital birth a rewarding experience, NOT trying to avoid a hospital birth. It provided me with techniques for working through my fears of the hospital and ways I can cope if events don't go exactly as I hope.
The section for fathers is perhaps my favorite part of the book because it is so well-written and contains some wonderful advice. I also was thrilled to read the chapter on "baby-proofing your marriage." Before reading "Birthing from Within", I had yet to come across a birth book that positively addressed the impact of a baby on marriage, if it addressed the issue at all. Not that this book looks at the issue from behind rose-tinted glasses! But it prompts discussion before the baby's arrival, so couples are prepared.
Overall, this book has not only positively encouraged me to work on my personal beliefs and fears about birth, but has also provided my husband and me with some valuable discussion points so we can both approach the impending birth of our first child with confidence. I encourage all mothers-to-be to read this book with an open mind. Some suggestions may work for you, others may not; use what speaks to you to create the birth experience that fits YOU.
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on December 27, 2002
Discover this book and you'll rediscover yourself!
BFW recognizes that women have the opportunity to rediscover the power of the birth experience as a creative energy that they can harness for their babies, for the earth, for themselves. BFW is a key inspirational and practical text showing women how to recapure their own inner strength and be leaders in their own birth processes.
BFW provides a gentle road map to the heart with a series of exercises, art projects, deep relazation, visualization examples and real preparation exercises.
It shares the concerns of both mother and father and recognizes that the birthing process is the opportunity to integrate masculine and feminine ways of being to heal any out-of-balances or fears in our lives. It suggests that if we are to bring birth in the United States into the 21st century (meaning reducing the irresponsiblely high cesarean rate, the scary maternal/infant mortality rate) we must allow for the positive processes of the heart/body to match the dominant powers of the mind/technology.
BFW suggests that how we choose to birth our next generation is how we choose to live our lives currently and that healing the birth process is an essential ingredient to hope, happiness and peace in our future.
As a doula, I've both helped women using this text and seen women take this book into the birth room in my stead and return ignited by the energy, achievement and joy of their birth experiences. Every woman deserves to know the power of their Motherhood and that birth transforms them in an incredible way.
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on June 25, 2001
I originally reviewed this book in August of 2000, and I delivered my baby girl on November 7th... This book is STILL the best book for parents-to-be. While I was laboring, I was nervous (as any new parent might be), but most of what I had read was SO helpful in handling the contractions... I distinctly remember telling myself to "surf on top of the contraction" when I thought it was too painful - something that was talked about in a short story. I also felt no apprehension or embarassment in making all the noise I wanted.
FYI, I labored at home until I was 8 cm dilated, got to the hospital (they tried to get me into a hospital gown. It was too small and constricting so I demanded it be removed and I gave birth almost nude - something I probably wouldn't have done if I didn't think to take control of my birthing experience) and delivered Sage in 45 minutes... without any drugs!
I took no birthing classes, just read as much as I could. This book made me feel as prepared and a comfortable as I could, and I still talk about it to anyone who is considering a natural birth experience. If natural birth interests you - GET THIS BOOK!
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on June 6, 2001
This is, by far, the best book for preparing a couple for labor and delivery. _Birthing From Within_ takes a completely new approach to childbirth preparation and focuses on what each individual woman and her partner need to do to prepare for THEIR own birth. Following the exercises in this book will help couples work through their "issues" and prepare for the best birth possible for them.
This book contains all the information a couple needs to have regarding labor and delivery, but it also teaches the couple to think for themselves and shows them the way to learn what is truly important for them as individuals. I am extremely grateful to have had this book in preparation for my second birth and wish I'd had it for my first.
The only drawback to this book is that parts of it get a little "new-agey" and may not appeal to a more "mainstream" person; but you can easily disregard anything that's too "out there" for you and still benefit *hugely* from having read the book and used the parts that worked for you.
The chapter on pain coping techniques is particularly phenomenal with some completely new approaches that are extremely good. I especially like the fact that the author is HONEST about the pain of labor [and doesn't imply that it is just "discomfort" and that any woman who has pain with labor is just not "doing it right". ugh!] Having acknowledged that labor IS painful, the author then goes on to give you some amazing ideas on ways to cope with that pain. I wish I could buy a copy of this book for every pregnant couple out there!
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on February 15, 2001
I've read about 10 books on birth preparation & pregnancy. If I had to choose one, this would be it. It makes the pregnancy process a JOY, not an academic class or a sermon from the medical mountain or the hippie commune.
Unlike most childbirth prep books on the market, this one prepares the whole woman for the glory, the pain, and the creative explosion of birth. It does not detail all the scary medical stuff that could possibly go wrong (as most of them do - Don't they know we're nervous enough when we're pregnant!)
Mothers-to-be, this book will empower you with stories of birthing women all over the world and all through history. It will take you through fun artistic ways to open your creative doors, preparing not just your left brain, but also your fantastic feminine right brain for the big event.
I found that the "birth art" - actually little stick figure sketches - that I created via the book's process helped me come to grips with my hidden fears & anxieties about birthing. Once they were explored through the art, I felt SO much more powerful and confident about my ability to give birth.
The information on pain and various methods of pain-management was truthful, balanced, and helpful in preparing for the big day & dealing with anxiety about the big pain issue.
Buy this book. And do the art stuff - you do NOT have to be an artist. It is just so FUN!
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on August 21, 2013
I picked up this book because my midwife recommended it. Birth is such a personal and individual experience and I felt that this book solidified this notion. It encourages midwifery as an alternative to "conventional hospital births" for low risk pregnancies in a way that does not condemn woman who make other choices for their births. In current society modern medicine has changed the way woman give birth and the options available. I felt this book helped to debunk the myths and fears associated with these changes. Most importantly, the book helps prepare woman for motherhood and seeing birth as a part of life and something to cherish. I have read other birthing books (Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin), and I felt that Birthing From Within was the most unbiased in terms of "information sharing" on several topics from interventions, VBAC, and pain management. For me personally, what I wanted out of a birthing book was encouragement, facts about birthing, and information that would be relate-able. This book accomplishes that and I feel mentally prepared for whatever situations may arise during my birth. I strongly encourage this book because it doesn't matter where you give birth, what is important is that parents and birthing companions have access to information that will provide enlightenment, support, and education.
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