Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Current Reading: Ina May's Guide to Childbirth

I just started reading Ina May's Guide to Childbirth and am feeling more and more confident in my decision to have an out-of-hospital birth. The first part of this book is a collection of women's experiences giving birth on The Farm, a community of midwives and vegetarian farmers in rural Tennessee. Its empowering, beautiful, emotional, and really moving to read about the love and care that went into all of these natural child births. I highly recommend this book to any mom to be, or any one looking to one day grow their family (moms and dads alike). I feel like this perspective on birth (natural, midwife-coached, non-hospital) in the United States isn't as well known, or as trusted as it really should be.

There are so many powerful quotes, but this one has really stuck with me:
"Have you never heard anyone speak positively about labor and birth before? If so, you are not alone. One of the best-kept secrets in North American culture is that birth can be ecstatic and strengthening. Ecstatic birth gives inner power and wisdom to the woman who experience it, as you will learn from many of the birth stories told here [in, Ina May's Guide to Childbirth]. Even when women [at The Farm] experience pain in labor, they understand that there are ways of making the sensations of labor and birth tolerable that do not involve numbing the senses alive if they are to experience the true wisdom and power that labor and birth have to offer."― Ina May GaskinIna May's Guide to Childbirth

I also feel like this quote really paints a clear picture of what midwifery and Ina May is all about:
“The techno-medical model of maternity care, unlike the midwifery model, is comparatively new on the world scene, having existed for barely two centuries. This male-derived framework for care is a product of the industrial revolution. As anthropologist Robbie Davis-Floyd has described in detail, underlying the technocratic mode of care of our own time is an assumption that the human body is a machine and that the female body in particular is a machine full of shortcomings and defects. Pregnancy and labor are seen as illnesses, which, in order not to be harmful to mother or baby, must be treated with drugs and medical equipment. Within the techno-medical model of birth, some medical intervention is considered necessary for every birth, and birth is safe only in retrospect.” 
― Ina May GaskinIna May's Guide to Childbirth
So far, I feel like the only thing this book doesn't offer is any of the inner-workings or insight of bodily changes leading up to birthing (or maybe it does and that comes later, I'm just not there yet). What it does do is offer a complete look into the world of natural birth and the power of the female body and mind. This is a must read! 


  1. you've heard me say many times that yours was a singing birth! but, yes, you were the third one and so easy...

  2. I love you mom! Going through my own pregnancy makes me feel more connected to you than ever <3 miss you, and can't wait to see you next!

  3. Another Amazon purchase.... Maybe I should of waited till I was finished with your blog, I basically have like 5 shipments coming already tomorrow!