The Gift of Giving Life
This review is a stop on the Virtual Book Tour for The Gift of Giving Life by authors Felice Austin, Lani Axman, Heather Farrell, Robyn Allgood, and Sheridan Ripley.
In my original review of this book that I shared a few weeks ago I named this book my "Book of the Year for 2012." After reading just one essay, I just knew...It was that GOOD! Now that I've partaken of the offering in its entirety, I want you to know that I stand by that declaration.
I have given birth to three beautiful children (each 18 months apart)...and I am now in the fourth month of my fourth pregnancy. Needless to say, I had my first three kids at a break-neck pace. Probably so fast that I didn't take time (or have time) to consider fully the many rich spiritual lessons that childbirth provides.
I have had to wait longer than I'd hoped to welcome baby #4 into our lives. In that time, I have been "seasoned" by actual years of "in-the-trenches" Motherhood, and I now approach childbirth with a new, enriched understanding of all that this step entails--and it's true significance in the grand scheme of things.
When you hold your first newborn in your arms, it's amazing and intimidating, empowering, and yet revealing about how little you actually know about anything! Now that I've been stripped of what I thought I knew going into motherhood, about the plan that I thought was best I am now ready to really learn the lessons that the Lord wants me to learn through this amazing process of giving life.
Strangely enough, holding "The Gift of Giving Life" in my hands for the first time was not unlike holding a new baby. As I read each of 20-some essays, I was able to experience what each mother experienced. I held their babies in my arms and walked in their shoes, and I feel wiser for it.
Covering topics such as pain, fear, patience, loss, faith, preparation, scriptural history of infertility, the importance of giving birth, the symbolism of Christ's atonement in giving birth, the equality of men and women's roles in this process, trust in God's will for us--this book has really helped me to see many of the lessons that are "built-in" to the process of "giving life."
In just the first few essays, the book showed me how little I understood about the power that I held and then worked quickly to fill in the gaps and help me connect the spiritual dots.
Amazingly the lessons extend beyond giving birth and into the very way that we experience life.
For instance, on the topic of fear/pain, I was blown away by this excerpt:
"...The Buddhists say that pain is inevitable, but suffering is a painful feeling about pain. Pain is simply a sensation, but suffering comes from thinking that what is shouldn't be. I saw that no matter what happened to me in this life, I could trust that God had me in mind and that life happens for me, not to me. It's all for my good."
"I envisioned myself looking at the possibilities for my earth life, accepting all the risks, and saying, "I am willing, send me. I am willing to be the one who is betrayed. I am willing to be physically uncomfortable. I am willing to lose a child. I am willing to be...lost, confused, hurt, offended, upset, in pain, maimed. I am willing, send me. I want to feel what it is to be alive, to love, to forgive. I am willing to face pain so that I might know true joy."
"...I had always said, '"I want to be like Jesus,'"...Was I truly willing?...He was willing."
Can I also say, "Here am I, send me?
That is just one incredible and courageous observation taken from one of the dozens of essays that you will find in this beautiful book. (This one was called "Goddess in Embryo" by Rebecca Overson, p. 252.)
I would go on and share each insight from the book that rocked my world, but I found it so deeply personal that it's difficult to articulate. Each woman, whether you've given birth or not, will take something (many things) extremely personal and faith-building away from the essays in this book.
Also note: the book is written for an LDS audience and assumes a basic understanding of what we know about God's plan for his children. Even so, I think many of the concepts presented in the book might just ring true to your experience, and will be an extremely enriching, thought-provoking read, whether you're Mormon or not.
Would you like to know more about The Gift of Giving Life?
Visit The Gift of Giving Life site to sign up for their newsletter and to receive a free Meditation MP3 as well as tips to help increase spirituality in your pregnancy and birth.
For my readers I have a coupon code for 10% off a copy of The Gift of Giving Life. Click here and after you add the book to your cart use this coupon code. GWFWXR3F This code is good until Father’s Day 2012.