January 28, 2009

Pam England's LabOrinth Articles

Here's a link: http://www.birthingfromwithin.com/laborinth_professionals

Pam England, author of Birthing From Within and founder of the Birthing From Within organization, wrote up her thoughts on LabOrinths - i.e., the symbolism of labyrinths and how it relates to labor. I particularly love the images of the Hindu Yantra (a visual labyrinth women can follow with their eyes during or between contractions) and the image of the threshold stone at New Grange.

Go check it out!

Art is a Way of Knowing

Art is a Way of Knowing by Pat B. Allen is a wonderful book. I read it in one sitting, which is saying something considering that reading exacerbates my nausea at the moment :-P

I want to copy some quotes that leapt out at me and which I want to remember for my work:

"Emotion is a physical experience. When we are physically unaware, we have limited access to our emotions. Paying attention to how our body feels and adjusting our movements to create the most enjoyable sensation helps to increase our access. We shut off access to our emotions because of experiences of fear in our lives. By gently listening to our bodily cues and responding to them with small adjustments, we create trust in ourselves." p. 29

"Images that are necessary to us come in all sorts of ways, for the soul never tires of trying to make itself known." p. 33

"Patient waiting is sometimes a big part of image making, just resting in not knowing and trusting that eventually, if I maintain my connection to a piece and don't abandon it, resolution will eventually come." p. 35

"We owe it to the world to be as alive as we can, to give what is unique in us to give. Art is a way of knowing our gift and learning how to give it." p. 50

"They weren't crazy, although Jung especially seemed to realize that there is risk in images. It's not a process of total control. He talked about the need for stable supports in a regular life to anchor himself when he lowered down in the unconscious." p. 66

"This seeing without recoiling is what undoes judgment, I think. If I look long enough, can I get to forgiveness? . . . He is an informed witness who knows something about dark and light and shadow. He knows and I come to know that everything is about dark and light and shadow. There is no use in denying one or the other." p. 108

"Considering pain as an image that comes through the boy allows us to consider different solutions besides simply taking painkilling medicine. Focusing directly on the pain, having the experience rather than running from it, is often a more successful solution to pain relief." p. 125

"Change, like any other dying, is harder than it looks." p. 169

January 17, 2009

Birthing From Within

This is the book that shares the roots of what we are doing as Birthing From Within Mentors, Doulas, and parents. Pam England co-wrote it with her husband, Rob Horowitz, and it is a wonderful guide, starting place, and reference for pregnant and new parents and those who work with them.

I taught my first childbirth education series of classes based primarily on what I had gleaned from this book about art and awakening to the possibilities of birth. My awakening was definitely furthered by the Birthing From Within training I took; but everything is there in kernel or root in the book. I have also shared it with friends who found different parts of it very helpful as they prepared for their births.

The warming attitude that comes across to me from this book is expressed in this slogan: "Labor is hard work; it hurts; and you can do it."

Go read it if you haven't!

January 1, 2009

Nutrition for a Healthy Pregnancy: The Complete Guide to Eating Before, During, and After Your Pregnancy

So for my certifcation process I am required to read "a book on prenatal nutrition." You wouldn't think this would be a difficult item to find . . . and it isn't. It's just hard to find one worth reading.

After reviewing the shelves & catalogue at my local library, the midwive's office where I teach my classes, and the local chain bookstore, I settled on Nutrition for a Healthy Pregnancy: The Complete Guide to Eating Before, During, and After Your Pregnancy by Elizabeth Somer, M.A., R.D.

I did very much like the research-based information Ms. Somer included. And the reason I chose this book is that it did present breastfeeding as a positive, normal postpartum baby feeding plan.

I was not, however, greatly impressed by her overall emphasis on low-fat foods, lack of emphasis on the importance of organic foods, or repetativeness. To put it mildly.

Ah, well. I'll keep the book because I really do like the current research based info. But if anyone has a FABULOUS recommendation for a book on prenatal nutrition that was published in the last 5 years or so, let me know!