Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth

An ICAN friend leant me a copy of Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin. I am about halfway through reading it and find it a very emotional process.

The first half of the book consists of beautiful birth stories. There are 130 pages of women describing their natural births. I finish each story in tears, either because the story was so beautiful or because I learned something about my own body or birth that makes me feel...well, just really eager to try again.

Of particular interest to me were the VBAC stories in the collection. I felt like the mothers in this book did a fantastic job of verbalizing my own thoughts and feelings about birth and I really felt like I rejoiced with them when they placed their own newborn babies on their stomachs or started nursing right away.

I am just a few pages into the second section of the book, where Ina May discusses the birth process and what I assume will be her guidance through a beautiful labor. She has a lot to say about fear and its affect on the cervix. I find myself wondering (well, who am I kidding! Fixating!) whether my anxieties about motherhood and my fear of medical interventions lead to the chain of events resulting in my c-section.

I feel like if Ina May had been in that LDR room, she would have told me first to blow raspberries and make out with Corey during contracts, then to verbally tell my body to open, and then she would have made me feel like 18 hours is still a "normal" time for a cervix to open up. Yes. Even 18 hours.

One thing I feel certain of is that this book is a fantastic read for any birth junkie and probably should be essential reading for pregnant women. I'm so glad Emily let me borrow it!


  1. I posted once and it's not here. What an excellent and inspiring book. I think it should be required reading for every expectant mom.

  2. I read Ina May's Guide while pregnant with my son. I chose to birth in a birthing center with a midwife, largely in response to what I learned. I prepared for my birth using Hypnobabies in order to help my mind allow my body to relax. I did a lot of what Ina May suggested to help open my body up, was very calm and happy during the majority of my birthing time, and STILL my son became stuck in my pubic bone and I had to be transferred to the hospital for a c-section.
    My point in sharing this is that we constantly go through the 'what-if's' in response to how our births turned out. I hope that my next experience will be more like what I read about, but constantly coming up with alternative scenarios that 'might' have changed our outcome will not help us move on and heal. I am still trying, a year later, to stop thinking this way and come to accept the way my son's birth happened.