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Book Review: Christ-Centered Childbirth - by Kelly J Townsend

Recently, I picked up a book on Amazon called "Christ Centered Childbirth."  They say never to judge a book by its cover, but I totally did.  This one looked quite out-of-date, or else the cover designer is not very good at his/her job.  However, reviews for it have been favourable and the book did come highly recommended, although part of me wondered if it might be really hokey or uber-charismatic or downright unbiblical.  To my delight, I discovered that "Christ Centered Childbirth" is *none* of those things.

The only biases I can ascertain from my reading it is that the author obviously loves Jesus, so of course the book is decidedly Christian (which limits the reach of the book to believers), and she is pro-doula, being one herself.  There's a whole chapter devoted to doulas, or "Bondservants for Birth."  I personally found the chapter to be enlightening and encouraging, but then again I am also pro-doula.   

Otherwise, the book is generally well-balanced between being Biblical (and truly focusing on the Lord) and being educational.  There *is* one part of the book that likens the whole process of pregnancy to the Feasts celebrated by the Jewish nation, which I thought was a bit out of place and a bit of a reach metaphorically, so feel free to skip that chapter (I skimmed it).

However, here are some of the features that I really enjoyed:
* examples of Christ-centered prayers and Scripture to meditate on during labour
* reminders that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against a very real spiritual enemy who wishes to keep us in bondage even while we are trying to glorify God in our childbirth
* a practical breakdown of the various symptoms to expect during each trimester of pregnancy
* an explanation on the physiology of fear and some tips to help break the cycle and focus on faith
* a brief explanation of the anatomy and stages of labour
* helpful suggestions for coping with the various stages of labour
* an easy-to-read section breaking down the pros and cons of various medical interventions associated with childbirth
* coaching techniques for Hubbs to suggest and use during labour

Some books on childbirth are highly theoretical, and you end up with a head full of facts and nothing practical to apply.  This one is inspiring me to get my Scriptures and prayers written out and ready in the event that I lose my ability to recall passages or remember to pray through certain experiences during my labouring.

Some books skirt the line between good and bad theology to the point where I feel like it is a lot of work to read through the book and decide on which aspects to receive, reject and redeem.  This book is mostly receivable because its basic premise is that it is God who sustains, who casts out fear, and who empowers us to courageously enter into childbirth without succumbing to the anxieties and lies that the enemy (the devil) wants to inflict in us.  Rather than focus on our power or abilities as mere mortals to cope with or overcome birth pains, this one points to the Creator through whom all things are possible and in whose authority and power we should trust. 

Add me to the list of people who recommend this book, especially to expectant moms who are filled with some levels of anxiousness and fear about the birth process.  The whole delivery thing used to freak me out too, but now the cycle of fear-tension-pain has been broken through being reminded of who I am and resting under the banner of Christ. :)


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