I've read more than a few books about pregnancy, birth, and the rest of the journey. But this one, my friends, is my favorite.
I was introduced to this beautiful book by a dear friend when I was struggling with infertility before conceiving my twins. She shared a few essays about patience during infertility with me, and I was touched by them, but didn't read any of the rest of the book.
Then, years later, when I was pregnant with my son, I rediscovered this book and read it cover-to-cover. Reading it was one of the critical parts of my preparations for his birth--an unmedicated VBAC--and the beginning of the path that lead me to becoming a doula. The book is a compilations of essays and birth stories about pregnancy and birth, written by birth workers and many other child-bearing women. The common thread among the authors is that they are all members of my faith (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). The unique perspectives offered by the authors invited me to reconsider stereotypes and paradigms about pregnancy and birth that I'd inadvertently and unknowingly observed and absorbed. The writings brought to light some beautiful truths that had been hiding in shadows for me and gave words to powerful beliefs that have become personal pillars. It sparked in me the desire to invite other women on this journey. In short, reading these stories and thoughts changed my life.
The Gift of Giving Life is divided into topical sections, including patience, preparation, fear, and many others. Among my favorites is the opening section, "Our Legacy," which begins with an essay titled, "We Are Each Eve," and continues with the faith/birth/motherhood journeys of many women who have faithfully and wisely chosen to bear and mother their children, following in the footsteps of Mother Eve and Mother in Heaven. From this potent beginning, the book carries the reader through women's thoughts and experiences about the importance of giving life, personal revelation, the spirit-mind-body connection, the atonement, and others. The book ends with a section on the fourth trimester, or the newborn/postpartum phase, inviting new mothers to go forward with a sense of divine purpose as they continue on the path of motherhood.
I feel it's not possible to do justice to the beauty and power of this book. So I encourage you to read it for yourself! If you're looking for a copy, I have one you can borrow. :)