anyone else didn't like Ina May's Spiritual Midwifery? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 61 Old 08-02-2007, 01:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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everyone recommends it so highly, and yet when i read it when i was pregnant with DS i found her to be irritating and controlling. i loved the birth stories, but i didn't get a good, comfy feeling from the book. i kept being irked byt the tone, and by something i couldn't even pinpoint.

so now i am ordering some books to prepare for our next UC (we had some borrowed last time), and i'm tempted to buy it, as everyone lists it. and yet, well, i didn't like it. : i'm a bit conflicted. i know i will benefit from it, but not sure i want that vibe again.

in my amazon basket right now:

Heart and Hands--read it before
Emergency Childbirth--haven't read it
The Thinkings Woman Guide (read when pregnant with DD, want to be armed with it in case we need to transfer)
Spiritual Midwifery (????? conflicted about it)

i don't want to spend money on "inspiration" books--dh and i are inspired enough! and i'm sure i can find a lot of this stuff on-line. but what else you'd recommend?

thanks!
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#2 of 61 Old 08-02-2007, 02:00 PM
 
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I don't like Ina May at all. And from what I have heard of "The Farm" I'd really rather have a hospital birth.

~Marie : Mom to DS(11), DS(10), DD(8), DD(4), DD(2), & Happily Married to DH 12 yrs.!
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#3 of 61 Old 08-02-2007, 02:02 PM
 
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What have you heard about The Farm that you don't like?
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#4 of 61 Old 08-02-2007, 02:08 PM
 
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I find Ina May's style very interventive. It can be a good primer for someone that has never considered homebirth but her style is way too overmanaged for me. I wouldn't pay for the book at this point in my life. I did buy it while pregnant with my first.
Wendi
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#5 of 61 Old 08-02-2007, 02:12 PM
 
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I enjoyed the birth stories because I saw all of the different ways birth can go and things that can affect the birth; I liked some of the information she provided in the instructorial section.

I did not however like the way she took control and told other mothers what to do during birth, especially giving marital advice. I'd be pissed if someone told me how to kiss my man while I was in labor. I didn't like her interventionist methods either.

Mostly it reminded me why I want a UC and don't want a midwife there, so it was a good read for that.

I read her second book and enjoyed it about the same...so-so. They scared a woman to death about getting a Rubella shot during pregnancy and giving it to her baby...Then her blood pressure measured high so they scared her that she had preeclampsia and sent her off to the hospital,where the blood pressure was low...so the hospital tells her she must be afraid of homebirth. Why didn't anyone connect the Rubella scare with the temporary high blood pressure? Mine would be high too if someone just scared the crap out of me and made me think my baby was going to have Rubella.

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#6 of 61 Old 08-02-2007, 02:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by lactivist View Post
I find Ina May's style very interventive. It can be a good primer for someone that has never considered homebirth but her style is way too overmanaged for me.
Wendi
exactly, this is how i feel! but i don't get why it is so highly recommended, especially on a UC board? i just couldn't get over how controlling she was.
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#7 of 61 Old 08-02-2007, 02:14 PM
 
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When I first read it after my dd's hospital birth I thought it was awesome. It opened my eyes to a whole different way of birthing. Then when I was pregnant with ds and went back to read it again it really irked me. I'm much more a hands-off birther.

~Rebecca~
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#8 of 61 Old 08-02-2007, 02:15 PM
 
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I don't know if I "liked" her, persay, but I did read some of the book. She does take people last minute though, for breech and things like that. So, her style would probably be great for someone in a spot of trouble.

Due with number 5 in August. We do all that crunchy stuff.
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#9 of 61 Old 08-02-2007, 02:15 PM
 
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I've read Special Delivery by Rahima Baldwin, in addition to the others you've mentioned. I didn't get a whole lot out of them but think they might come in handy if I want to look something up during birth real quick.

Mostly birth stories are what I am reading. They inspire me, expose me to different outcomes and methods of handling them, etc.

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#10 of 61 Old 08-02-2007, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by lactivist View Post
I find Ina May's style very interventive. It can be a good primer for someone that has never considered homebirth but her style is way too overmanaged for me. I wouldn't pay for the book at this point in my life. I did buy it while pregnant with my first.
Wendi
I agree! I signed it out of the library when I was pregnant with my second and I was SHOCKED that it was so highly recommended! She has a very forceful personality, and doesn't seem much different than an OB, IMO.

