Birthing in the Spirit
by Cathy Daub

[2007, Medford, New Jersey: Birth Works Press; 356 pages, paperback.]

[Review first published in Midwifery Today Issue 88, Winter 2008, © 2008, Midwifery Today, Inc. Review by Elise Hansen.]

Cathy Daub, founder of Birth Works International, a nonprofit organization of childbirth educators and doulas, has penned a volume that manages not only to explain the concept of spirit in its everyday, non theological manifestation, but to describe how birthing women can move closer to that spirit and feel empowered and beyond fear. In this book, she lays out a philosophy of birthing in the spirit, encouraging women to embrace the spirit within as a source of strength, to accept the influence of spirit in their lives and to welcome the transformation that comes with recognizing their own full potential and that of birth.

The book is divided into three parts: Laying the Foundation for Birth, Human Values in Birth and The Promise of Birth, for a total of 30 short chapters. Throughout, she discusses five main human values (truth, right action, peace, love and nonviolence) and their interrelatedness to and importance in the birthing process. She stresses the power of women’s intuition and the need for positive thinking, even providing examples of ways to reframe actions or thoughts that could be negative. Along the way she describes topics such as current birthing practices, good nutrition, the need for sleep, grieving and healing, and even a long section on parenting.

One touch I particularly enjoyed was her use of “Birthing in the Spirit” quotes at the end of each chapter. I found them delightfully uplifting and inspirational. A collection of these alone would make a wonderful volume, but in combination with the wealth of guidance and mindfulness found within the rest of these pages, this book a treasure trove.

Reviewer Elise Hansen has been involved in women’s health care for over 25 years, has naturally birthed four children (including a footling breech), is a proofreader for Midwifery Today, academic copyeditor, a Spanish-language medical interpreter and is currently practicing as a homebirth midwife in Oregon. She still has implicit trust in gentle, non-interventive birth.

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