Thursday, April 30, 2015

Doula Adventures: Review of "Spiritual Midwifery"

Here we are at the end of April, sliding in a doula book review barely on time! This month I'm sharing my review of Ina Mae Gaskin's Spiritual Midwifery, which is one of my favorite books.

Ina Mae Gaskin has so much faith in women's bodies, and I love how this faith permeates everything she writes. The premise of Spiritual Midwifery is that women are made to have babies and that midwives {and birth workers} are there to listen to the mother, guide her through what her body is designed to do naturally, and that it is a spiritual experience for everyone involved.

As with all of Ina Mae's books, the first third of the book was my favorite. Birth stories! Ina Mae shared a wide variety of birthing situations, and her calmness through even the most tricky and difficult circumstances was encouraging.

What I appreciated the most, though, was the thoroughness of Ina Mae. She described with both the "to the parents" and the "to the midwives" sections how to proceed through each stage of pregnancy, labor, delivery, and postpartum. The diagrams of the mother's pelvis and the baby's skull were particularly useful in my understanding of the physicality of birth. Also, the various positions that the baby can be in before the birth are crucial to understand, and I believe Ina Mae's illustrations helped me vastly.

Spiritual Midwifery helped me discern the rhythm and flow of pregnancy care, labor, delivery, and postpartum activities. Reading both the parental and birth worker sections exemplified my future job description: encourager of the mother, guardian of the energy in the room, guide of the father/partner, and support for medical workers.


I read this book back in November, and after re-reading my review, I will probably go back and read it again. I really do love Ina Mae!

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