Side note, my DH really enjoyed that she kept mentioning passionate kissing. He thinks thats a very good idea.
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#11 of 61 Old 08-02-2007, 02:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by moonfirefaery View Post
Mostly it reminded me why I want a UC and don't want a midwife there, so it was a good read for that.
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~Marie : Mom to DS(11), DS(10), DD(8), DD(4), DD(2), & Happily Married to DH 12 yrs.!
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#12 of 61 Old 08-02-2007, 02:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by starry_mama View Post
Side note, my DH really enjoyed that she kept mentioning passionate kissing. He thinks thats a very good idea.
ah, yeah, that was a good thing! :

i read the book 3 years ago, so i don't remember many of the details, but the general feeling remains.

i wonder if it is a good book for those just recently considering homebirth? not for those with a UC mindset?
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#13 of 61 Old 08-02-2007, 02:28 PM
 
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Well there *is* good information in the book though. I liked a lot of the drawings of the baby passing through the pelvis and things like that- although that might be in her other book, I have 2 of hers. I don't like the way she intervenes a lot and how MANY midwives attend some of the births and how a lot of the pictures show women sitting on their tailbones. BUT, like I said, there is some good info in the books. There are many ways to birth a child, UC is my prefered way, but there are lots of women who are more comfortable having someone like a midwife in charge. *shrugs* I just keep that in mind while I'm reading it. I definitely couldn't birth comfortably with ALL those women and their hands all over me though! Eeee. I'm most comfortable when I'm alone.

I really recommend Laurie Morgan's book and also I'm about to start Sarah J. Buckley's book Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering. Oh, and "Active Birth" is a good one. I've heard good things about Michel Odents books, and I have one but haven't read it yet.
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#14 of 61 Old 08-02-2007, 02:28 PM
 
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I had liked her Guide to Childbirth during my last pregnancy, although I haven't re-read it lately, so who knows if I'd still grok with it.

Going on my previous feelings about her work, I read Spiritual Midwifery a couple of months ago. I wouldn't say I disliked it, but I don't think it's a great book for modern women to read as childbirth preparation, *unless* they're also armed with a TON of other information. I think Ina May managed to swing birthing culture toward something better - but she only started that swing, she herself had/has limitations.

One good thing about the book was that it reminded me to kegel, for some reason.

But other than that, I mostly found it interesting as a historical document. The whole culture surrounding the origins of The Farm, the way it all came together, is really interesting to me. It was nice to have some context into which to put all the lore about The Farm. I ended up hunting for more information so I could get a better feel for it all, and I found a blog called Farmie that recounts one guy's experiences during the end of the Caravan and the first years of The Farm. Really fascinating stuff.

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#15 of 61 Old 08-02-2007, 02:33 PM
 
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There was something I didn't like about the book but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. And I really expected and wanted to like the book because I had heard so many good things about it for so many years.

I don't know if it was the tone or what, but I didn't like it, and didn't connect with it at all. I also tried reading it several times and each time I felt irritated.

But I think the book has been an inspiration to many others so there must be something to it.
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#16 of 61 Old 08-02-2007, 02:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by starry_mama View Post
I agree! I signed it out of the library when I was pregnant with my second and I was SHOCKED that it was so highly recommended! She has a very forceful personality, and doesn't seem much different than an OB, IMO.

Side note, my DH really enjoyed that she kept mentioning passionate kissing. He thinks thats a very good idea.
Oh yeah the kissing. That was one thing I didn't like about the book but that is just me. For me, kissing was the last thing I wanted to do during labor. That kind of contact during labor is distressing to me for some reason. It wouldn't have been soothing or helpful at all.
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#17 of 61 Old 08-02-2007, 02:37 PM
 
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I didn't care for the birth stories because they did seem much more hands on than I care for... however the book was so much more than just the birth stories. It had some very good technical information that I felt was good to know. I like to be educated about it all and I treated it more like a textbook and just ignored the stories.
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#18 of 61 Old 08-02-2007, 02:38 PM
 
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Well, for women who want someone else in control and want that guidance but are looking for something better than hospital birth, I think her book is very good. Her system is much more lax than hospital birth, and so for many it opens their eyes to new possibilities. It's revolutionary for those people, but it just doesn't go far enough for me.

