Let me introduce you to a dear friend of mine... my very first roommate! In the (MANY) years since then, i have loved seeing her grow into motherhood and become passionate about helping women with their birth experiences. I've sent a number of my friends to her for advice and help in making birth choices. She and i are also both members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (LDS for short, also known as Mormons).
So she did something incredible-- she, with a number of equally awesome women, compiled amazing stories about divinity and birth, and published a BOOK.
As i shoot so many newborn mothers, and am around birthing all the time, i decided to be one of those to host a virtual book tour of this inspiring book. Let's get on to talking about this book!!
What this book is about:
The Gift of Giving Life: Rediscovering the Divine Nature of Pregnancy and Birth offers something that no other book has before–a spiritual look at pregnancy, birth and mothering by and for Latter-day Saint (Mormon) women and other women of faith. With inspiring birth stories and essays from dozens of women, scriptures, words of the prophets and other spiritual texts related to pregnancy and birth,The Gift of Giving Life is the essential spiritual pregnancy companion.
The Gift of Giving Life does not advocate for any one type of birth or approach to prenatal care, rather it intends to unify our families and communities in regard to the sacredness of birth.We also aim to provide you with resources, information, and inspiration that you may not have had access to all in one place before. Though we have written the book unabashedly for a Latter-day Saint audience, we hope that birthing women, birth attendants and birth advocates of all faiths will find it useful and informative.
Interview with Co-Author Lani Axman:
What motivated you to begin this book?
Felice Austin had put out a call for spiritual birth stories for The Gift of Giving Life back in 2009. One of my blog (birthfaith.org) readers gave her my contact info, and Felice sent me a message asking if I'd be interested in submitting a story. I had recently given birth to my third baby, and it had been a really wonderful, spiritual pregnancy and birth, so I wrote it up and sent it to Felice. We felt an almost immediate bond as we exchanged emails, read each other's blogs, and eventually talked on the phone. After a month or two she invited me to help her with her book project, and I was honored and thrilled to be given such a wonderful opportunity. The funny thing is that the story that got my "foot in the door" of this project isn't even in the book! Ha.
What were your greatest obstacles?
I think the greatest obstacle was the fact that all of the authors were/are busy moms, so it wasn't easy to find the time to work on the book while also keeping our family time and the rest of our lives in balance. I know my husband and children were very happy when the book was done so they could "have me back," and I was very happy to give myself back to them. There were many, many late nights I spent editing and sacrificing sleep so I wouldn't have to take as much time away from my family. But in neglecting my own physical needs, I also allowed myself to get really run-down, and I feel like I'm only now (a year after publication) finally recovering!
How did you get interested in birth in the first place?
Not long after I got married, I had a brief conversation with a young woman we knew. She was pregnant with her first child and carrying a stack of birth-related books from the library. The books prompted our conversation, and she mentioned that she was planning to give birth without drugs. I responded, in shock, “I didn’t know people still did that?!” She answered me with two sentences that changed my life forever: “My mom had all her babies that way. There are actually a lot of benefits.” In sincere curiosity and ignorance, I spent a few minutes drilling her about the benefits of natural childbirth. I’m pretty sure she mentioned the Bradley method and midwives in there somewhere. And then the conversation ended. I would say it was that one conversation that sparked my now decade-long passion for pregnancy and birth. When I became pregnant for the first time myself, I think I read every pregnancy/birth book in our local library, and I've read many more since. It was definitely a treat to participate in adding a new birth book to that library's shelves. And it was even more a treat when I heard a month or two ago that our book had a waiting list there!
How have you seen these stories changes the lives of women who read them?
There's really nothing more rewarding as an author than receiving emails, comments, and hugs from the people whose lives you have influenced. We have, both individually and as a group, received so much positive feedback that it's really been totally overwhelming (in a good way). I think we knew we had participated in creating something pretty marvelous, but the positive feedback has far exceeded my expectations. Women have found peace and healing after miscarriages and traumatic births, women have found strength and courage to change to more respectful care providers, women have discovered a new awe for their miraculous life-giving abilities, women have come to a better understanding of the importance of the procreative process, and women have had spiritual experiences and found answers to prayers within the pages of The Gift of Giving Life. It makes me so giddy to see these things unfold.
What was your favorite experience in working in the whole process of this book?
My favorite part was feeling like an instrument in the hands of the Creator. As we worked on writing the book, we really felt like our words were divinely inspired. I received a lot of my inspiration while showering, actually. It was, as I sometimes joked, my "meditation closet," since it was one of the only times during the day that I was alone and relaxed and quiet. That process of going from a sudden flash of insight to spilling the words into my keyboard and sitting back afterward knowing I had just participated in something sacred and powerful... that was really cool.
I loved seeing Lani after the birth of her daughter Emily, and attempted for the first time chin on hands pose!! Amazing how far i've come, lol. I just adored her beautiful hair.... doesn't she have a lovely family??
Lani Axman finished her studies in English and editing at Brigham Young University in 2003. Following the birth of her second daughter, Lani put her pen to work for her newfound passion—childbirth advocacy. In 2007, Lani created her blog, Birth Faith, where she continues to share her thoughts and research and is followed by thousands of readers each week. Lani became trained as a birth doula through DONA International in 2009 and in neonatal resuscitation in 2011 and looks forward to attending births when her children are older. Lani now resides near Phoenix, Arizona, with her husband, four children, and many beloved houseplants. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Earn 3 Free Bonus Gifts when you buy a copy of The Gift of Giving Life by May 15th. Just visit The Gift of Giving Life to find out the details!