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Book Review: Birthing From Within by Pam England and Rob Horowitz

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I won a copy of Birthing from Within through an online contest. As I am currently pregnant and in a region where birth preparation classes are not available, I thought it would be just the right book for me. Birthing from Within by Pam England and Rob Horowitz promises to be an alternative approach to childbirth preparations. Indeed, it does step aside the usual paths, adding birth art to the tools for preparation and analysis of one’s feelings. Find out more about the method by visiting the Birthing from Within website.

Throughout the first chapter, I had the annoying feeling that England was trying to sell her course, which, in a book intended for an international audience is quite unsuited. Living in an area where the option would not even be available to me, this was quite frustrating. Moreover, I don’t set out reading a book about birth preparation in order to sit through a sales pitch.

The book gives a few suggestions I hadn’t read before and offers neat checklists.

For a natural birth advocate such as myself, there is too much focus on hospital birth and very little on the alternatives. Moreover, I completely disagree with the way she perpetuates the myth of pain in childbirth. If anything, a book about birth preparation should suggest that it can be different, that pain in labor is not necessary. I can conclude that this is not a book about birth preparation, but one about preparation for pain.

It’s a sad thing to see that “alternative” books like these still perpetuate such myths and linger on the medicalized model of birth.

Furthermore, the suggestion of using art and group discussions for birth preparation, while a great idea for groups, is not adapted to people who have to prepare for birth on their own, for whom I would think the book would be intended. If one wanted or had the possibility to do group work, one would join a class.

Even though this book was a disappointment in general, I did retain the idea about a labor project and the Leboyer bath and will be showing my husband some of the sections for the birth partner. The book also features some great short lists that are handy to have around.

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About Laura Schuerwegen

  • V Bobro

    Curious to hear about what your view on the book is now, after you’ve given birth and had time to integrate your experience of giving birth. Tell us more!