Let’s look at the numbers. If about half the population is women, and the majority of women have babies, and there are over seven billion people out there, that’s a lot of birth, right? And so in turn, there are a lot of books about birth out there too. That’s good, because there are so many different ways of looking at birth. Though as natural and normal as birth may be, still each one is as special and unique as each of us is. So it goes that we need a lot of books to cover the expression of so many sorts of peoples and experiences, and all our different feelings and ideas about and approaches to the birthing continuum, right?
As long as I can remember, I’ve felt reading birthing stories and about birth was beautiful. Be it a quiet, undisturbed home birth in the back woods, or some heroic test of strength and determination requiring endurance to overcome the rigors of bright lights, full medical staff and major surgery. No matter what the story, I’m there cheering the mother on, routing for the baby, and in tears of joy (and occasionally sadness) when the story is done.
Every birthing book shares a sacred story and/or wisdom. Not all will be in line with your feelings or needs. Not all will appeal to you. Not all will deem appropriate. But that still leaves plenty for you to explore and enjoy. Besides, the act of reading a good book is plenty peaceful in itself. So, I’m going to slowly start suggesting a long list of books you may want to read. Yes, you’ll see it’s a long list, and pregnancy and the postpartum aren’t that long, so chances are you’ll only read a few. That’s fine. Skim through the upcoming ongoing list and see which books resonate for you, which attract you, and start with those.
Of course every book I recommend will be one of my favorites, and I have read and continue to read a lot of birth books. All that I share will be primarily positive, inspiring, interesting, and in one way or another something I feel worthy of sharing. Some may open your mind to new ideas, or introduce topics in a different way than what you’re used to. Some may tell you “how to.” Some may share actual stories. Some may simply be fun to read.
Remember with any and all books that I suggest, take what you can from it; leave the rest behind. Birth is beautiful, and there is no one right way. These books are presented only to help you find and clarify your way.
Books can also be expensive. Most of the ones I’ll be suggesting can be found used. Before buying new, please check out your local library or used book store, or even on-line used book sources. If you can’t find it local, check out Abe Books, Half.com or the used book selection under each title on Amazon.com.
I know you won’t be able to find the time read them all, some won’t be of interest, and some of them you may have already read. So take a peak at my suggestions when and if you can and make your own choices. (Likewise, please let me know if there’s a birthing book you just love that I have not yet suggested, or perhaps have not yet read.) Between birth stories and increased knowledge, this is a wonderful way to learn and expand… and relax. And that’s good stuff for both the pregnant and the postpartum woman!
My book list begins with what seems like an obvious choice, where a part of my journey began. It begins with the book that inspired my journey, and the journey of so many, into natural birth and midwifery, twenty something years ago. It was already a classic even back then. It is still beautiful, relevant, and inspiring. Many of you have read this. Maybe you’ll want to read it again. Maybe again and again. If you have not yet read the birthing stories in here, please do. This is true inspiration.
Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin