She Births: A Modern Woman’s Guidebook for An Ancient Rite of Passage, by Marcie Macari
Infinity Publishing, 2006
That out of the way, I will start right off by saying that the title of this book describes the content perfectly! Each chapter addresses some spiritual aspect of the process of birth, followed by a meditation, and then journal exercises that allow the reader to explore feelings and insights further. While the Feminine Divine is acknowledged, all interpretations of Spirit are honored as ‘Creative Source’ in the meditations.
The messages are clear. Babies come out. Women are strong. There is a purpose to the way women are designed to give birth, and it is more than just a physical design that works. Thus ‘Birth’-with a capital ‘B’ throughout-is not just a verb; it is a force with transformative possibility.
This empowered Birth is also seen as a gift to our babies. As the author explains, it allows our babies to be born “…onto this planet with dignity and a gentle transition…” that is “…a priceless gift to our yet unborn.” (Ch. 1, pp. 15) This chapter ends with guided journaling asking us to carefully consider the baby’s experience.
Chapter 5, ‘At the Feet of the Wise’ contains birth stories, which the author sees, and I agree, as vitally important in the way women currently perceive the mystery that is Birth. At first I was unsure about how I felt about the first and last selections. The first, because I thought if I were pregnant and reading this story I’d be scared out of my wits! ‘Unbearable’ and ‘agonizing’ are just a few of the descriptive terms. The final story is of a mother’s natural birth, and loss, of preemie triplets that made my heart ache. However, as I thought about it, I realized that while hard to read, the shadow side of birth is important. While I think women hear enough of horror stories about how difficult birth can be, sadly for too many women, it is. When birth is challenging, however, instead of suffering we can choose to use that as an opportunity for growth, and the author provides exercises for doing so.
What I loved about this book is that while these births took me aback at first, there is also the acknowledgment that while birth CAN be painful it doesn’t always have to be. Whether it is by a different interpretation of the sensation, or by controlling variables that can make birth painful, painless birth is also depicted. As a matter of fact, the second story is a wonderful HypnoBirthing!
Macari stresses personal responsibility, clearing the way for baby by forgiving and letting go of anger, and honoring of the sacredness of this process. In our culture, birth has come to be just a physical process for so many people; a way of getting baby from point A to point B. She Births helps the reader to understand that there are so many gifts available to women through birth that are lost when they choose to reduce this powerful rite of passage to such simple terms.