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I don't like the book birthing from within-who else? - Page 2

post #21 of 55
I didn't really enjoy it nor do i with many books because i think women try to "control" birth too much and are disappointed when things change. btw, i also don't like formal birth plans for the same reason. i think we are trying too hard!!!!
post #22 of 55
I liked it quite a lot, but think it is more useful for someone having a 2nd or 3rd (or more) birth and not so much for a first.
post #23 of 55
I am a huge BFW fan. It became more important to me the second time around, and healing from a traumatic first birth. I loved the birth art projects, and I still like to look back at my drawings.
post #24 of 55
Originally Posted by lauren
I liked it quite a lot, but think it is more useful for someone having a 2nd or 3rd (or more) birth and not so much for a first.
This might be why I liked this book. True, this is my first birth, but I have way too many births in my head (I'm a hospital based midwife). I wanted to be able to get those births out of my head and focus on delivering MY baby, not the right way to do things, not the proper way, not the expected way... just MY way.
post #25 of 55
I didn't like the book when I first read it. But, I think Pam England is an amazing person. So I took the level one Mentor training from her. I think that she has something going on in person, that is hard to translate in books. I went back and re-read BFW after the workshop, and while I appreciated it slightly more, it still wasn't the book for me. But, I think one of the big messages is to imagine your scary, worst case scenario, and envision yourself coping with it. I think that Pam is the last person to want people to have a calm serene labor. Her labors certainly were not like that. She does an exercise with a labor fairy where you imagine that you are in labor and maybe you are breathing and moving around to cope with the sensations, but oops, up comes the labor fairy and sprinkles some labor dust on you, and all of a sudden you go from rating a five in pain to an eleven. Then how do you cope? What do you do? What do you give yourself permission to do at 11, that you wouldn't do at 5? And I think this is useful. I tend to be pretty quiet and off in lala land while laboring, but this exercise made me consider that I might need to scream profanities if my labor got really intense, or whatever.

And you know what, I didn't get that message out of reading the book, but it was the bulk of what I walked away with after the workshop. My friend and I are going to start teaching CBE classes this fall, and while I will be incorporating some elements from Pam, I definitely won't make BFW required reading.

Just thought I'd share my perspective....
post #26 of 55
I actually did the birth art. But the book itself really depressed me. For some reason, it made me scared of birth.
post #27 of 55
Oh no, you're not alone. When the search comes back up, do a search for the terms under my name and you'll find that I've been ranting about it for a long time. I can say a lot of good things about the book -- it was an important book in my birth journey -- but I take huge issue with her ideas about the role of pain in birth and especially that obnoxious quote from a midwife talking about snuffing the candles and telling the mother to get down to work.
post #28 of 55
I took issue with her saying how unimaginably bad labor pain is, and how it doesn't compare to anything else, although she does say it is distinct from "suffering" because it is intermittent, finite, etc. Maybe it's that bad to people who have been healthy their whole lives, or who don't have enough support, but I found that it was exactly equivalent to the worst pain I had ever felt when sick. Completely imaginable.
post #29 of 55
I wish there was more honoring, not necessarily from that book, but just in general, of women's fear of labor and giving birth. To allow that it's not necessarily going to go away even if you're comfortable with your choice for where to birth and who to birth with. And that even if you and your attendants and your partner do everything right and all goes well, it could be really terrifying or traumatic, even. Instead we get this attitude of conquering, like if you're really prepared for it it won't be scary unless you or someone else does something wrong. I feel like a lot of postpartum emotional issues might be exacerbated by women feeling ashamed of having been afraid. I know that's the case for me and I'm sure I'm not alone.

I've heard a saying, "it's not brave if you aren't scared" and I think that applies to birth, too. It's a big deal. Yes, it's natural. Yes we're made to do it. Yes, however, we have ancestral memories of how often it has brought us right to the threshold of life and death. It's something of a heroic undertaking.
post #30 of 55
I think it's SO not the book for everyone - if you don't find art interesting or fun, it ain't for you! And I have several quibbles with the book (although I understand the sentiment, the bit where the midwife is like "oh, this is too zen" irks me), but mostly I like it. Is it perfect? Nope. Is there some good stuff in there? Yup.

I don't think it usually is damaging to the pregnant woman's psyche (unlike the WTE crap, which basically should only be read by 22nd century researchers who are looking into why 20/21st century birth sucked so much), so my opinion on the book is just take what you like and leave the rest - and if you don't like any of it, that's just fine!
post #31 of 55

Love this thread...!

Our last birth was attended by a BFW-based midwife, so I dutifully read it, but I generally found it too woo-woo for me. DH too. His caveat when we were searching for a midwife to attend our upcoming birth: "Find one who doesn't make us DRAW anything!!"

