Mindful Birthing: Training the Mind, Body, and Heart for Childbirth and Beyond
by Nancy Bardacke
[2012, New York: HarperCollins, 338 pages, paperback.]
[Review first published in Midwifery Today Issue 102, Summer 2012, © 2012, Midwifery Today, Inc. Review by Nancy Halseide.]
“Mindfulness can be described as the awareness that arises from ‘paying attention…on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally’” (p. 1). In her book, author and midwife Nancy Bardacke takes the reader through a Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting course (MBCP) by way of sharing the details of one of her own MBCP courses she conducted in her home. Bardacke’s way of describing the mindfulness exercises and sharing the actual responses from the people in her class, make the reader feel like they, too, are sitting in her home being coached and trained in mindfulness right alongside the other pregnant couples.
The purpose of the book is to teach mindfulness during pregnancy, labor, birth and beyond in lieu of taking an actual MBCP class or as a supplement to the class. Bardacke coaches expectant couples to let go of their preconceived ideas about childbirth and become free to discover for themselves what giving birth is all about. The contents are also helpful for people who have been through childbirth before since “it is absolutely impossible to have the same birth experience twice” (p. 19).
A veteran of Nancy’s class is quoted in the book as saying, “Mindfulness doesn’t give you the birth experience you want, but it gives you a way to fall in love with the birth experience you get” (p. 4). For the many childbirth classes that prepare couples with the knowledge of the process, this book is a wonderful preparation for the mind as it learns to accept what happens and be fully present in the experience of childbirth.
Reviewer Nancy Halseide is the managing editor for Midwifery Today. She is also a childbirth educator and co-owner of Eugene Birth Education.