Trust Birth?

“Trust Birth" and "Trust Your Body" are common cliches, often tossed around casually in many childbirth circles, and also sometimes hotly debated, especially among those who have had or have witnessed difficult births. But what does it really mean to trust? And how might trust be helpful or unhelpful for pregnant people in their preparations for birth and parenting? Using excerpts from Pam England's new book, Ancient Map for Modern Birth, let's think a bit more deeply about the role of trust in childbirth preparation.

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What about Cesareans?

Many pregnant women know and accept that a cesarean may become necessary and do not resist learning more about it or considering the possibility, even if they don’t want to have one. Other women actively avoid thinking about cesareans out of a misguided attempt to prevent a cesarean from happening. Their birth support team may even reinforce this risky approach. Unfortunately, neither wishful thinking nor a strategy of avoidance prevents cesarean surgery—nor any other unwished-for outcome. They do, however, increase the chances that the woman will be unprepared if a cesarean actually happens.

An excerpt from Pam England's latest book, "Ancient Map for Modern Birth." To read more (and see the full list of citations), buy your copy here. And for a limited time, get her Labyrinth of Birth book for free.

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Pre-order your copy of "Ancient Map for Modern Birth" and get other fab perks!

Our IndieGogo crowd-funding campaign is now "live."

Make your contribution here:

This is your first opportunity to pre-order our new book, "Ancient Map for Modern Birth." There are also other fun and one-of-a-kind perks available to our supporters, including original art by Pam England. 

1. About the Book

Ancient Map for Modern BirthWhen Birthing From Within was published 18 years ago, it was hailed as a “landmark in the history of childbirth.” Since that time, Birthing From Within has been a leader in changing the conversation about birth. Some of the ideas Pam England presented that were seen as radical and controversial are now not only accepted and embraced, and have even gone mainstream. Now Pam England and Virginia Bobro are ready to turn the childbirth preparation on its head—again!—with a book that presents our cohesive and evolved vision and model that has been developed and refined over many years of teaching, reflecting, and supporting thousands of parents and birth professionals around the world. This is the Ancient Map for Modern Birth.

Pam has been working on this book with Virginia for nearly five years: the writing is done, all the illustrations are complete (take a peek at a few of them in the gallery), and the final proofreading and book design are underway. Publication date is just around the corner: February 2016. Become a backer of this campaign and you will be first in line to get your hands on this book! You can help make this happen, and we need and value your support!

Already, the Birthing From Within message has reached hundreds of thousands of families and professionals. Our trainings are in demand around the world, and BFW childbirth classes are offered in 20 countries around the world. There is demonstrated interest our approach to the childbirth preparation and healing. This book is eagerly awaited by those who are already a part of Birthing From Within.

Every pregnant woman and birth professional will benefit from the compelling blend of current research intertwined with processes and stories that support a woman’s determination, self-respect, and readiness to deal with any type of birth, in any setting (from home to operating room). Our map, inspired by ancient teachings, offer the modern woman a step-by-step guide to understanding her emotional, physical, and psychological journey through the childbearing year. Readers will enjoy in-depth exploration of the story of Inanna, the Laborinth™, as well as practical information, art, rituals and ceremonies, mindfulness practices, and meditations that together provide a rich and stimulating pathway for women to discover personal and collective meaning during the profound rite of passage that is birth. Take a peek at the Table of Contents here.

2. Why the book is self-published 

Did you know that Birthing From Within was self-published and is still one of the most successful and beloved childbirth books ever? Despite competing bids from several publishing houses, we decided to self-publish this new book. 

Here’s why: Ancient Map for Modern Birth is not like any other childbirth book out there. Self-publishing ensures creative control and a collaborative process between authors, artist, and designer. The complex and elegant interior design, including over 140 illustrations, is considerable and requires attention to detail by a skilled designer who really embraces our vision. We are so pleased with the look and feel of this book; what a joy it is to see it come to life in the way we envisioned.

3. Reviews

"This book reaches far beyond the typical pregnancy and childbirth book. It guides us to find that place inside every human being which connects us to an ancient way of knowing and way of being. When we are connected to that, we cannot get lost. The excitement I felt when reading this book was like embarking on a major journey.  Each chapter was filled with unexpected delights: a story, a remarkable illustration, a new practice. It was like finding a new favorite spot, which I hated to leave, but then getting to discover yet another one. The insights in this book teach us so much more than how to birth.  They teach us how to be.  If you are a parent, want to be a parent, know a parent, have a parent, then read this book to find your inner map for how to prepare for birth, how to be with birth, how to talk with people about birth, how to simply BE." --Carrie Kenner, Doula Trainer, Seattle, WA

"Pam England's wisdom helps women find their inner warrior, their empowering voice, their ability to trust their gut."  --Colleen Goidel, Doula & Mentor, Atlanta, GA

"This book really shows the greater vision of Birthing From Within, which is about awakening the spirit. As I read it, I am given a new lens, a new map, for guiding parents, and also for looking at my own births. This has been so healing on many levels. Thank you!"  --Michelle Beaulieu, Doula and Mentor, Sand Lake, NY

"Ancient Map for Modern Birth goes deeply into preparations for two rites of passage: childbirth and parenting. This book covers even more topics of interest to modern mothers and fathers (than Birthing From Within) and emphasizes the importance of staying flexible and open to the unknown possibilities and surprises that are a part of pregnancy, childbirth and parenting." --Rosanna Davis, CPM, Palo Alto, CA

4. Why your contribution matters

Ancient Map for Modern Birth is more than just another book on birth—it presents a fresh new paradigm for childbirth preparation. When you become a backer, you are a key to bringing our project into the hands of pregnant women and birth professionals as quickly as possible.

