The Heart in the Womb Paperback – 26 Jul 2011
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What I love most is it is completely unapologetically soulful and there is so much heart in this book. Written by a female obstetrician who fell pregnant later in life after a long IVF journey, she surrenders to the beauty of the pregnancy process and what unfolds is beautiful. There is so much magic in this birth, which this book manages to capture but still be supported gently by science and academia.
Early on in the book the idea of altruism entering in birth is discussed, something I’ve been quietly musing on for some time. As a secondary school teacher and a doula, I have seen both ends of a child’s life, being born and becoming an adult and birth is where you can make the most impact in my very humble opinion. ‘Pulsatile oxytocin is the ‘love hormone’. If it promotes altruism and is at its highest levels just before vaginal birth, then helping women to reach that natural state has a potentially very far-reaching impact on promoting these emotional qualities within society’ To see this written, in print, is wonderful. It’s so wonderful because this comes from someone in the medical world, someone who has seen the medical emergencies as an obstetrician, who believes in medicine but also has been pregnant and given birth and seen that sometimes, there is no place for anything but a mother’s intuition. She discusses her softness, her left-brain taking over, her forgetfulness for numbers and statistics but ‘the emergence of inner wisdom and communication with my baby’ dialing up.
This book is a true validation for any positive birth believer, MAMA KNOWS BEST. Dr Lokugamage says ‘there is a significant art to facilitating normal birth that has been lost in the medical model of birth’, and this is coming from someone who knows. She knows what happens in a hospital environment and is disagreeing with it for a normal birth. This is THE book because it deals with our right brained, patriarchal led society. It supplies the medical view point with evidence but constantly argues, disagrees and contradicts it with the mother’s intuition winning. ‘Women are deeply sensitive to the attitude of their caregivers, and this should not be underestimated.’ YES. What is really missing in the birth world right now, HEART and this book has buckets of it.
It also discussed the impact of birth on the child, which is always of major concern to all committed professionals in the birth world. ‘The emotional quality of pregnancy and the birth experience can have an impact on the child’s development’. Again YES. This is not a book that is just making bold statements; everything is explored and cited with evidence. This book is a game changer. I could quote it all day; I have never highlighted so many lines of a book before!
‘Fear of childbirth really does prevent women from discovering their inner wisdom’. YES. There is so many mothers are missing out on with our current medicalised model of birth. It is such a deeply transformative and spiritual time and this book not only acknowledges it but also makes it tangible, understandable and relatable. ‘There are human social experiments that demonstrate the association between oxytocin and feelings of trust and generosity between people’. Think about what we are doing to society by not trusting our mothers and their birthing instincts?
Dr Lokugamage concludes that with ‘The insight I gained through the experience of pregnancy, and which was not incorporated into obstetric training, was that birth was not an intellectual or technical event, but a rite of passage that opens doors into other dimensions of inner wisdom, feminine power and influence upon future generations’. I sincerely hope, people sit up and listen to this. Yes we can try to explain, analyse, control and assist in birth but maybe, just maybe in straightforward pregnancies, it’s not needed. We need to be listening to the mother. In her epilogue, she even questions herself writing this book which I find so touching because it shows her feelings linked to a time, a moment in time of great significance that cannot be repeated or held on to. If we need anything in the birthing world right now, it is definitely more heart and this book is all heart.
Thank you for writing such an important book, thank you.
I've read a LOT of books about pregnancy and birth but this is really unique as it is written from an obstetricians point of view. I love the balance of the hippy dippy and the rational science, often backed up by research.
Really easy to read, I read most of it one day. I would love for doctors to read this.
Collaboration of health care professionals in maternity services maximises potential for a safe and positive childbirth experience. I believe that Amali's book can help midwives, doulas and obstetricians to fully appreciate each others roles, thereby supporting respectful, effective relationships. The book gives weight to the fundamental part that Mother Nature plays in childbirth, and supports the notion that intuition and love are as important as scientific evidence.
I recommend this book to mothers and midwives on a weekly basis, and I hope obstetricians around the world take time to absorb the content too.
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