Book Review: The Sacred Gift of Childbirth
The Gift of Giving Life has a friend!
It can be lonely when you are the only LDS birth book on the block so it is nice when a new friend moves in right? We think so. It is wonderful that more voices are testifying to the sacred nature of the childbearing process. So when Marie-Ange Bigelow asked us to review her book we jumped at the opportunity.
If you have read our book, you may be wondering how The Sacred Gift of Childbirth: Making Empowered Choices for You and Your Baby is different or the same as The Gift of Giving Life: Rediscovering the Divine Nature of Pregnancy and Birth.
So first, what do we have in common?
Both books testify of the divinity of the childbearing process and desire to empower women and families with knowledge to make informed decisions regarding the birth of their children. Both utilize scriptures and quotes from apostles and prophets and current research. They each teach the importance of trusting God in the process and using personal study and revelation to guide decisions. And we both recognize what a “gift” childbirth is!
What is different about it?
The Sacred Gift of Childbirth (SGCB) is authored by one person whereas The Gift of Giving Life (TGOGL) is authored by five mothers in addition to dozens of voices highlighted in different birth stories and essays.
The Sacred Gift of Childbirth is shorter, 167 pages to TGOGL’s 544 pages. This may be less intimidating to refer to someone than a book that is over 500 pages. (But the variety of stories and essays do make TGOGL very readable. 😉
Charts & Worksheets
In The Sacred Gift of Childbirth, most of the chapters are followed by questions to ponder about the material presented. In addition, helpful charts are included to weigh the pros and cons and benefits and risks of common choices a couple may be faced with. There is even a “Birth Preferences Quiz” included that can help a woman decide what kind of birth she desires.
Research & Statistics
Both books have up to date research and information regarding choices in childbirth. The statistics included in SGCB are more recent and in more abundance than TGOGL. TGOGL was not necessarily centered around providing recent research but around re-establishing the divine nature of pregnancy and birth. For this reason TGOGL includes a larger variety of birth stories, quotes and scriptures. The way I would describe SGCB is that it is more research centered than TGOGL is. That makes it a nice companion to TGOGL. It’s a little more of how to navigate the conflicting information a woman might hear about childbirth. It’s like having a quick reference guide packed with helpful research, charts, and worksheets but from an LDS perspective.
Some of my favorite quotes from the book:
“Couples simply cannot make wise birth choices without understanding the physical, physiological, and spiritual aspects of birth” (4).
“There is no other time than procreation when a couple can come so close to being Godlike.” (96)
“When we partner with our Heavenly Father and put our faith in Him, we don’t have to wonder if things could have gone differently” (101).
My favorite part of the book is the discussion of how marriage can be strengthened through the physiological process of birth put in place by God and manifested in the release of certain hormones throughout the process. This not only takes place for the mother but for the father as well, “A father’s oxytocin levels will rise during the birth of his child, which will innately encourage him to bond with his child. Through bonding, a hormone called vasopressin will also be produced. Vasopressin helps a male feel dedicated to his spouse and child and brings out a man’s protective role. While the more well-known hormone of testosterone contributes to a male’s libido, vasopressin tempers a man’s sex drive and encourages monogamy” (111).
A few more thoughts:
This book does have a strong message about natural childbirth and its benefits. This may not be the goal of every woman reading this book or possible for every woman but the author explains, “When we partner with our Heavenly Father and put our faith in Him, we don’t have to wonder if things could have gone differently. . . When you plan for a natural birth, do everything you can to accomplish that goal, and make your decisions with the Lord; you can be assured that you will always end up with the best-case scenario for your particular birth. Most of the time, things will progress smoothly and go well. If they don’t, you will know that you did everything you could” (101).
The Sacred Gift of Childbirth will increase your faith in God’s love for us and His ability to magnify us through the process of establishing our families. It will arm you with the spiritual and scientific power to make the right decisions for your family regarding childbirth.
So if you are wondering where you can buy this book, it can be found on Amazon. The hardcopy retails for $12.99 while the kindle version is $5.99. Happy reading!