There is a plethora of books intended for mothers-to-be that line the shelves of bookstores, and more than enough websites targeted to the same demographic. Most of these books and sites regurgitate tried and true advice or trite, cutesy rhetoric, making anyone wonder just what there’s left to discuss when it comes to pregnancy anymore.
However, Anni Daulter’s new book, Sacred Pregnancy, manages to find a much needed and unique place amongst the many pregnancy-related books that are already out there. This book is equal parts pregnancy “how to,” journal space, and inspirational moments, all woven together with flowing prose and absolutely stunning photography.
The book follows a week by week layout, tackling a new aspect of pregnancy with each section (along with describing what’s happening inside your body). From “body image,” to “expectations,” “romance,” “exercise,” “fear,” “nesting,” “sisterhood,” and many more. Along with exploring these topics, Daulter includes helpful reminders, reflections, ideas, and useful resources (websites, book, musical suggestions, etc… ) as well as space for journaling.
Throughout Sacred Pregnancy, Daulter emphasizes the necessity of creating a healthy, loving support system throughout pregnancy, and postpartum. Based on my own pregnancy, the one thing I found, was that beyond all the gizmos and gadgets available during pregnancy and during the first few years of baby’s life, a loving, caring support system trumps them all. (It should be noted that I came to this realization based on both a lack of and subsequent overflowing sense of community when we moved out of state midway through my pregnancy). Daulter went a step beyond talking about community when she created the Sacred Pregnancy website, which acts as a virtual community and resource for expecting women.
As I read through the book, I found myself shouting YES! at many points along the way. While I’m not currently pregnant (and have no plans to be so in the near future, if at all ever again), I was easily transported six years into my past, and I kept thinking about how useful, helpful, and reaffirming this book would have been for me, had I had a chance to flip through it while pregnant.
Beyond reminding us that each pregnancy is unique, and to treat our journeys as our own, Daulter does a good job of reframing the current way we look at pregnancy and birth, choosing to use empowering vocabulary to describe aspects of pregnancy and labor. This sentiment is felt throughout the book, culminating in the chapter on fear when Daulter writes, “Taking back our births as women is our right and our duty to our children.”
I whole-heartedly agree, and feel that this rings especially true to me as a feminist. While there is some debate within the feminist community surrounding birth and birth choices, I personally feel that the concept of “taking back our births as women” is a crucial feminist ideal. It goes beyond the concept of pregnancy to the notion of body politics and policing. Sacred Pregnancy does a good job of reminding readers of this, without delving into the heavier debates that sometimes tend accompany these thoughts.
While you can now purchase Sacred Pregnancy, I’m happy to be able to offer a free copy to one luck winner. To enter, please leave a comment below, letting me know your thoughts on “taking back birth,” and what it means to you. Entries accepted until 5/27.