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  • Tina Nandi

Gratitude List # 13


Here we are are the start of another week and my best intentions of getting this post done before the end of the weekend clearly didn’t come to fruition. I’m finding it a bit hard to kick back into work-gear after that delicious long weekend of no responsibilities, delicious seafood, and hours of nothing. The hubs and I escaped from the city for two nights and enjoyed listening to the sounds of the ‘wild’ in Alibaug, i.e. frogs, birds, crickets and lizards. We did a lot of reading and I finally finished this one book that I want to tell you about…

// Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin.

It may seem like a strange book to read if you’re not preparing to be a mother (which I am not btw). My interest in birthing and midwifery was triggered by the experiences of some amazing women that I know of who chose to give birth naturally in birthing centres, at hospitals with midwives or at home. I started doing some research online about midwifery and kept coming across Ina May who is dubbed as ‘America’s Leading Midwife.’  A friend recommended this book to me and I put it off for a while thinking that I would read it later when it would be more ‘relevant’ but eventually I thought, why should that stop me from reading this book now? So I ordered it and I have loved every page and would recommend it to everyone because even if you are not having a baby, it’s quite likely that you know someone who is and if there is any book that a mother-to-be should read, it is this one!

We all have varying images in our head about birth. Probably the most prominent one is what media has bestowed upon us i.e. screaming women gripping the sides of their hospital bed, lying flat on their backs trying to push out a very large ‘thing’ from (apparently) a very small place and the drama-packed event is very painful and very dangerous. The only thing that makes the whole thing worth it is seeing the baby at the end of it all! Unfortunately, real women also will tell you similar stories from their own experiences…

This was my only idea of birth so I was intrigued to know that birthing can be experienced in any other way. That it can be transformative, powerful and even pleasurable! Whaaaaat?

In her book, Ina May shares real stories of real women who have had this kind of an experience while birthing their babies. She also talks about how perfectly women’s bodies are designed to bring forth new life and how that process can either be helped or hindered by our external circumstances. For example, lying on our back while in labour is totally counterintuitive because we are working against the simple rule of gravity that helps the baby to move down.

Most of it is pretty obvious stuff if you really think about it but we’re so influenced by the modern idea of birth, that the natural way seems revolutionary!

Like I already said, I highly highly recommend this book. I will leave you with this quote by Alice Walker…

“Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth… is all we need to reconnect to the empowering beauty of childbirth that is woman’s amazing gift for people-ing the earth. Few books have the potential to improve the life of everyone born on the planet. This one does.’

p.s. if you’re not much of a reader, you can also watch this documentary about Ina May Gaskin and The Farm Midwives. It is available here.

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