Birthing From Within® was conceived and developed by Pam England, MA, CNM, a home birth midwife and mother who, inspired by her own birth experiences, developed this innovative, holistic approach to childbirth and postpartum preparation.
When Pam became pregnant the first time (1982), she believed that her plan to birth at home was ensured because of her dedication to excellent prenatal nutrition, yoga, baking her own bread, wearing Birkenstock sandals, and putting her fingers in her ears when anyone spoke about cesarean sections. However, after a long labor at home, and after trying every possible alternative known to midwifery to shake her baby down and out, she was transferred to the hospital for the cesarean birth she most feared. While lying on the operating table and being draped for surgery, she mused over the irony that although she knew more about birth than any of the women in her family, living or dead, she was the first woman in her family to have a cesarean!
Before her cesarean, Pam believed women could avoid cesareans and other interventions by arming themselves with information, a positive attitude, and a birth plan (which included planning to avoid interventions and a cesarean). In this perfect, unexpected twist of fate, her harsh disdain of cesarean mothers instantly softened into camaraderie with the millions of other women who also gave birth by cesarean. Moments later, just before the incision was made, the course of Pam's life changed when her entire being was permeated with these questions:
What did I need to know to give birth as a mother that I didn't know as a midwife?
What do all modern women need to know to give birth-in-awareness in a medicalized birth culture?
These questions preoccupied Pam for years, leading her to meet influential teachers, including Michel Odent in Pithivier, France (1984). She earned her masters in Psychology & Counseling from Antioch, with an emphasis on Perinatal Psychology and Hypnosis (1989). During her second pregnancy (1990), Pam understood the importance of inviting all the Birth Fairies, not just the home birth fairies. So, she spent most of her time facing her biggest birth tiger by planning a mindful cesarean. Pam gave birth to her second son at home, easily and quickly. Soon after, Pam began to envision childbirth classes that would educate and initiate parents. Over a period of eight years, Pam developed a totally new model and structure for childbirth classes and tested and refined many new multi-sensory processes that now comprise the Birthing From Within approach to childbirth preparation. Her approach is described in her first book, Birthing From Within, which was edited by Rob Horowitz (Partera Press, 1998). In March 1999 in Austin, Texas, Pam began presenting and teaching birth professionals the philosophy and processes of Birthing From Within. Since then, thousands of experienced and aspiring childbirth teachers, doulas, nurses, midwives, natural health practitioners, mothers, and therapists all over the United States, Canada, UK, Australia, Israel, and the world are enthusiastic about the dynamic, life-changing Birthing From Within approach. They are taking an active part in creating a paradigm shift. Many are actively pursuing Certification in our Mentor Training Program. Today, Birthing From Within is a growing organization and movement. We are growing Mentors and doulas, and developing new programs to prevent and heal birth trauma and raise awareness around cesarean birth.
Pam lives, works, and paints in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She teaches workshops and speaks at conferences on topics such as preventing and healing birth trauma, cesarean birth, storytelling, visualizations and hypnosis, and many other aspects of mentoring during life transitions, including pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.
In addition to working on her next book, Birth Story Medicine, Pam teaches childbirth classes, workshops, an offers Storytelling & Soup and Birth Story sessions in Albuquerque.