May 23, 2016

The Sacred Gift of Childbirth

I recently learned of a new book that I want to share with all you young moms. Two of my sisters had babies about a month ago, and watching them go through the joys of that phase of life again got me thinking about all of my experiences as a new mother. 

So in light of becoming an aunt again, and missing the baby stage, I asked Marie to introduce herself and tell us a little bit about her new book. 

(Click on picture to find it on Amazon)


The Sacred Gift of Childbirth

Hi!  My name is Marie Bigelow.  I live in Boise, ID, with my awesome husband and cool kiddos.  I love being a mom, and I love helping other moms as they prepare for and give birth.  For almost 13 years, I’ve been helping women “stand” as they welcome their children into the world.  As a doula, childbirth educator, and mother, I have been able to witness and support the miracle of birth hundreds of times.  And each time I do I am reminded of one thing. 
God loves us. 
At the beginning of my career, I viewed birth the way most people do.  As a physical event that brings a baby out of a mother’s body.  But several years into my career I began learning about the physiological aspect of birth (what’s happening inside the mother’s brain while she gives birth), and it changed everything for me.  I learned that while a woman is laboring and giving birth, her brain undergoes dozens of chemical reactions that make her feel joyful, ecstatic, loving, nurturing, protective, and empathetic.  And when I learned that, I thought one thing:
God loves us.
It was clear to me that God had a hand in it all.  That He had designed every chemical reaction to help a woman transform into a mother as she gave birth.  It testified of His love for His daughters, as He created so many avenues to strengthen and magnify His daughters as they became mothers. 
I want all women to come to see the sacred nature of childbirth, and put God and faith back into this miraculous process.   That’s why I wrote my new book “The Sacred Gift of Childbirth: Making Empowered Choices for You and Your Baby”. 

I wanted a resource that helped my clients feel God’s love for them as they prepared for childbirth, but I also wanted a resource that addressed the unacceptable trends in American birth today.  Most of my clients are unaware that America’s maternal mortality rate is the highest in the industrialized world, and have little understanding that the medical interventions we think are making birth safer are actually making it more dangerous for mothers and for babies.  My book honestly discusses the benefits and risks of birthing interventions so women can make choices based in scientific data, as opposed to cultural norms and beliefs. 
Written from an LDS perspective, everything I write can be backed up with scripture, doctrine, or scientific data, so readers can feel confident in the information they are getting.  The book is broken up into 4 sections.

Section 1: God’s Plan for Birth.  This section describes the physical and physiological processes of birth, and teaches how birth fits into the plan of salvation.  Readers will learn to see God’s hand throughout the birthing process and understand how birth edifies and strengthens a woman.
Section 2: The Medicalization of a Miracle.  This section goes over common birth interventions, (epidurals, inductions and cesareans) and discusses the benefits and risks of each.  It includes the most up-to-date statistics on American birth and is filled with scientific information to educate and empower women as they learn about their options. 
Section 3:  Making Birth Decisions.  This section gives readers decision-making tools, so couples can prayerfully and scientifically understand which type of birth will be safest and most satisfying for their personal situation.  It covers everything from choosing a care provider to learning how to make quick decisions in the moment as labor progresses. 
Section 4: How Birth Affects the Family.  This section discusses emotional outcomes for women after giving birth, and discusses how postpartum depression can affect a woman psychologically and spiritually.  It then gives advice on how to prepare our daughters for childbirth.  It ends with a chapter written specifically for husbands to learn how to support their wives during pregnancy and birth.   
Not only is my book the most current resource on the scientific aspects of childbirth, but it’s the only scientific resource available that also include the spiritual aspect of birth.  It is the only resource that can prepare you physically, emotionally and spiritually for birth. 
And I know it’s exactly what women need to truly understand all the aspects of giving birth.
If you want to empower yourself spiritually, emotionally, and physically for your birth, you can purchase my book at Deseret Book, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.  You can also get signed copies through my personal website www.MarieBigelow.com.




Marie Bigelow is a certified birth doula, childbirth educator, music therapist and author.  She was recently awarded the prestigious Advanced Doula Designation for her contribution to the field of maternal and fetal health.  Marie is passionate about improving outcomes for women and babies, and strives to give her clients the highest quality of care and support available. To learn more about Marie, her book, and her birthing services, visit www.MarieBigelow.com.

4 comments:

Sue Donym said...

