The Gift of Giving Life – A Mother’s Day Gift

This book review is a stop on the Virtual Book Tour for The Gift of Giving Life. I was provided a copy of the book for my review. All opinions are my own.

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Never have I felt more like a mother than I did on Mother’s Day three years ago, having just welcomed my fourth child into the world a week or so earlier. I felt a little like I’m sure Mary (the mother of Christ) did when the scriptures tell us that she kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. I had just had a beautiful birthing experience (Yes! It is possible!) where I learned so much about faith and myself, but didn’t feel like I could or should share too much with others–birth, often being such a controversial topic, especially on the internet.

I did write and publish the following on this blog:

I can’t think of another Mother’s Day where I have felt more like a mother, than I do today. The memories of a beautiful delivery where the divinity of the role of motherhood was impressed upon me, are replaying in my mind. The fresh pain lingers as my body tries to adjust to having the baby outside of me, meeting his needs for nourishment and love, while trying to put itself back together. It reminds me of the awesome sacrifices mothers willingly perform for their children–not just in childbirth, but every day in caring for them. In the more painful moments, I wonder why I and so many millions of women are willing to go through some of these things. But then, I remember that we love best those whom we serve, and these sacrifices bind us to our children. 

I hope you will forgive a more serious post today. I don’t have great Mother’s Day brunch ideas or last minute gift ideas to share with you today, but I do hope to share with you my firm belief that all of us who have accepted this call as mothers are doing a marvelous, divine, and difficult work. I hope whatever your circumstance, you feel that today and can celebrate the precious and sometimes painful privilege it is to be a mother.
 
Thank you to my own mother and mother-in-law for all they have sacrificed for us! And Happy Mother’s Day to all wonderful women, everywhere!
At this moment, my dear youngest sister is in labor with her fourth baby, and within the last couple of weeks I have gotten a new nephew and a new niece. Each of these births have and will play out differently. Different locations and birthing techniques–including my brother-in-law getting to put his medical school skills to use in catching the baby, when the doctor didn’t arrive quickly enough. But each shares that common thread that we as humans are partnering with God to bring life into this world.
I was excited to get my hands on The Gift of Giving Life book.  It is a collection of dozens of essays about childbirth and related issues that all point to the divinity involved in this work of bringing forth children. I gave it as a Christmas present to my sister who is currently in labor. She shared it with my other sister who just had a baby. They both found essays that were meaningful to them in their situations. I recently got a copy of my own, and while I haven’t been able to read through all of the essays yet, I have been enlightened by what I have read. My midwife–though of a different religion than mine–firmly believes that birth is sacred experience and worked to allow it to be that for me. I don’t feel like that idea is very well represented in the world today. Births are comical or dreadful or terrifying but rarely sacred. How refreshing to find a book that recognizes, celebrates, and promotes the idea that birth–in all it’s forms–is, or can be, a beautiful, transforming, sacred experience!
The book is written by and for the audience of Latter-Day Saint (Mormon) women, but I think any woman who sees divinity in birth, would appreciate the essays from like-minded women. The editors of the book are self-proclaimed “birth junkies,” and as such, definitely have a slant toward natural childbirth. That being said, the purpose of this book is not to promote any particular method of giving birth and they made certain to include a variety of birth experiences in the book ranging from home births, birthing centers, hospital births, epidurals, and even a chapter devoted to making a Caesarean section delivery a sacred experience.
Lest you think book only represents the Pollyanna version of birthing, I must say that this is not a just glossy feel-good book that skims the surface of birth issues. The essays tackle difficult topics such as abortion, abandonment, adoption, depression, loss, traumatic birth and more with honesty, but also with hope.
The authors made a great decision to allow each woman to share her own story in her own voice. This accomplishes several things. It provides perspective that no one author could ever give. Also, it give each essay the authenticity you want to find when talking about important topics. Rather than relying on case studies and statistics, it is just women sharing their souls with each other. It allows readers the opportunity to find someone who they can relate to and who may really know what they are going through, since so many different experiences are represented. And what I love the most is that it shows how–although every birth of every baby is a completely unique experience–there is divinity in every experience if we are prepared to see it.
I highly recommend this book as a gift for child-bearing women this Mother’s Day! My two big take-aways so far? 1) I’ve been a part of an incredible work in bearing my own children. 2) I really need to write down my last birthing experience–even if it is just for me or for my daughters to read someday. Oh, and one more: Women really can and should draw strength from each other through our child-bearing experiences, rather than criticizing or comparing each others’ choices. Women need women to feel understood and supported in a way that men aren’t capable of understanding. I’m grateful to the women who shared their stories so openly for our benefit!
To find out more about The Gift of Giving Life, visit the Virtual Book Tour Page!
You can earn 3 Free Bonus Gifts when you buy a copy of The Gift of Giving Life by May 15th.  And enter to win $15 Amazon Gift Card! Just visit The Gift of Giving Life to find out the details!

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Comments

  1. Oh, I must remember to look for this book when either of my daughters gives birth. Thank you for the wonderful post, and have a blessed Mother’s Day!

  2. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts on the book!

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