The Heart in The Womb - A must read for all
The Heart in The Womb by Dr Amali Lokugamage
Book Review by Jenna Rutherford
Wow…just wow. Not really sure where to start with this book but I’ve never read a book and thought so wholeheartedly that everyone in the world needs to read it. For me this is THE book, the one that could change the way our society views birth and actually has a chance of succeeding.
What I love most is it is completely unapologetically soulful and there is so much heart in this book. Written by a female obstetrician who fell pregnant later in life after a long IVF journey, she surrenders to the beauty of the pregnancy process and what unfolds is beautiful. There is so much magic in this birth, which this book manages to capture but still be supported gently by science and academia.
Early on in the book the idea of altruism entering in birth is discussed, something I’ve been quietly musing on for some time. As an ex secondary school teacher and a doula, I have seen both ends of a child’s life, being born and becoming an adult and birth is where you can make the most impact in my very humble opinion. ‘Pulsatile oxytocin is the ‘love hormone’. If it promotes altruism and is at its highest levels just before vaginal birth, then helping women to reach that natural state has a potentially very far-reaching impact on promoting these emotional qualities within society’ To see this written, in print, is wonderful. It’s so wonderful because this comes from someone in the medical world, someone who has seen the medical emergencies as an obstetrician, who believes in medicine but also has been pregnant and given birth and seen that sometimes, there is no place for anything but a mother’s intuition. She discusses her softness, her left-brain taking over, her forgetfulness for numbers and statistics but ‘the emergence of inner wisdom and communication with my baby’ dialling up.
This book is a true validation for any positive birth believer, MAMA KNOWS BEST. Dr Lokugamage says ‘there is a significant art to facilitating normal birth that has been lost in the medical model of birth’, and this is coming from someone who knows. She knows what happens in a hospital environment and is disagreeing with it for a normal birth. This is THE book because it deals with our right brained, patriarchal led society. It supplies the medical view point with evidence but constantly argues, disagrees and contradicts it with the mother’s intuition winning. ‘Women are deeply sensitive to the attitude of their caregivers, and this should not be underestimated.’ YES. What is really missing in the birth world right now, HEART and this book has buckets of it.
It also discussed the impact of birth on the child, which is always of major concern to all committed professionals in the birth world. ‘The emotional quality of pregnancy and the birth experience can have an impact on the child’s development’. Again YES. This is not a book that is just making bold statements; everything is explored and cited with evidence. This book is a game changer. I could quote it all day; I have never highlighted so many lines of a book before!
‘Fear of childbirth really does prevent women from discovering their inner wisdom’. YES. There are so many mothers missing out on this with our current medicalised model of birth. It is such a deeply transformative and spiritual time and this book not only acknowledges it but also makes it tangible, understandable and relatable. ‘There are human social experiments that demonstrate the association between oxytocin and feelings of trust and generosity between people’. Think about what we are doing to society by not trusting our mothers and their birthing instincts?
Dr Lokugamage concludes that with ‘The insight I gained through the experience of pregnancy, and which was not incorporated into obstetric training, was that birth was not an intellectual or technical event, but a rite of passage that opens doors into other dimensions of inner wisdom, feminine power and influence upon future generations’. I sincerely hope, people sit up and listen to this. Yes we can try to explain, analyse, control and assist in birth but maybe, just maybe in straightforward pregnancies, it’s not needed. We need to be listening to the mother. In her epilogue, she even questions herself writing this book which I find so touching because it shows her feelings linked to a time, a moment in time of great significance that cannot be repeated or held on to. If we need anything in the birthing world right now, it is definitely more heart and this book is all heart.
Thank you for writing such an important book, thank you.
Doula love as always
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