Hello and welcome to my blog! This blog is as much of an experiment for me as attempting a natural childbirth is. I'll be posting reviews on books I read, experiences I have while attempting to green our lives a bit more, and sometimes, general nonsense I come up with! Please feel free to comment and share information!

I look forward to hopefully making it through this experience with my own interesting story about giving birth naturally!


Calm Birth: A Book Review

As many of you know by now, if there is anyone out there who reads my blogs, I have been embarking on a mission to ready myself mentally and physically for natural childbirth. By "natural", I mean a no drugs, no medical intervention (unless necessary), vaginal birth. Eek!

Yeah yeah, plenty of women do it. That doesn't mean it is easy and anyone can do it!

I have been feeling very good lately about my decision to birth naturally though because of all the preparation I have been doing in the last several months. My workouts have been pushed to the side a bit lately, and I am not happy about that. But sometimes, life gets in the way! We are having our basement redone and by the time I get home, check out the days work, go over things with the worker, possibly go out and pick up things that need to be bought (paint, sink, vanity, medicine cabinet, etc.), there is no time for exercise. I went to the gym on Monday and hit the treadmill for the first time in over a week. It felt great... now my calves are killing me and I am walking around with permanent Charley horses. Sigh. The basement will be done by the end of the week and then life can resume its normal abnormalness

Luckily, nothing really gets in the way of reading since, I do that on my commute to and from work. So, even though I haven't been able to prepare much physically lately, I have still been able to continue my mental preparations. 

The most recent book I read is Calm Birth: New Method for Conscious Childbirth by Robert Newman.  

This book is hands down, one of the best I have read concerning a method for natural childbirth. As you know, I read and loved Your Best Birth, but that book was more about information than a method. 

I don't really think there is any best method out there, or one that is complete in and of itself and perfect for me. That is why I have read so many books. Calm Birth also is not perfect, but I have to say, it sounds pretty darn close to it.

I was a little leery of reading it to be honest. I have never been one to meditate. I love yoga, but for the exercise, not the spiritual aspects. In fact, if a yoga class or video gets into the chanting spiritual stuff, I stop going. From the title and description, I thought perhaps this book would be like a chanting, chakra based, touchy feely method of natural childbirth. And that is in there, but there is also technical and medical information about the benefits of meditation. Information on studies conducted by highly respected medical schools and institutes about meditation as a means of healing. In fact, there were pages and paragraphs that were so technical, I had to read them 2 or 3 times just to think I understood what they were talking about. 

But, it all made sense. Each bit of it. While the author did admit that he had heard of women who had given birth consciously, without drugs and painlessly, he did not say or even imply that his methods would provide a painless childbirth. What he did say, was that they would provide one with the tools to maintain the strength they needed to get past their fear of the pain, in order to embrace any pain as a tool to bringing your child into the world. And looked at that way, the pain doesn't seem so impossible to bear.  I like that they didn't make any promises, but really gave it to you straight.

The author included interviews with people who had successfully employed the Calm Birth techniques in childbirth. These interviews were great because they were from people who had practiced the methods at varying degrees. Some people started the methods only weeks before giving birth. Others were busy people, and admitted to only practicing a couple of times a week for a few months. Others, were gung ho and practiced several times a day every day. But in each case, they also told the reader how effective the methods were for them, what they were feeling, obstacles they faced, etc. This was more than just the author of a book saying, "try this and it will work."

One downfall is that the methods as they are provided in the book, are transcripts taken from a CD (Calm Birth:Empowering Preparation for Childbirth) which has to be purchased separately. You can read the transcripts and get an idea of how to practice the different meditation methods, but it is difficult to meditate when you need to glance down at a book to read the next step. Which means, you need to spend another $15-20 for the practice CD--if you really want to actually practice the methods. 

I will say this though, I have also read HypnoBirthing and Birthing from Within (reviews will be given later on these), and both also have CD's or classes which can be taken (the classes are incredibly expensive); but I bought the Calm Birth CD. It hasn't come in yet, I am eagerly awaiting it. I am excited to really try and learn these methods of meditation--which the author says can be used for things in life other than just pregnancy and childbirth. I have been very stressed out lately and by all resources, mediation is supposed to help with stress. So, it will be interesting for me to attempt to employ these methods in life and pregnancy... and hopefully childbirth as well. 

In the meantime, if you have been thinking about buying and reading Calm Birth, but have been leery because you are afraid it is too "mushy, touchy feely

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