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We read a lot of books about living mindfully in my family and I love hearing from others when they come across a book that they or their kids liked. We also use other media like movies, music, and spoken word to talk about and practice mindfulness. In this continuing series, I’ll be writing posts about the mindful media that my kids and I recommend. Feel free to share any you’ve come across in the comments and if it looks like it might be a nice complement to the one I’m reviewing, I’ll be happy to review it or add a link to it in my post.
I wish I had come across this book while I was pregnant, especially with my first. It was published in 2012, toward the end of my last pregnancy and I missed seeing it until after my twins were born.
The book is easily applied for first-time birthers as well as those with at least one birth under their belt. And while the focus is on vaginal birth, these practices can be used to help with caesarean and other interventions. The practice of mindfulness becomes a tool for the birthing family to make decisions from a calm perspective, as well as to remain centered during intense times or when things do not go as planned.
Because nothing will go as planned, of course. Birth, by definition, is a mindfulness practice because at some time, usually around transition, the mother can do nothing but be fully present in the moment. If she already has familiarity with the feeling, she will be much better off when the choice of being in the now is facing her fully in the face.
I like that both the pregnant mother and partner are included in the book. The practices are primarily for the mother and can be done by her alone. But, the book addresses the benefits of working together as a team, which will be vital during birth and as parents.
I showed some sections to my own partner who commented that he would have participated in them if it would have supported me during birth. Of course, he went to “Birthing from Within” classes with me and is pretty open to trying anything at least once, if it has the potential to aid our family.
Looking at this book from the other side of my birthing days, I appreciated the viewpoint of finding calm in moments of feeling out of control because mindfulness is a useful tool to keep sharp after the birth, during recovery, and adjustment to having a newborn. It’s a parenting asset to be able to breathe and center before responding to a crisis. The entire family reaps the benefits of a calm parent.
The book is structured in such a way that you could read only the sections that you needed, which is nice if you don’t want to go through the introductory information or have already experienced birth. I recommend reading the introduction by John Kabat-Zinn, a big name in the mindfulness world, and Chapter 1 before diving into specific chapters of choice.
It is an enjoyable read if you have the time to read the entire book. Much of it centers around the Mindfulness Childbirth Classes that the author teaches. And the stories of the families, how they experienced the exercises and their responses are how the author bookends the information and mindfulness practices.
There is information about birth interventions, plans, things that can go wrong, physical and emotional conditions, and life with a newborn, just as with any birthing book. I wouldn’t recommend that this be the only book for a first-time mother, but grab some accompanying Ina May Gaskin and Pam England books and you’re pretty well set for pregnancy and birth. Of course, if you’re ready for some mindful parenting reads while pregnant, check out John Kabat-Zinn and Thich Naht Hanh‘s books.
If you’re going to get the most out of this book, the meditation practices are necessary. I wish that a cd or download were included with the book, but I haven’t seen them sold as a set. The guided meditations are available on Mp3 download, CD and iTunes. I highly recommend these for cementing your practice. They could be especially useful during labor if they’ve already been used in an established practice during pregnancy. Many of them can be used before and after pregnancy and birth, much like the book. So, it’s not a pregnancy-only purchase, at least.
Overall, this book makes it into my top 10 list of the best mindful parenting books (which will be a forthcoming post.) It’s unusual for a pregnancy book and guided meditations to be useful post-pregnancy, and I’m not just talking about the immediate post-partum period. And while it barely addresses multiples, I definitely could have seen myself using this book and mp3’s during my singleton and multiples pregnancies-something I had trouble melding during my own experiences of having to read entirely separate books for singleton and multiple pregnancies.
Related Posts You May Like:
- All Mindful Media Reviews on TouchstoneZ (touchstonez.com)
Have you read any good books lately? I’d love to hear from you.
Disclosure: If I did this right, there are affiliate links in this post. You can read my full disclosure policy here.
Post for NaBloPoMo
(Since I’m writing most of these late at night, in bed, while tandem nursing twins, I’m choosing to concentrate on writing rather than proof-reading or editing. Please forgive the extra typos and non-nonsensical grammar. Thank you.)