Why a new Birthing From Within book?

With the impending birth announcement of Birthing From Within's newest book, "Ancient Map for Modern Birth," some are asking, "Why a new book? What's the difference between the original classic and this one?"

Ancient Map for Modern BirthBirthing From Within bookPam England addresses this question (and much more) in the book's Introduction. Here is an excerpt:

"My first book, "Birthing From Within," has been more popular than I ever dreamed it would be when it was self-published in 1998. Many people have said, “Why are you writing a new book? We love the old book!” adding, “Don’t change it too much.” There is a part of us that likes to cling to favorite places, customs, and books associated with warm feelings. And yet, change is inevitable and necessary for the healthy evolution of ideas and of humanity.

In the last sixteen years, a lot has changed in our fast-paced world, including the expectations and knowledge of birthing couples, the culture and practice of obstetrics and midwifery... "Ancient Map for Modern Birth" aims to shed light on important blind spots in childbirth education that were not addressed in "Birthing From Within," including inductions, ultrasound, vaginal birth after cesarean, postpartum ceremonies, birth stories, and more. This book also introduces many new processes inspired by our unwavering commitment to balancing evidence-based information with myth, art, and personal awareness in childbirth preparation. In addition, you will experience the power of great stories that teach and inspire in a way nothing else can, and you will discover the Archetypes of Birth and how they live within you.

This model is grounded, comprehensive, and relevant to all. Hopefully this book will also dispel two misconceptions about the Birthing From Within model that came from the first book: that it is a crunchy granola approach that focuses on birth art (to the exclusion of practical information) and is only useful only to mothers planning natural births.

Eager to share the birth art process (which was still a novelty at the time), I dedicated an entire section in "Birthing From Within" to the idea. This emphasis gave some the impression that our classes focused on making drawings and sculptures at the expense of sharing information. While the birth art process is still an integral part of preparing mothers emotionally, in "Ancient Map for Modern Birth," only a few birth art assignments are included, and they are sprinkled throughout the book. In the past decade I began painting my own birth art and mandalas; a few of my paintings are in this book for you to enjoy.

The second misconception: While being interviewed for an article, the journalist was repeatedly about Birthing From Within’s “natural birth classes.” (Parents often ask about this, too.) Much to the journalist’s surprise and disappointment, I explained that we don’t teach natural birth classes: we teach birth classes. There are many ways to give birth, and the “natural” way is just one of them. Because there is no crystal ball to know who will get which labor, today’s women and men need to be emotionally and mentally prepared to participate in a range of birth experiences, from spontaneous to medically managed...

One more change, perhaps the most significant and welcome, is that I am no longer alone in working, experimenting with, or developing this new paradigm. The Birthing From Within approach, first developed in my small childbirth classes in Albuquerque, has now been carried forward by childbirth mentors, doulas, and mothers around the world.

Since 2006, I have been privileged to work with Virginia Bobro. Virginia lives in Santa Barbara and is the co-owner and Managing Director of Birthing From Within, LLC, as well as a dynamic facilitator inspiring birth professionals from around the world to take up this unique approach. As a result of Virginia’s dedication, Birthing From Within has grown into an international practice with a presence in 18 countries.

A growing number of dynamic, intelligent, and visionary women and men, who share a commitment to personal and professional growth, are engaged in a continuous and authentic dialogue. The Birthing From Within community has taken us on a journey of the heart we never imagined. We warmly invite you to read this book and get involved."

Pam England and Virginia Bobro, co-authors of Ancient Map for Modern Birth

Virginia Bobro & Pam England

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