A Mama's Must Read - "Made For This!"
With only a few weeks left in my third pregnancy, it is a small understatement to say that birth is “on my mind.” The dreams of sudden contractions starting, of my baby being handed to me with a face full of acne (I did just inhale the entire box of Oreos before bed?), of squeezing my small breasts to produce milk, and the nightly hourly bathroom trips are in full force. My husband has been really excited with our recent movie choices - The Business of Being Born, Birth in the Squatting Position, and just can’t get enough of our Bradley Method read alouds ;) In all honestly, I’m thankful that this has physically been my best pregnancy yet, and with special thanks to the new release of Made For This: The Catholic Mom’s Guide to Birth, I am also prepared for the best birth yet! (no matter the outcome!)
“I am not afraid; I was born to do this.” Saint Joan of Arc
To all my fellow mama’s I have to share - this is your one pregnancy must read! I am fairly well read in the birth and fertility world, and this book easily made it to my number one. The author, Mary Haseltine, has the unique combination of a Catholic Theology degree and background as a birth doula, childbirth educator and experienced mother herself. As a practicing Catholic who has given birth twice, I felt as if my blinded eyes were being pulled wide open to deep truths of birth that I could not believe I had never heard! She beautifully weaves the teachings of The Theology of the Body into every aspect of birth, “to show that birth is an essential part of who God created women to be, body and soul,” and leaves you educated and inspired. Her objective presentation of the educational information wrapped in a Catholic viewpoint and theology of the body perceptive is invaluable. This is my new birth bible. And I don’t think you will find elsewhere.
I have learned some valuable lessons from my previous, luckily, but painfully natural, fast labors…namely that I tend to be deniably out of touch with my labors until it gets crazy…from my first experience of pacing through back labor contractions in the middle of my nursing grad school class as my fellow classmates, OB nurses!, insisted, “Well Alex, you are in labor, we are taking you to the hospital.” What? Oh no, this is just some third trimester sciatic pains…to not only an hour later lying on the hospital bed ready to push…to my second experience of demanding my husband not disturb any relatives at that late hour, until I realized I was basically in transition & he was led to knocking on new neighbors doors to watch our young son so we could avoid an unplanned home birth! It all worked out in the end, but Mary’s book has left me empowered to enter into a deeper awareness, into the Christian why behind it all, and the practical of how to surrender and unite the entire event to Jesus. It has singlehandedly transformed the way I am approaching the work of labor.
Here are some of my favorite takeaways:
- Intentionally connecting the work labor to the divine. The theological explanations and deeper understanding of the relation of Theology of the Body to birth will inform, inspire and empower you.
- Catholic birth stories. I love reading birth stories and listening to birth podcasts, but reading from specifically a Catholic mom’s perspective was amazing. There are about 10 very different stories - covering losses, C-sections, home-births, that will leave you beyond inspired in your faith.
- Hiring a doula. Only a small section of the book really discusses doula’s, but once again the author is a doula and her objective information helped solidify my decision to hire a doula for this birth.
- Appendices. You might have to spend the almost $10 just for this! I am obsessed. She has an appendix for Catholic prayers specific to motherhood, labor and birth, scripture verses for use in labor and birth, for endurance, moments of pain or suffering, moments of fear and anxiety, prayers for after the baby is born, saint quotes for pregnancy, labor and birth etc! Its amazing to have them all in one place. I used specific quotes she recommended to create my own “birth prayer,” Im using as a bookmark.
I highly recommend this book to all mothers. First time mothers, experienced mothers. Women who have had unexpected C-sections, infertility, miscarriages, or unexpected birth stories can find healing and peace.
“In difficult moments I will fix my gaze upon the silent heart of Jesus, stretched upon the cross, and from the exploding flames of His merciful heart, will flow down upon me power and strength to keep fighting.” - Saint Faustina
Whatever happens, however it happens…mama’s, we are Made for This!