I really can't say enough good things about Spiritual Midwifery — I recommend this book all over the website. I just re-read it for my own pregnancy and decided it was time for a write-up. Spiritual Midwifery (fourth edition) is a compilation of many women's birth stories and information on prenatal, postpartum, and midwifery care by Ina May Gaskin.
You see firsthand in Spiritual Midwifery how a positive attitude and willingness to work with your body and baby has helped other women.
The first section is all birth stories from women at the Farm, an intentional community in Tennessee. Most of the stories date from the early days of the Farm – you'll get a bit of Farm history too.
A lot of people comment on the “hippie” language of the birth stories – and it's certainly there. There are also points in the stories where it feels as if there's too much intervention going on (sometimes this is discussed in side notes and sometimes it's not). However the stories themselves are amazing and speak volumes. The women are very open and honest in their stories.
I have my favorite stories bookmarked in Spiritual Midwifery and read them over and over as the end of my pregnancies approach. The women talk about their feelings and how they think those feelings impacted their births – for better or worse. They're a great exploration into emotions and birth. You see firsthand how a positive attitude and willingness to work with your body and baby has helped other women. And you'll also hear from women who have found that being negative made birthing harder.
There's a section of the book devoted to caring for yourself during pregnancy. I like the information on common discomforts of pregnancy and have found much of the advice useful. The nutrition information is sound in that it recommends plenty of protein and veggies, and advises you to be sure you have fats in your meals. The Farm is a vegetarian community so the nutrition information has a vegetarian slant. I prefer animal products during pregnancy and believe science shows good evidence of their benefits but the nutrition guidelines given will help you have a healthy baby if you choose not to use them (or choose to use them – the guidelines are open).
Spiritual Midwifery includes good information on preparing for your birth and choosing who will be with you during labor. There's also advice for your partner on how to help you during pregnancy 😉
A nice section is dedicated to your baby. The advice is all solid and common sense and it'll put your mind at ease about taking care of your little one!
The remainder of the book is an in-depth midwifery information. You may enjoy reading it to get a better idea of what's going on with you, and to help understand some of the monitoring and procedures you may have done.
I can't write a review on this book without mentioning the pictures. All black and white and many of them classic “hippie” – these pictures will inspire you! Sweet babies are all over, as well as lovely pregnant women (and daddies cuddling their babies).
The pictures are truly wonderful and compliment this pregnancy classic. Beautiful images of pregnant women and babies will give you confidence! Get it for your bookshelf and your inspiration 🙂