The Gift of Giving Life
For the next week we are sharing essays on motherhood in preparation for Mother’s Day in the United States. This series will include a number of different perspectives, but we begin with motherhood’s cardinal event: birth.
Hugh Nibley once wrote that ever since Eve foiled Satan in the garden of Eden, he’s had it in for women. I can’t think of any better example of his success than in marginalizing motherhood. The net effect is that one of the most sacred of experiences — an adoring, faithful, powerful mother — is denied those precious spirits our Heavenly Parents would send to earth, either because parents are unwilling to welcome souls to their families or those families are living below their privileges.
As these thoughts have circulated in my heart for some time, and I’ve written about them repeatedly, I was thoroughly prepared when a friend contacted me a year ago last winter to ask if I would be interested in copy-editing their book. The offer was very appealing, but my dear mother was visiting and I couldn’t take time away from her to closet myself in my office, so I regretfully declined. I stayed in touch regarding the publishing, however, and when it came to press, my friend contacted me again to ask if I would be interested in reviewing the book prior to the book tour. I was ecstatic, having read some of the preliminary proofs online and knowing the sense of mission these women feel about divine womanhood. I did review that book then, and I’m pleased to share a review again as they complete another book tour.
When the book arrived, I devoured it. It was even better than I could have expected or even hoped. It begins by establishing the divine legacy of womanhood and motherhood through Eve and our Heavenly Mother and is richly populated with personal essays that are compelling and well-written. Subsequent chapters include discussions of the spirit of Elijah, moving through the veil, personal revelation, and preparation. Continuing chapters deal with the very real aspects of pregnancy and childbirth (fear, pain, patience, meditation, the mind-body connection, and strengthening marriage.) The book concludes with the Atonement, unity, and the fourth trimester, a relatively ignored but vital stage of birth that is largely unaddressed in popular birth prep literature. Real stories poignantly punctuate every passage, set apart by gray pages to make them easy to find later, and make this book a one-stop spiritual/temporal preparation for the most important event of a family’s life.
Never in my years of LDS study have I found such a wide-ranging survey of wisdom and personal experience in relation to birth as this 521-page treasure comprises. Nowhere else will you find the tenets of LDS faith employed with greater grace and wisdom to empower a birthing mother, and by extension, her entire family. I would want my own daughters and daughters-in-law to have this long before they read What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Indeed, my own daughter received her own copy for Mother’s Day, just before birthing her second child. My sister, who serves underserved mothers in the L.A. area as a doula and childbirth educator, calls it The Book.
It’s not too late to gift the birthing mothers in your life with a copy for Mother’s Day, and they will thank you forever even if this treasure arrives in the short days thereafter.
We don’t do specials and giveaways at Real Intent, but the authors of The Gift of Giving Life are having quite a party over on their website. Feel free to visit and partake of the favors!
Image Credit: Gibson Art Co.