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Birthing In The Spirit – Book Review

As I started my Doula/Birth Educator journey, “Birthing in the Spirit”, was the first book that I began to read. Maybe it was the flashy purple cover, or the catchy title, but something in me stirred when I saw this book. I was so excited to start reading it and discover the contents. This book did not disappoint… Birthing in the Spirit was a phenomenal read, and a great introduction to my education.

One of the first concepts introduced in the book was that energy grows the baby and energy is the force that pushes the baby out….therefore it is vital to have good flowing energy around you and in your body. I think that is a huge proponent to using a doula because the doula is able to provide that good, reassuring energy. I never knew before this, how much energy played a role in the birth and pregnancy. This also was pictured alongside all of the concepts that “birth does not need to be taught.” I really marveled at the idea that culturally, universally, all women have a “knowing” deep inside them about giving birth. This knowing is not something that can be learned, but rather accessed…

The idea of presenting a safe space to a woman who is giving birth is also crucial. The physiological effects of safety in birth are relaxation, lower pulse rate, lower breathing rate, steady mind, decreased fear, increased cervical dilatation and ending in a beautiful birth (98).  These are some things I really wish I knew back when I was giving birth!! The Ideas presented in this book are so traditional, so right…yet so novel! If only the whole world were to read this book during the first stage of pregnancy…what amazing change that would bring to our society and our practices of childrearing would exponentially improve.

Another area of “Birthing in the Spirit” that really spoke to me was about practical tips for managing our thoughts. I think as a doula it is very important that I be the strong one and can offer endless emotional support to the birthing mother. Since she will be in a state of intense emotion…like a flowing river, I need to be the solid rock that she can grab onto to regain strength. Words, Actions/Thoughts, Character and Heart are crucial elements to my character as a doula. I need to consistently grow and try to improve on these areas so I can become a better doula and better person inside and out.

Pelvic exercises were a completely new concept to me-aside from seeing that I have a book on it, and knowing that the seminar I need to attend had a class on it. I really enjoyed the story shown in chapter 15 of “Birthing in the Spirit”. The traditional lifestyle of women showed why they chose to give birth stretched out with the back straight, such as hanging from a bar. I did the practices myself and I do notice how the pelvic bone shifts. It makes total sense that the baby would be able to shift itself in the body during pelvic exercises! The utility is so clear!! This also brings back the idea of energy flowing through the body which needs the right pathway to flow through to bring the baby down! It all makes so much sense…

I think it is super important to educate future mothers about the pelvic bone! Avoid giving any negative commentary on the size or shape of her pelvis! Planting any seeds of doubt about her ability to give birth should be avoided at all costs! Birthing on hands and knees, and encouraging women to be on their hands and knees (scrubbing the kitchen floor etc), during the last six weeks of pregnancy makes room for the baby to move to the optimal birthing position and gets the woman used to the position she can try during labor. I feel so enlightened by this information, and so cheated by the information I learned when I was pregnant! It is like the American culture purposefully teaches the opposite of what we should be doing! It is madness. I had a C-Section birth because the doctor told me I had no other choice… I wish I could go back and try to do it in these positions, in a confident state of mind with no medical drugs used! Oh what a difference it would have made. I am so excited to teach and share this crucial information with all of my future clients and even my sisters who have yet to have any babies.

The last part I want to mention is the quote found on page 170. It reads: See only what is good. Hear only what is good. Eat only what is good. Touch only what is good. Smell only what is good. This is the way to good health. For the mind, body and spirit. I find this quote inspirational and beautiful…it is so simple, just like birth should be, just like getting pregnant should be. It should all be simple, good….and full of love. I really am going to strive for these things in my life. I think I may print out this quote and put it on my fridge. I can’t wait to have a beautiful room in my home that my clients can come to and read all these beautiful sentiments on the walls, feel nothing but support and love and look forward to motherhood there together.