PS. Just saw your sig file, Arwyn - CONGRATS!!
post #32 of 55

Midwives shouldn't MAKE you do anything like that... Maybe say "hey, I do this extra special thing [bfw art, massage, photography, whatever] are you interested?" But it shouldn't be required... sheesh!
post #33 of 55
I didn't especially like it b/c she wasn't "out there" far enough I'm not a big fan of the epidural stance/next "best" thing. The mw comment about blowing out the candles annoyed the heck outta me, too. Also some of the parents-night-out stuff wasn't in line w/my personal beliefs. I've not read it in about 4 yrs, so I'm not exactly up-to-date.
post #34 of 55
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by BelgianSheepDog
I've heard a saying, "it's not brave if you aren't scared" and I think that applies to birth, too. It's a big deal. Yes, it's natural. Yes we're made to do it..
But I am not scared and didn't like the implication that I should be.
post #35 of 55
Lately the only person I've been able to read on birth is Michel Odent. Nothing else has really been resonating with me.
post #36 of 55
Now Odent rubs me wrong, too, with his insistance that even having a supportive male partner there is hindering!

There's just no one I completely agree with. And that's ok!
post #37 of 55
that's the beauty of the world: there's somethin for every birther.

from patterned breathing to having your partner be the "coach" to working through fears thru artwork, to singing to signing up for a cesarean.

it's all good and whatever resonates with you, obviously, is what is going to work.

deep inside, we all have what it takes to birth. we just get so many screwed up messages and brainwashing about our bodies that it's usually THAT that we need to work through.
post #38 of 55
Originally Posted by Arwyn
Now Odent rubs me wrong, too, with his insistance that even having a supportive male partner there is hindering!

There's just no one I completely agree with. And that's ok!
semantics here, but he doesn't insist it. in fact, in most of the births he attends, fathers are very much involved. (although re-reading that chapter after this post I can see how one can come away with the idea that he believes all fathers are a hindrance...I just happen to have read some articles and heard some talks in which he elaborates a bit more on the topic....)

he is just trying to bring up a differing viewpoint: that men think VERY differently than women (they're very linear generally) and they bring alot of their own fears to birth. I think, as a midwife, I've seen this so much (to the point of men forbidding their partners to have homebirths or freaking out that things "take too long"). But, the same could be true for grandmothers, too. I don't think it's restricted to gender, but men are horrifically left out of the truth of birthing (we women talk birth ALOT, men don't really do this much, if at all) and what they come away with is normal: they love their partners, they don't know much about birth and what they have heard scares them, they want the best for their babies, they think more linearly (like the medical model), etc.

Then again, come to think of it, many MIDWIVES (read: women) do the same thing in terms of hindering a birth because of their presence, beliefs about birth, fears and intervention. So, there ya go!

Some men don't fit the generalization and I've definitely seen women who really need their partners. To me, it's more about what the MOTHER and FATHER both want and what they envision for their birth. If you'd rather have your dog there than your partner, go for it. I just think that there are some men who don't really want to be at the birth, but are afraid to look like losers if they say so.

(My partner's birth was the most difficult birth I've ever been to and possibly the closest I can come to really understanding what a father goes through...it was so hard emotionally!)

I think it's a valid viewpoint, even if we consider it for just 1/3 of what he's saying. Then again, it could be that he's really one of the few voices out there that really shifted my way of being a midwife in a very complete way. So, maybe it's my bias.

did any of this make sense? i just finished a margarita (hey, I'm not on call!) and I'm thinking that I can't type, make sense and drink at the same time. ok. I'm done now.

p.s.: Michel Odent is not my lover. I gain nothing from gettin' his back.
post #39 of 55
I think there are definitely some situations where what Odent says about male partners is true, and I'm glad he has the guts to say it--it's certainly not a popular opinion.
post #40 of 55
Just had to chime in and say that this book really helped me. I read some of your posts about the fear thing and I don't really remember reading that, so it obviously wasn't a big deal to me. When pregnant with my 2nd, and trying to recover from a birth that was very traumatic and not to far in the past, I had a lot of healing to do. I think when you do art things come out in the art that you haven't quite admitted to yourself in your conscious mind. I found this book to be helpful for my healing. I am also one who wants to DO something to prepare and doing a hands-on type workbook was beneficial to me. (I liked school way too much LOL!)

That being said, I found Ina Mae's Guide to Childbirth to be the most helpful in actual labor because it gave me so much confidence and stories to draw on and think about when your so "in yourself." I also read the Sears book and didn't really like the layout and a lot of the ideas. It seemed to be so much more medical (probably because he's a dr. duh!)

I also REALLY liked the section in BFW that was for the husband/partner/labor attendee to read. I made DH read that and he picked up tips that really helped me. (like let the MW help me and stay away)

Just wanted to put in my 2c I like art
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