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#19 of 61 Old 08-02-2007, 02:38 PM
 
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...but I don't think it's a great book for modern women to read as childbirth preparation, *unless* they're also armed with a TON of other information.
I think you are right.
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#20 of 61 Old 08-02-2007, 03:12 PM
 
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I didn't care for the birth stories because they did seem much more hands on than I care for... however the book was so much more than just the birth stories. It had some very good technical information that I felt was good to know. I like to be educated about it all and I treated it more like a textbook and just ignored the stories.
:

I didn't mind Guide to Childbirth. In that book it seemed like Ina May had grown up for lack of a better description. Guide to Childbirth seemed to come with more maturity and experience.

Spiritual Midwifery was written back in what, 1970 or something? I honestly found it to be very crass and crude in a lot of ways. And for me I think it was the sexual interference by her that seemed to hover during the whole birth process for some of these women that made me uncomfortable. But then again it was The Farm in the 1960's/1970's so who knows how many people were around to witness when the babies were conceived yk? :

Anyways, I took them for what they were worth, ignored what didn't work for me, took in the tiny bits of info that I was kinda looking for and went from there.

Neither book is for anyone of a UC mindset though, IMHO.
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#21 of 61 Old 08-02-2007, 03:49 PM
 
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Just a heads up. Your thread is likely to get distracted.

As birthing women, we (general and specific to the UC forum), know that Ina May helped pave the path for a better birthing culture. As UCing women though, there seems to be very few of us who actually like her/her books.

Here is a good thread to read. It was specific in regards to Ina May and UC. That might be helpful to you in your decision (and you'll see what I mean by the thread gets distracted ).

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#22 of 61 Old 08-02-2007, 03:50 PM
 
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Neither book is for anyone of a UC mindset though, IMHO.
I'd have to say that's it in a nutshell.

Very interventionist, more about the birth attendant than the mother.
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#23 of 61 Old 08-02-2007, 05:36 PM
 
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I haven't found too many birth books that I really do like. I think my favorite is "Come Softly, Sweet Lucina" by Pat Carter - you have to order a Xerox off Laura Shanley's website because it is out of print. I like Laura's book. "Childbirth Without Fear"
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#24 of 61 Old 08-02-2007, 05:55 PM
 
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Hearts and Hands I checked out of the library with my first pregnancy preparing for a MW attended HB. It's been over a decade but I think it gave me a good perspective on pregnancy care. I wouldn't buy it now because I only borrow books unless I want to own them as personal reference works. The internet has cut down significantly on my need to own books.

Someone pointed out something wrong with Emergency Childbirth. I think it was something about traction on head or fundal pressure but I don't remember. Generally I think it's a really good book to sooth anxious dads. It reads like a well written owner's manual's trouble-shooting guide.

If I were only going to purchase one Henci Goer book, it would be her Obstetric Myths vs Research Realities. You have to keep in mind I spent lots of my undergraduate years immersed in scientific journals. I've heard other women complain it was to academic and not as "mom friendly". I even like the OMvRR title better than TTWGtaBB. OMvRR sounds dispassionate and unbiased whereas TTWG.. strikes me as elitist and cliquish.

Aaaahhhh, Spiritual Midwifery. I only read it before my second UC because it seemed like a classic that every well rounded HBer should have read. It floored me. It struck me as so contrary to my path, belief and faith that I was shocked it was considered a HBing classic. I could not believe the first thing Ina Mae did arrive to a birthing woman was a pelvic exam... not to check dilation like hospital types but to measure pelvimetry to determine *if* the woman had a pelvis capable of vaginal birth. : Now in her favor, when I consider her low transfer and cesarean rate, it might have been some ritual show she put on as a means of assuring each mother she personally is capable of birthing vaginally. I just inferred she believed some women were incapable of it. I don't know where her personal stance is but I just assumed it stemmed from her training at the hands of doctors and obstetric texts.

BV, who just cannot fathom going back to attended birthing.
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#25 of 61 Old 08-02-2007, 06:25 PM
 
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I read Spiritual Midwifery when pregnant with my first baby in 1978. It was awesome, I thought. Then I tried to reread it more recently...AFTER being a UC mom, AFTER becoming a very UC oriented mw...and I, too, was aghast at how controlling Ina May's style is, how demeaning, condescending, hands on, etc. And yeah, like anyone is going to tell me how to touch my man or be touched by him (or by the mw) during labor! I think not!

Anyway, it still has good birth stories in it, and good technical information. But I much prefer her later book--and yes, I would agree that she DID grow up in the meantime, quite a bit. But she IS a mw, and is often called things like "America's Premiere Midwife"....and so, she has grown very much into the mind of a midwife and midwife trainer...she IS much about the midwife, rather than the moms.

