“Birthing from Within” book review

Right from the very beginning of the book, “Birthing from Within” the authors, Pam England and Rob Horowitz, set the tone that mama knows best, essentially. Birthing people should feel empowered and self-reliant.

“Labor is hard work, it hurts, and you can do it.”

For approximately the first half of the book, the author tells birth stories and associates a drawing/writing activity for the reader. Birthing from within childbirth preparation classes consists of beliefs about pain, baby care education, arts and crafts, journaling, training for coping with pain, role playing, footbath, singing, etc. 

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“Childbirth should be considered a rite of passage, a path to self-discovery in order to give birth with awareness, not to simply achieve the desired birth experience.”

The book is reassuring and helpful at helping to relieve the anxiety of childbirth by giving them wellness and healthy living tips.

  • Pain coping techniques should be practiced in daily living.
  • Childbirth preparation can be done in your heart and soul, not just in your head. 
  • Mothers should be seen earlier in their pregnancies order to make sure they’re making healthy diet and exercise choices during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

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How to make birth art

In order to make birth art, you need someone to ask you what’s your hopes, secret fears, and vision for the birth. Creating birth art is a great way to pull this subconscious information out of the mother. I really like the thought that everyone is an artist and to live in fear of honoring your truth is not s good way to live. We’re all creative because it’s part of the human experience. It doesn’t have to be pretty and nice and good and comfortable to be considered art. There are actually no wrong ways to express yourself with art. This should hopefully be a stress-relieving activity.

“I feel the most important thing the birthing woman does is to listen to her body and find out what her body is telling her she needs to do.”

Preparing a home like a bird builds its home: using whatever is available. I love this imagery so much. When it comes to preparing the birth space, the mother is allowed to challenge her assumptions of what is allowed even if she decides to birth in a sterile space such as a hospital and allow her imagination to consider a range of possible settings. Bring symbols or your artwork to decorate your birth room. 

What I didn’t like about the book:

If you want to know what exactly goes on during birth, this isn’t the book. This book is praised for its ability to inspire you to make something related to the birth, not to educate you about birth. For example:

The book is very pro-natural. It’s extremely biased. If you’re wanting drugs, just skim over those sections. Understanding birth through the lense of art is an inclusive activity whether moms get no drugs or all the drugs.

The book says birth plans distract mothers from trusting her body and spirituality, but I don’t mind birth plans. Sometimes they’re nice to have just so the hospital staff understands and is reminded every time they look at her chart. Plus, it should be considered part of the parents role in understanding birth. It can become a mother’s birth art if she’s a type A personality. I almost wrote three birth plans myself. Writing is therapeutic and seeing your priorities printed on paper can be very empowering.

I also found this book extremely biased against the entire medical field. I think women should be able to give birth wherever they most feel comfortable, and for most women, that’s at a hospital. Again, focus on the parts of the book that teaches you about making birth art and you’ll be good to go.

Leave what doesn’t serve you. And that’s true for all books, by the way. 😉

So, there’s my opinions about the book, Birthing from Within. How about you? If you read the book, what did you think of it?

Your local library have it or you can buy it on amazon.