The Gift of Giving Life Virtual Book Tour Review: Coping with Unexpected Changes in My Birth Plans

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

This post is one of many in the incredible Gift of Giving Life Virtual Book Tour.

Receiving my first copy of the Gift of Giving Life spring of 2012
Life Unlocked

She decided to open herself,
and let this new life flow through her.
She quit fighting, and let it be.
Unlocked was her true
strength and beauty.
For she was fierce and lovely.
Heaven rejoiced, and she was free.

Two days after my first birth. He was beautiful. I was awestruck at what a gift life is.

My first child's birth did not go as I planned or visualized. Birth center changed to hospital. Full term turned to premature. My visualized quick and calm centered birth went to 5 days of labor and 4 hours in transition. My dream of immediately nursing and holding my precious new baby boy in those heavenly moments after birth turned into not even holding him, or seeing him, as he was rushed to the NICU while I lay in a state of shock and relief, confused because "This was not how it was suppose to happen".

I placed my confusion and feelings of loss under the carpet, and moved forward pumping milk, establishing a good latch and bonding with my new little angel. He was so beautiful. But underneath all the excitement of new motherhood was still a raw wound. Anytime in the next 2 years that this rawness tried to surface, I let it know I did not want to face it. When I became pregnant with my second child, I had to face it. I had to give birth again in one way or another. I felt out of control, and fearfully apathetic that "I couldn't really influence the outcome or experience of my birthing process".

Looking for help with my upcoming birth, I picked up the book The Gift of Giving Life, and read Felice's essay, "Categories of Pain" in chapter 9. And here I found my answer to my question, my internal struggle: how do I deal with birth not going as I plan for, visualize and prepare for? I had spent so much time preparing for my first birth. I took classes, I ate healthy, I did yoga, I spent time visualizing the birth, I educated myself and worked with my husband to ensure we would have the best shot at a peaceful, safe, and happy birth experience. And these are wonderful things to do to prepare for the best birth experience possible. I totally endorse doing all you can to promote a beautiful and safe birth experience, yet there comes a point sometimes when things just don't go as we hope and plan for.  And this is where I found myself. Trying to comprehend "what went wrong" with my first birth, so it wouldn't happen again. And although certain choices would be made differently for my second birth, "what went wrong" was not in the course of events, but rather in my attachment to the idea of what a perfect birth is.

On page 289 I quote Felice,

"There are many different varieties of emotional pain, but the causes all distill down to one word-attachment-or to be more specific, attachment to anything other than God. To clarify what might be a confusing concept for some, being nonattached is not the same as being detached, that latter which refers to not caring about people or yourself, or not assuming responsibility. (Also, attachment as stated here should not be confused with psychological term as used in attachment parenting, which has many benefits.) Nonattachment is the basis of true love because it allows us to see from a divine perspective, free from the conditions and self-interest that are often tied to mortality. The principles of non attachment have been taught for centuries. Jesus Christ taught non attachment all through His ministry."

Felice then proceeded to list and describe attachments that Christ taught if we eliminate, will also minimize the suffering we experience.

And here I realized that the suffering I was experiencing wasn't because anything I had 'done wrong', or should of planned better for in giving birth, but that I was attached to the idea that if birth isn't peaceful, relaxed, and done a certain way, then it was not what I wanted. In fact it was something to be feared. And when I let go of what I thought was the  best type of birth, what I wanted, and expected I found a well of healing within. It was okay that events did not follow my desired birth plan, but actually were far from it.  I did my best to work towards what I thought was best, and in the end God wanted to teach me something better. A lesson of trusting Him. A lesson of letting go of my plan and embracing His, and that lesson was powerful. It prepared me to be willing after all I could do to steer events in a certain direction with my next, upcoming birth and embrace what was, what is and find joy, and healing in my continued endeavor of motherhood. It allowed me to see the beauty in every birth, every type and every situation. These were the lessons I learned through my own experience and found within the pages of the Gift of Giving Life. Birth is beautiful and spiritual, even when unexpected turns occur in how you wanted your birth experience to be.

Moments after my second birth, a beautiful baby girl. 

I am forever grateful that I chose to read The Gift of Giving Life. The essays and stories so greatly helped me to prepare for motherhood, heal from birth trauma, and embrace the beautiful mess that this journey can sometimes be. It is my favorite book to give to new moms, grieving moms, pregnant moms, and seasoned moms alike. I found such great spiritual support within its pages, and an incredible answer to my prayers of how to finally heal the raw wound of birth not going as planned, and to courageously move on to give birth again. And when I did give birth again, I prepared and planned and did my part to ensure a certain outcome. But, as this second birth experience unfolded I found strength in embracing what was and remaining attached to God, not what I thought was best.  Here is a BIG Thank you to the authors of the book  for writing such a wonderful resource about the spirituality of childbirth!

Be sure to enter to win beautiful giveaways, and read other reviews and essays from the 2014 Gift of Giving Life Virutal Book Tour here:
(My Etsy shop, The Sister Tree,  donated a Tree of Life Necklace that you can win...its beautiful!)


  1. So beautiful, thanks for sharing your experience!

  2. Kylie, This is lovely. I think what you describe is what I am coming to realize about ALL of life. It very seldom goes in the perfect way we expect and when we can realize that and just place ourselves in God's hands things go much better. I loved how you said you just accepted what was... sometimes that is so hard!