Zora Neale Hurston has a story in Their Eyes Were Watching God about how humans came to earth. She says we used to be “stuff that sung all the time and glittered all over” but then got covered in mud and became human. She said everybody’s still got that little spark inside from way back when. I read this depiction of birth twelve years ago and it found its way into my heart and pops into my memory often. It’s one of the most amazing things in life to see a newborn baby and wonder how this little soul came to be. I’ve been thinking about birth lately because there have been a lot of new beings in my family this year. I just attended a baptism of one on Sunday and then Monday I participated in a Blessing Way for another. It is most exciting when it’s near and dear to your heart. Whether I think of it mystically or learn about it scientifically, it always seems to remain magical and one of the great mysteries of life.
Because this is such a broad subject, I will just share with you some literature I have found beneficial about different aspects of womanhood, motherhood, birth & birthing:
The Seven Daughters of Eve~This is a fascinating account written by a Evolutionary Genetics Scientist on his work tracing European human genes back to seven strains of DNA. The author Bryan Sykes makes this story not only understandable, but also funny & entertaining.
Women who Run with the Wolves: myths and stories of the wild woman archetype~Clarissa Pinkola Estes has stumbled upon this profound piece of the puzzle. As a woman, this can lead you to a most intriguing internal journey of your unconscious mind.
Taking charge of your fertility: the definitive guide to to natural birth control, pregnancy achievement & reproductive health by Toni Weschler~This book was recommended to me and I ended up buying my own copy because it is awesome! It details the Fertility Awareness natural birth control method, similar to Natural Family Planning. I wish that I could have read this book as a teenager and I would recommend it to every woman. It is a wealth of simplified information on how your body works.
Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom by Dr. Christiane Northrup~This is just as the name implies, a mix of biological and psychological (holistic) information for our health as women. I particularly love the section on birthing as it reinforces the idea of birth as empowering to women.
The complete adoption & fertility guide by Brette McWhorter Sember~This is a great read for beginners to the adoption process. It covers all the bases. I would also recommend Adoption: A legal guide for birth and adoptive parents by Kelly Allen Sifferman.
Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method by Marie Mongan, M. Ed., M. Hy.~This is a peaceful birthing technique. I attended a class with my expecting sister and found it very interesting and surprising. It is a process of self-hypnosis that really is beneficial for everyone, but mothers have chosen to use this relaxation technique to birth their children virtually pain-free (read it to believe it).
The Nursing Mother’s Companion by Kathleen Huggins, R.N., M.S.~This is a great reference. There is an interesting section on adoptive nursing as well.
p.s. We also just got in a bunch of new birthing/pregnancy books that I haven’t had a chance to read but if you’re interested, check the new nonfiction shelf.
Jesse Lee Harmon is the bookkeeper/library assistant at the Oliver Wolcott Library and is currently humming “Everything’s Alright” from Jesus Christ Superstar :o)