Most pregnancy books are filled with medical information, calendars of fetal and maternal development, and long lists of complications that might arise. While these books definitely have their place, they generally sidestep the spiritual side of the pregnancy journey and their clinical tone belies what a transformative act growing a life really is. As its name implies, Sacred Pregnancy: A Loving Guide and Journal for Expectant Moms (2012, North Atlantic Books), picks up this perspective and explores the full rainbow of emotions that many women experience in the 40 weeks before meeting their babies. Written by conscious living expert Anni Daulter with a forward by legendary midwife Ina May Gaskin, this book is an indispensable resource for mamas-to-be who strive to see pregnancy and birth as not only natural and normal events in a woman’s life, but also hallowed opportunities for growth, reflection, and intention setting.
Arranged in a week-by-week format, Daulter has chosen a single topic (such as “expectations,” “body image,” and “earth energy”) to frame the writing for that week. Looking through this lens, each chapter addresses “your body,” “your baby,” and “your spirit” where physical changes to the mother and to the baby as well as esoteric shifts of the mama’s inner life are explored. Also included are questions to ponder during this time and suggestions for activities, further reading, and lists of helpful resources. Each theme word is gorgeously illustrated with photography by Elena Rego and Alexandra DeFurio. They depict pregnant bodies that are strong, soft, beautiful, and bold. Finally, at the end of each week are several blank pages and a writing prompt to encourage you to record the personal aspects of your journey.
As one might expect, Daulter is a proponent of natural birth and alternatives to birthing in medical facilities, although she does a good job of not coming off as preachy or judgmental. She understands that sometimes complications arise and plans change and she maintains that all pregnancies and births are sacred, regardless of the details. For each week she offers “pairings” on the theme, which might be anything from a recipe to a song, to an article of clothing. These suggestions are incredibly helpful if you lack a large circle of like-minded mamas to give you such tips in person (I’ve been looking for organic cotton nursing bras forever!). Collectively, though, they might seem to rely a bit too much on consumerism (My friend makes this cool thing! Buy it!). However, I found the quality of the suggestions outweighed my distaste for having to deal with a little bit of advertising and welcomed her advice.
Sacred Pregnancy is a work of art and I wish that I’d had a copy when I was pregnant with my son. Daulter is one of the biggest champions of pregnant mamas and is working to create a community around the ideals of holding the pregnancy year as a sacred time. This book is an invitation to the sisterhood and an opportunity to embrace your innate abilities as a strong, capable mama.