Supporters at every level not only helps raise funds for a timely production and printing of this unique and beautiful book, but also provide peace of mind to the authors so they can focus on bringing their message to the world.

When you back our campaign, you are taking an active part in changing how women see themselves, and how they are seen by others, during pregnancy and birth. An investment in this book is an investment in women—which is so important in today’s political climate.

Help us change the conversation about birth in our culture!

5. Pre-order your copy of Ancient Map for Modern Birth

$23 gets you a copy of Ancient Map for Modern Birthhot off the presses. Our backers will be the first to get their hands on the new book!

$30 gets you a signed copy of Ancient Map for Modern Birth, as soon as they are available!

ALL Ancient Map book perks include: audio downloads of Pam telling the story ofInanna’s Descent into Laborland, leading a visualization, and teaching you pain-coping and mindfulness practices.

6. More perks!

We can’t produce this book without your support, so to show our gratitude for your contribution, we’re offering a variety of perks, including original artwork by Pam England. Check out the 20 levels of financial support, choose one, click—and the perk will be yours! Some are available in limited quantities (first-come, first-serve), so hurry! (Please check the estimated date of delivery of your perk).

7. Other ways you can help

Every contribution, whether $10 or $5000, helps us reach our goal in 30 days. So, too, does getting the word out about our project! Word-of-mouth and your excitement helps multiply the value of your support.

  • Please tell a friend, or 25 friends, or even a 100 friends, acquaintances and co-workers, clients, about Ancient Map for Modern Birth!
  • Get the word out by phone, email, and talking it up.
  • Post a message on your Facebook page.
  • Even better, post a link to the campaign video.
  • Tweet a link to our IndieGoGo page.
  • Share the perk pictures on Instagram!
  • Visit our website and blog to see all the other wonderful things we offer.

*Some people are not yet familiar with the power of crowd-funding. Explain how it works and motivate someone to check out our Ancient Map for Modern Birth campaign.

8. Where will funds go?

With the writing, editing, illustrations, and cover design complete, some of the money raised will go to pay bills already incurred (so we know exactly how much we need: these amounts won’t increase). The rest is designated for finishing the design, printing, shipping, and marketing expenses. Here’s how the $30,000 breaks down:

  • Editing: $4000
  • Cover design: $1500
  • Digital scanning and preparation of illustrations: $2500
  • Interior book design, layout, and finishing touches: $5000
  • Marketing (incl. IndieGogo fees): $7,000
  • Printing: $10,000

Our initial goal of $30,000 will cover the investment we have already made in bringing this book--our vision--to the public. We are looking forward to launching stretch goals for the e-book, translated editions, and other exciting related projects.  This is just the beginning—join the wave!

Thank you so much for your support! 

~Virginia Bobro & Pam England


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

Sneak peek at our new book's Table of Contents

Ancient Map for Modern BirthBirthing From Within's new book, by Pam England with Virginia Bobro, is titled, "Ancient Map for Modern Birth." The book is WRITTEN; Yes, that part is done! 

We are excited to launch an IndieGogo crowd-funding campaign in the next week, in order to get the book designed, printed, and shipped. So stay tuned for that fun--there will be tons of great perks and opportunities to pre-order the book. Our early supporters will get books hot-off-the-presses right around the New Year. It will be available for sale by February. 

Keep reading for a Sneak Preview of the contents of the book! We hope you are as eager as we are to get this book in your hands!

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Worry is the Work of Pregnancy

by Pam England and Virginia Bobro

Many new mothers are surprised that they didn’t feel prepared for birth; they express deep regret that they didn’t acknowledge or listen to inner doubt or fear during pregnancy, instead brushing it away with positivity, denial, or obsessive information-gathering. Yet worry is part and parcel of experiencing a Rite of Passage; facing the unknown naturally elicits a bit of fear. Worry is a kind of curiosity: wondering about what might happen and how you can respond. Use your imagination and creativity to awaken hidden sources of courage and power within you; worry can help you to become stronger. 

A Birth Warrior worries effectively: Acknowledge that the thing you worry about (perhaps secretly) could happen. Then imagine: if it did happen, what is one small thing you could do to help yourself get through it? In the long run, doing that one small thing may serve you better than doing nothing, hoping it won’t happen, or expecting someone else will save you or fix it.

Excerpted from their new book, Birthing From Within: Ancient Map for Modern Birth, coming in 2015.

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Radical, Compassionate Childbirth Preparation

We propose something radical, beyond affirmations, pretty pictures, and obstetrical facts. SeeingBirth as a Warrior's Journey means that we aren't so concerned with achieving a "natural" or "vaginal" birth, or, vaguely, "empowering women." (What does that mean, anyway?) Our focus is on preparing the Birth Warrior inside each woman--so that she is ready to do whatever it takes in each moment. Sometimes, that will mean digging deep for the strength to keep going or to surrender to a power beyond her understanding. Sometimes it will mean doing "the next best thing" and having a cesarean birth, though she tried with every ounce of her being to avoid it. Sometimes it will mean looking "weak," moaning, crying, being confused or vulnerable. Sometimes it will mean making peace with not being able to speak up for herself, or not doing whatever it was she hoped she could do or say. Sometimes it will mean that the wise and compassionate action is getting an epidural.

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