Once upon a time I thought I would like to be a midwife when I grew up. And then I grew up, had a baby(by c-section) and realized, um, maybe not. But it was this book, that I read in my late teens, when I knew nothing about life that convinced me that I could deliver babies. Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May is a wonderful book about women who opt for natural delivery in a natural setting. In this case it was the women of a rural commune who out of necessity were forced to learn to deliver their own babies.
Most people would dismiss this book as hippie drivel, since it over-simplifies the process of child birth, but I think what I took away from it was what a beautiful thing it is to give birth. This book made child birth seem like a natural and empowering experience, rather than a fearful one. Not that child birth isn't scary, and anything can go wrong. I wasn't expecting to have a c-section when I had my kid, but that's what happened. Spiritual Midwifery is exactly about child birth as a spiritual experience. It's about women and their connection to the creation of life.
There are many graphic photos of babies being born and of female nudity, but it was not at all offensive. The images of hairy, sweaty women might be a turn-off for many people , but I found them to be so beautiful. It's women celebrating their natural beauty.
This book does give instructions on how to deliver a baby, and I suppose that could come in handy if the situation were to present itself. This would be a good book to have in that given situation. I think most women can make up their minds about whether they want to have their baby in a hospital or at home with a midwife, and this book offers a good argument for doing the latter. I recommend this book to any woman who is thinking about having a child, not as a how-to, but as a reminder that we have been doing this for as long as we have existed and that it is not just a physiological thing that doctors assist us with, but it is a moment when we give birth to life, a profoundly spiritual experience that changes a woman forever.