9.20.2010

LABYRINTH OF BIRTH

I have just finished reading this amazing book and would like to offer it to one lucky reader.

Labyrinth of Birth, by Pam England, is a delightful read that I recommend to any woman: mother, doula, or midwife.

She explains how labyrinths are a part of human culture - noted throughout every civilization.
One of the oldest universal symbols found the world over, the labyrinth has been discovered on cave walls, on pottery, in weavings, and in centuries-old European churches.

The labyrinth is a sacred symbol of Life. It represents the roller coaster drama in our lives, our neurotic decision-making process, and the body itself. Our brain, intestines, and circulatory system, and even the first journey we make from our father to our mother, and from the center of our mother's body into the world are labyrinthine.
Labor already has many modern maps, including the dilation chart and Friedman's curve, to name just two. They are both concrete, impersonal, and medical. They are made of hard lines and measurements - reducing labor to a periodic journey to be measured and meted for clarity, instruction, management, and guidance.

Unlike a map, though, a labyrinth, doesn't chart anything, makes nothing concrete, and puts no expectations on the woman. There is one way in and one way out, but no expectations.
Mothers experience labor as a labyrinth, a LabOrinth.  “Ready” or not, with the first contraction, or when the water breaks, a mother is catapulted across an invisible, but felt, threshold. Once in the LabOrinth, she will find herself taking one step at a time until she reaches the Center. The Center represents the birth of the child, the birth of the mother and father, the birth of the family.

A mother could be blindfolded and still reach the Center by feeling her way through the path. She doesn't need to study the path before she enters it. She doesn't need a birth plan or a cell phone to call for help! There is no time-line.

Unlike in a maze, you cannot get lost in a labyrinth. You can get lost in a maze, which has more than one entrance or exit; there are choices to make and dead-ends. You have to plan, remember, and think to avoid getting lost (not unlike the medical model of birth).
Reading this workbook, I was given great ideas and tools for helping the moms that I work with to create their own Laborinth, and a creative outlet for myself in my everyday journey. 

To enter this giveaway, please comment below on how you believe labor and birth, or parenthood, is like a labyrinth. Please note, I can only ship to the continental U.S. for this giveaway, my apologies for all of my Canadian and Australian (and other) readers out there!

You can create additional entries by creating separate, additional comments and completing any of the following:
Good luck to everyone! Entries will be closed on  October 8th, at 11:00pm, and I will use an online randomizer to draw a name that weekend.

24 comments:

Mama V said...

I love this imagery! And such an apt metaphor for so many parts of our lives...

It reminds me that, both in labor and in life, despite our doubts about where we're going, we must keep moving forward anyway. Ironically, the closer we feel we're getting to the end, the farther we are from it as the path makes surprising turns towards the way we came. Then we learn that backtracking is a necessary part of the journey. And just when we think we've "arrived," we haven't...

I look forward to reading England's book someday!

Desiree said...

I think each journey in a life is like a labyrinth. There are multiple decisions that can be made which lead us in so many different directions.

I'm 16 weeks and would love to read another birth book! :)

Brittany said...

I "became" a follower!

Brittany said...

I "like"d Birthing From Within on Facebook

Brittany said...

I "like"d Inspiring Birth Stories on FB

TopHat said...

Every birth is so different and has its own path, as does every mother and baby. Both of my births were planned unassisted births, but the experiences vary so much: one was 44 hours, one was 6!

TopHat said...

I liked Birthing From Within on FB!

Michelle @ Knitted Together said...

Follower here on blog, Follower of Birthing From Within, Follower of Inspiring Birth Stories

For me it is the fact that we are experiencing the same thing that so many women who came before us experienced. And having daughters, I think about the day when they will experience it as well. Coming from my womb to later bring forth a child from their womb. Beautiful!

DelightfulBirth said...

I believe each woman's journey through labor and birth is like a labryinth in that each will find their *own way* thru it. There is no "right" or "wrong," as each woman's labryinth is unique. She may encounter places in her labryinth where she needs to rethink her choices, make big or little adjustments, or maybe change her path altogether. But she will get there and she can do it!

Meg said...

I love Pam England, and I can imagine that this is a fabulous book. I like the imagery of the labyrinth because you can't lose or fail. One way or another you'll get out of the labyrinth, but you can't fail at it. So many moms, especially natural birth desiring moms, fear failure. I try to tell them that failure is impossible.

TheBroad said...

Well, never having birthed before, I'm not entirely sure...

I guess I never realized the difference between a labyrinth and a maze. After all, in the movie Labyrinth, they're in a maze. :) Here though, no matter how many twists and turns and no matter how far away it seems, you do get to the end! I'm currently ttc, and would love to read this!

TheBroad said...

I am a follower of your blog, but am currently in China so I can't get on FB to like the others. I'll be home in a few months though, so if I win you can ship to my mom :)

Pam28G said...

I became a follower! Like birth a labyrinth is designed to work.

Leah S said...

I'm a follower.

My homebirth was certainly about following my own path. Nobody told me how or when to push.

I'm taking the same attitude towards parenthood, but receive a LOT of flak from my in-laws. They have a straight and narrow path, and you better follow it or else! Flak for no ultrasounds or not finding out the gender, for the homebirth, for not routinely taking the baby to the doctor... he's fine, why take a healthy baby to a place for the sick? For not having shots done, cloth diapering, breastfeeding and on and on it goes.

I just wished they'd see that we have to do and learn things our own way. They may have over 30 years of parenting experiences, but that has no bearing on us.

Selina said...

i'had never thought about birth being a labyrinth. i'd really love to read this book!! now probably birth is like a labyrinth in that every woman will face obstacles on her birthing journey and has to make a lot of decisions as to which road to take, and there is always an issue with a great reward!

Selina said...

i'm a follower of your blog!

Selina said...

and i liked Inspiring Birth Stories on facebook...

Charis said...

I follow you in my reader!

Charis said...

I like Inspiring Birth Stories on FB.

Charis said...

I like birthing from within on FB.

I'll be checking this book out either way. I love the imagery.

Deb Flashenberg said...

Thank you for letting your readers know about Pam England's new book! I loved Birthing From Within and look forward to reading her newest work!

Kelli said...

Labyrinth is a great piece of imagery for birth and parenthood. There are so many paths to search through and ultimately, which path is right for you will be discovered. Sometimes there are backtracks. Sometimes the path we thought was it, ended up being the wrong way. But the right way doesn't allude us. When we break through all the book stuff, and get to what we believe in our gut. The right way most often becomes clear. And either way, we are going to give birth and we are going to be parents. There isn't an out other than doing it.

Kelli said...

I already liked Birthing From Within and I liked Inspiring Birth Stories. :)

Becky said...

What a nice metaphor. I like how you might have to turn around the way you came for a while, but you'll always end up in the right spot.

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