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.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.
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.
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.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.
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).
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!
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