God does love us! In every dispensation, He has provided ways to protect the well-being of His children. Elder Russell M. Nelson spoke of the sanitation laws God gave to Moses: “Thus, our loving Heavenly Father had clearly revealed principles of clean technique in the handling of infected patients more than three thousand years ago! (https://www.lds.org/ensign/1992/11/where-is-wisdom?lang=eng). In Book of Mormon times, God provided natural remedies for the diseases of the day (Alma 46:40). In pioneer days, Brigham Young sent women to medical schools to become doctors. And in 1924, when most babies were born at home, sixth general Relief Society president Clarissa S. Williams established a maternity hospital. According to Daughters in Our Kingdom (page 69), she was “concerned about the high mortality rate of mothers and infants.” “By 1924 the Presiding Bishopric reported the lives of 500 children had been saved by the Relief Society’s efforts” (https://www.lds.org/callings/relief-society/relief-society-presidents/clarissa-smith-williams?lang=eng). Elder James E. Faust said, “The wonders of modern medicine have come from the Lord to enhance His work throughout the world” (https://www.lds.org/liahona/2000/01/of-seeds-and-soils?lang=eng). I believe that medical advancements in obstetrics are evidence of God’s love for us in these latter days.

“The medical interventions we think are making birth safer are actually making it more dangerous for mothers and for babies.” This is simply not true. US maternal mortality rates began dropping dramatically in the 1930s with the onset of modern obstetric practices. In the last two decades, data have shown a rise in maternal deaths, but the reasons are unclear (http://www.hrsa.gov/ourstories/mchb75th/mchb75maternalmortality.pdf). What is clear is that cardiovascular and other diseases, and not medical interventions, are the leading causes of maternal mortality (http://www.mchb.hrsa.gov/whusa12/hs/hsrmh/pages/mmm.html). And US neonatal mortality is among the lowest in the world, and dropping (http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.DYN.NMRT).

Providing bodies for Heavenly Father’s children is a sacred opportunity, but it is still “a basic biological and psychological, privileged function of womankind” (James E. Faust, https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1975/04/the-sanctity-of-life?lang=eng). Maternal hormones in labor are not required to transform a woman into a mother; in fact, giving birth is not required to transform a woman into a mother. God has blessed us with agency, by which we can make choices. Those conscious choices, not hormones, should guide our maternal behavior. The fleeting moments of childbirth need not determine how we will mother our children.

Marie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marie said...

Sue, you are right that medical advancements save lives, but only in high risk situations. My book is geared towards low risk women who do not need intervention. When intervention isn't needed, the science clearly shows that it damages outcomes. I stand by the research in my book and encourage you to read it. Everything I cite is from a reputable source (American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology, World Health Organization and so on) and has been fact checked by myself, other birthing professionals, medical professionals, and the editors at Cedar Fort. Yes, maternal deaths were atrocious during the industrial revolution, and we have drastically improved outcomes since then, but we have almost quintupled our maternal mortality rates since 1980. We are now heading in the wrong direction. It is crucial for mothers and their medical supporters to understand this.
When Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were the prophet, they set apart midwives and encouraged women to give birth without the aid of a doctor. During this time the spread of disease was not understood, and this helped many saints avoid death by avoiding exposure to peurpel fever. When science advanced, church leaders did urge church members to attend medical schools. And as you can see from the 1980’s stat I previously mentioned, good medical care did provide safe support for several decades.
The church continues to find ways to improve birthing outcomes and trains midwives and doctors all over the world in neonatal resuscitation and preventing post-birth hemorrhage. There are skills and advancements that improve outcomes and save lives, but many current advancements don’t improve birth, and actually harm it. Research clearly shows that advancements like inductions, epidurals, and cesareans damage outcomes in low-risk women. I encourage you to read my book so you can fully understand this.
As I point out in my book, cesareans contribute to the rise of maternal deaths but are not solely responsible for them. I also discuss how obesity and other diseases have contributed. But since my book focuses on childbirth, medical interventions are more fully discussed as they relate more to the topic. I also discuss how even though our neonatal deaths are quite lower, most industrialized countries have better rates than the US, and the US has the highest maternal mortality rate in the industrialized world.

For me, learning about the chemical process of childbirth testified of God's love for me and for all of His daughters. It shows how He fine-tuned childbirth to give women every advantage in their mothering. Sadly, there is a plethora of research showing that many women struggle to bond with their children if the physiological process of birth is disturbed. It's not fun to talk about or even believe in, but it is something extremely beneficial for women to understand. The hormones are not required, but they are extremely helpful and a gift given to us from a loving Heavenly Father.

Anna said...

nice

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