I have been to the Farm and had simply horrible experiences there (nothing to do with pregnancy)--some of the rudest, most power tripping, mind-gaming, self-important folks I ever met (including Ina May and her partner Stephen). It blew my mind. But all that said, their birth team does do good work with birth in many ways, for people who are looking for that kind of care.

Anyway--I don't recommend Spiritual Midwifery so much anymore, tho I certainly don't discourage people from reading it. I do recommend Ina May's Guide, tho, along with Heart and Hands, Special Delivery, Active Birth and a host of others.
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#26 of 61 Old 08-02-2007, 06:29 PM
 
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I grew more disappointed with this book as I continued to read it, I still haven't finished it. It amazes me how the more the midwives became educated the more they intervened--and also some birth stories where they told the moms to stop whining/complaining, etc. She seemed very self-righteous in so much of the book (IMHO) and there was some good info, but generally I am sorry I spent the money on it from a UC standpoint. I don't need convincing as far as HB is concerned, maybe the book is better geared toward those who need that inspiration.
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#27 of 61 Old 08-02-2007, 06:42 PM
 
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Kissing DH helped me so much during labor, and I owe that to SM. But I much prefer Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, especially the part about keeping the sphincters open and the part about how mammals give birth in the wild.
When I was prego and anticipating my upcoming UC, I read an article in Midwifery Today by Ina May all about how terrible UC is. If you ever plan on UCing again DO NOT read it, she tries to scare readers away from it.
But I will always love Ina May for everything she's done for the natural childbirth movement.
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#28 of 61 Old 08-02-2007, 07:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryonyvaughn View Post
Hearts and Hands I checked out of the library with my first pregnancy preparing for a MW attended HB.
do you think i need Emergency Childbirth, if we get Hearts and Hands? the H&H must cover emergency procedures, right?

Quote:
Generally I think it's a really good book to sooth anxious dads. It reads like a well written owner's manual's trouble-shooting guide.
yeah, i think DH will love it!

Quote:
If I were only going to purchase one Henci Goer book, it would be her Obstetric Myths vs Research Realities. You have to keep in mind I spent lots of my undergraduate years immersed in scientific journals. I've heard other women complain it was to academic and not as "mom friendly".
thanks. it is the same basic info, right? when i was 40 weeks pregnant with DD, and my very "hands off" OB offered an induction and then declared me out of her standard of care after i refused, i rushed to buy Henci's book, the first one, but it wasn't in any bookstores in Toronto. i emailed her for help, and she emailed me relevant chapters, she was awesome. and yeah, i spent years reading scientific journals, so the language isn't a problem for me

thanks for the info!
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#29 of 61 Old 08-02-2007, 07:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just a heads up. Your thread is likely to get distracted.

As birthing women, we (general and specific to the UC forum), know that Ina May helped pave the path for a better birthing culture. As UCing women though, there seems to be very few of us who actually like her/her books.

Here is a good thread to read. It was specific in regards to Ina May and UC. That might be helpful to you in your decision (and you'll see what I mean by the thread gets distracted ).
oh, thanks for the link. i should've searched the forum first.

well--i feel better that i'm not the only one who disliked SM! i thought i was an abberhation of sorts, as everyone raves about it :

oh, but after reading all the posts, i realised that one thing did help me-- the tip about relaxing my mouth and hands. during the birth of DD in the hospital, i kept clutching the handrails of the bed. when in labour with DS, ironically, i was in a hospital bed, as i had a broken foot. though i was at home. and i made a point of not clutching the rails, of letting my hands hang, and it was very helpful.
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#30 of 61 Old 08-02-2007, 07:42 PM
 
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I liked her book and just about every other of its kind (from the really OLD ones to really new and UC ones) when it came to calming my fears about homebirth in general the first time around. Now that we are firmly entrenched in a UP/UC mindset, they all irritate me. isn't that awful!? I have no birth books anymore, I've given them all away. I kept wanting to find just the PERFECT book that said things how I saw them, then I realized, there isn't one because birth is so unique!


eta: I broke all her "rules" and still had a relatively fast (8 hours) labor and delivery. I was screaming help at the top of my lungs, clenching my teeth and grabbing my hubby's hands for dear life. Pushing was only 20 minutes with no tears and he was born in the caul. So... I'm not a big believer in "rules".
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