Birthing from Within exists as both a highly acclaimed book and birthing philosophy from the perspective of a mother and midwife; its core components consist of self-discovery, meditation and other self-awareness techniques. Its creative approach to birth helps women avoid unnecessary complications and medical interventions during the birth process. This philosophy supports a holistic approach to the mind-body-spirit connection and teaches women how to maintain positivity during the challenges pregnancy and labor.
As a midwife, Pam England believed in the ability of a woman’s body to handle the birthing process. Although her first pregnancy in 1982 resulted in a cesarean due to complications beyond her control, she delivered her second child naturally, at home, in 1990. Using several techniques to focus the mind and connect with her body, she delivered a healthy baby at home with a short labor. Her first birth deepened her commitment to exploring avenues of natural childbirth and how to help women through this process on their own terms, using the strength of their minds and bodies.
The birth of her second child marked a turning point in Mrs. England’s life; she felt compelled to develop a modern philosophy regarding natural childbirth at home. She began developing Birthing from Within as a way to assist couples in approaching and enjoying childbirth as a process. Many certified health practitioners, including nurses, midwives and therapists use the Mrs. England’s philosophy when dealing with childbirth.
Birthing from Within balances a medical approach to childbirth with spiritual and cultural aspects. By emphasizing how these aspects influence the mother, father and baby, Mrs. England explores how acknowledging each aspect’s role helps a mother maintain physical, mental and emotional harmony throughout the childbirth process. The philosophy addresses not only pregnancy and childbirth, but also common postpartum issues couples may encounter.
Although her philosophy addresses the roles of all parties involved in childbirth, Pam England focuses most on a mother’s needs. She stresses the importance of a woman’s need to connect with other mothers to learn from their experiences. Building a network of support decreases stress and increases enjoyment related to pregnancy and birth. In sharing embarrassing moments or moments of fear, women empower themselves and decrease any anxiety or isolation. Birthing from Within also stresses the importance of a partner’s role as a supporter in the actual process of childbirth. This philosophy champions a woman’s right to consciously make vital decisions based on her emotional, physical, and spiritual intuitions. Ultimately, the philosophy’s goal is to empower women by having them acknowledge that they possess the internal and external strength to endure natural childbirth.
The baby exists as a core aspect in this philosophy. Mrs. England encourages parents to create a nurturing birth place for the newborn including warmth, privacy, quiet, and dim lights. As a midwife, Pam England believes that a birth place directly influences the birth process and can impact a woman’s labor. A sterile environment with individuals constantly coming and going may put a woman on edge, whereas familiar surroundings put a woman more at ease.
Certified practitioners undergo a 2-3 year certification program before coaching couples. Practitioners trained in the Birthing from Within technique believe in helping couples explore the technique rather than merely teaching it to them. They empower couples to consciously decide how they would like to experience childbirth. During classes, couples learn self-hypnosis and visualization techniques to focus the mind and decrease reactions to pain. Courses usually run 15-20 hours over several weeks. Many programs also offer private sessions if a couple prefers one-on-one mentoring. Home-study classes are also available with an instructor available by phone to answer questions or engage the couple in exercises relevant to childbirth.
Birthing from Within encourages couples to take control of their birthing experience by fully understanding not only the actual process, but how they can strengthen their minds and bodies to prepare for it. Mrs. England advocates for birth-in-awareness, meaning that couples should be well-informed, whether delivering at home, at a birth center or in a hospital. This philosophy provides a woman with reliable pain coping techniques to make birth a truly joyous experience.
Kathryn is a baby-wearing, cloth diapering, DIY mom to her quickly growing and pretty cute toddler. When she isn't researching and writing about natural approaches to pregnancy and parenting, she's acting out her favorite children's books or singing off-key made-up songs.