April 5, 2010

Baby Catcher

Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife by Peggy Vincent.

I had read bits of this book before, but on the recommendation of Rixa Freeze I thought I'd try it again.

I still didn't really like much of it. I felt Vincent focused way too much on the "drama" of birth - the transfers, the near-misses or disasters, her experience being sued out of private practice.

However, there was one bit, in a description of her own birth-giving experience, that is absolute dynamite:

"The next contraction came grinding down on me, but it felt different. A white-hot hole of knowledge opened in my pain. I saw that in my effort to get around or under the pain, I'd been avoiding that central point of intensity, staying on the bring of the primitive surrender that's required to get a stubborn baby out. I'd talked hundreds of women into taking that leap of faith, that shut-your-eyes-and-jump moment of bravery. Like a girl standing on the high dive, walking back and forth the length of the board, shivering, going to the brink again to stare down into the water so far below - and then she's off, airborne. Free.

With sudden clarity, I knew it would have to hurt more before it got better. I wouldn't be able to circumvent the pain. I had to go through it, enter willingly into the void, holding nothing back. I had to jump off the diving board."

That's it. That's Finding the Center, one of the Birthing From Within pain-coping practices, in a nutshell. I've now used this passage in a class with parents, and I felt it really worked. I'll use it again!

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