I've crawled out of hiding to post a review for a book I was given for that purpose.
I can hardly recommend this book highly enough!
Christian women, and Catholics in particular, have needed The Gift of Birth for far too long. I am unaware of any other book that develops the spirituality surrounding pregnancy and childbirth. Given the childbearing is a unique way for women to participate in God's creative work, it is important that this books has been written.
This book is not a “how-to” in the same way that so many books on pregnancy and childbearing are. Its subtitle: Discerning God's Presence During Childbirth explains. In its pages a mother will find spiritual guidance as she progresses through pregnancy and childbirth, as well as practical ideas to help her achieve a satisfying birth experience. Each chapter ends with suggestions for prayerful reflection which could serve the growing family well, even beyond the immediate postpartum period.
The book addresses many variations on the theme of childbirth and the author carefully maneuvers through discussions on home births, hospital births and cesarean births without judgment. Ms Windley-Daoust points out that all experiences of giving birth are intensely spiritual and God-given. Suggestions are given to reclaim a birth experience that did not seem to achieve this.
There is a section discussing difficulties surrounding childbirth; the unexpected pregnancy, infertility, miscarriage and still-birth are all given a spiritual dimension. As an experienced spiritual director, Ms Windley-Daoust suggests ways in which the family can ease tension and grief, while seeing God in these situations.
The Gift of Birth quotes frequently from the writings of Pope St. John Paul II, from scripture, as well as from a host of others sources. Quotations from mothers, and some interviews with women who have already found God to be present in their varying birth experiences bring a personal dimension.
This is a book that has been needed for a very long time. I am thankful that Ms. Windley-Daoust was inspired to write it. It is a book I will repeatedly recommend to the young women with whom I work.