"An Easier Childbirth should be read by every expectant parent. Peterson's workbook focuses on the personal reality of the pregnant couple, offering valuable approaches to explore and resolve emotional issues prior to birth. This extremely important process, which is overlooked in most childbirth books, is the essence of preparation." -- Elizabeth Noble, author of Childbirth with Insight and Essential Exercises for the Childbearing Year
"This program starts where traditional education ends. Here is a truly personal preparation for childbirth, reaching emotional and unconscious depths." -- David Chamberlain, Ph.D., President of the Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and author of Babies Remember Birth
Years from now when we look back on the childbirth reform movement, Gayle Peterson will be called a pioneer. Peterson, the author of "Birthing Normally", was among the first to show the connections between a woman's beliefs and approach to childbirth. An Easier Childbirth is an informative and extremely practical guide that makes childbirth a rewarding experience. The tools provided in An Easier Childbirth simplify this process. Peterson describes techniques for coping with pain, including relaxation and visualization. She explains the importance of having realistic expectations and discusses how mother, baby, and family can bond together following the birth. The book also includes invaluable material on physical exercises, the natural flow of labor, and ideas for transforming fear. I this book to every pregnant woman with whom I consult. An Easier Childbirth may be Peterson's most important work yet, since its workbook format makes the woman's preparation for birth such a personal experience. -----Peggy O'Mara -- Mothering Magazine
Integrating your emotional and physical needs helps you prepare for childbirth and a new family constellation. This book represents a continuation of my efforts to make childbirth an empowering and positive experience for women everywhere. Giving birth is the beginning of your relationship with your child. It is also an opportunity for personal growth. WHAT YOU WILL LEARN
Over the past seventeen years I have developed a method of childbirth preparation which synthesizes the research on the effects of emotions on labor with the practical experience I have gained from working with pregnant women and their families. Giving birth is an experience you carry into your first days of motherhood as well as the rest of your life. It is an important event in a woman's life and has long reaching effects on your self esteem and confidence.
This workbook is based on the method I use in my own practice. It augments your emotional and psychological preparation for labor. It helps you explore your personal history, your feelings and your anxieties about childbirth. It also equips you with skills that help maximize the potential for normal delivery. In this workbook you will learn how to confront your fears, heal your past, and prepare yourself for the best labor possible. You will learn to:
* resolve emotional concerns related to giving birth and becoming a mother. You will be able to identify childhood feelings about your parents that will help you to understand your own experience of giving birth and becoming a mother. The birth inventory in chapter one and the exercises in chapter two will help you confront fears and identify your feelings, helping you achieve the self-knowledge so important to a calm and confident approach to labor.
* overcome fear related to your own birth or your previous childbirth experiences. Through the visualization exercises and journal writing in chapters three and four you can begin to heal past birth and childbirth experiences which adversely affect your attitude and expectations for your upcoming delivery. Chapter four will also help you address cultural influences which negatively affect your experience of childbirth.
* realistically prepare you for labor. The exercises in chapter five will prepare you to handle the different stages of labor. You will learn to let your body lead you into labor and to keep your mind from getting in the way with non productive anticipation. You will also learn how to develop attitudes and beliefs conducive to normal delivery. In chapter six you will learn to identify your natural coping style and learn new techniques for coping with pain.
* develop confidence in your ability to give birth and mother your child. In chapter seven you will be guided through a relaxation and birth visualization that addresses your unique concerns and situation, with suggestions for creating imagery and messages that will strengthen your resources for handling labor. Birth visualization will also help you bond with your baby before he or she is born.
You will also learn how to:
* maximize bonding with your new baby immediately after birth.
* establish patterns for healthy family bonding. Information in chapter eight will support you in bonding with your new baby after delivery. Chapter nine gives practical knowledge about becoming a family. It has exercises for nurturing yourself, your relationship with your partner and establishing healthy family patterns for the year following the birth of your child. WHAT YOU WILL NEED
Many of the exercises in this workbook are meant to be shared with a partner or another supportive person. Sometimes you will merely want to share your feelings. At other times you may find it useful or necessary to ask your partner to assist you. Include your partner in as many ways as possible and adjust the exercises to your current family and support network, including as many people as you wish. In this way your husband will also be growing into his role as father.
You will also need a pen or pencil for writing, a tape recorder for recording visualization sequences if you wish, and 2 blank sixty minute audio cassettes to be used for exercises and the birth visualization in chapter six. Comfortable clothing in which you can relax and lie down is also recommended.
The best place to use the workbook is one in which you feel safe and free of inhibitions. It is also optimal if the setting you choose feels nurturing to you in some way, and is relatively quiet and conducive to relaxation and closing your eyes as needed. You should also arrange not to be interrupted during the exercises so that you can fully absorb what this workbook has to offer. Your environment should provide you with enough privacy for you or your partner to talk about personal and intimate feelings as they come up.
The information and guided exercises in this workbook can enhance your basic prenatal care by addressing your personal fears and anxieties. After you have done these guided exercises you are more likely to experience a smooth labor. And if medical intervention is needed during labor, you will be better prepared to cope with and adapt to the situation at hand. The capacity to manage anxiety in a stressful situation can greatly contribute to your own health and the health of your baby.
In working through this book, you also provide yourself with an opportunity to strengthen your internal resources. The birth of a baby is the birth of your own motherhood. The baby now inside your womb will soon be cradled in your arms!