In true Mollie fashion, I had every intention of writing up separate posts about each of these reads. It now seems like I have finished 3 books in the past 5 months without sharing even one of them on the blog. #momlife
Alas, here there are.
I am super interested in reading and especially interested in learning while I am reading. Call me crazy, but I really enjoy educational books. I want to be as informed as humanly possible, particularly when I am getting myself into a situation that is brand new to me. i.e. having a baby. I do all kinds of research, weighing out the possibilities and preparing myself for various outcomes. I am certain this habit is rooted in anxiety, but informing myself makes me a heck of a lot less anxious.
So when I found out that I was pregnant, I wanted to be informed. I want to be a mom that is making the best decision for my child and how can I do that if I am not aware of all the options. As my birthing instructor shared weekly:
“If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any”
Inform and educate yourself, mamas! Knowledge is power. And knowing all the options allows you to make the best decision you can for you and your baby.
Book 1: Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, by Ina May Gaskin.
This one was the first recommended to me by my sister and it is quite empowering. The entire first half of the book takes you through a variety of birth stories from many different women. You get to experience recounts of many labors and deliveries. It is incredibly powerful to hear their experiences and know that even in light of some not-so-pleasant situations, these mamas gave birth. Their bodies did what they were meant to do and if they can do it, so can you.
Ina May is a well-known midwife, delivering babies at her birthing center of The Farm in Tennessee. She has decades of experience and has a lot of knowledge to share with expecting moms. While reading her book I became aware of topics I hadn’t even considered needing to look into including: delayed umbilical cord clamping, time limitations put on women regarding the length of their labor depending on the provider, the use of episiotomies and standard newborn procedures. I bookmarked many sections in her book and I still intend to go back a revisit them before baby O. arrives.
Ina May makes pregnancy and the birthing process very real. She wants readers to be informed. I learned a lot from her book, even though I felt like I already knew quite a bit. Mostly what I learned? Pregnancy and delivering a baby is not what Hollywood makes it appear. It’s a lot more raw than that. And at the same time, BIRTH IS BEAUTIFUL AND MIRACULOUS.
While it is definitely geared toward a natural birth/home birth setting, you won’t regret reading it!
Book 2: Natural Hospital Birth, by Cynthia Gabriel
This one was recommended to me our doula and it is actually written by a doula. She shares her experiences after working with many women desiring natural births while delivering in the hospital setting. She discusses all of the stages of
labor in both a concise and comprehensive manner. She gives tips on labor positions, what to do during labor and how to know when to go to the hospital. She also briefly talks about newborn procedures, including the pros and cons of each.
Cynthia Gabriel educates with a non-judgemental attitude. She provides information without trying to sway parents one way or the other on which decisions to make regarding the birth and care of their child. She simply provides information and empowers women to make that best choice they can for their bodies and their babies.
I think most importantly, she guides mamas into finding a care provider that supports their choices, standing up for what they believe in and truly advocating for the care they want, no matter what that care is.
Book 3: Mindful Birthing, by Nancy Bardacke
This one, I am still reading. It was also recommended by my doula and my prenatal yoga instructor. The writer founded and teaches a birthing course called Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting. Her book is a recap of this course for mamas who cannot or do not want to take the live course.
So far, the book has walked me through various mindfulness practices to apply to labor including a full body scan, several breathing exercises, communication exercises and mindful walking. She provides these tools as a way to not only prepare for birth, but to also prepare for parenting, enhance relationships and help mamas stay in the present moment. This last skill, from what I understand, it HUGELY beneficial during labor.
Staying in the present moment means taking each contraction as it
occurs. Not worrying about previous contractions or when labor will end. Literally taking the process one minute, one second at a time. The truth is, we cannot control the progression of labor. What we can do is stay present and focused, making labor as tolerable as possible.
I love this book so much that I bought it and intend to read it again. It applies to life, not just labor.
Happy Reading, Mamas!!