There is a survey up on the Independent Childbirth blog asking who your “birth link” is—your primary connection to information about birth. Traditionally, women learned about birth from other women—informal, woman-to-woman birth sharing. Culturally, we’ve moved away from this as our primary information source (often to our detriment!).
Of course, I think independent childbirth educators and independent birth classes are great “birth links” 🙂
Thinking back to my first pregnancy, my primary birth link was the newsgroup misc.kids.pregnancy. I learned so much there and they really shaped my attitudes and beliefs about birth. I have a very birth-positive mother, but I didn’t really go to her for birth information. I felt the need for my “peers” and I found those most readily online. My other link was reading (of course!). I read voraciously and always have. It was hard to transfer “book learning” to really feeling *prepared* to actually give birth though.
I also took an independent birth class. Since I was so extensively read, I do not remember feeling like I learned many new things from the classes.
During my second pregnancy, books were huge again, but this time around my in-person friends were also a very valuable birth link. I am lucky to have a wonderful network of birthy friends who can talk about birth with me for hours on end. One friend in particular was very inspiring to me as I worked through some “issues” I had from my first birth (the birthing itself was tremendously empowering and beautiful, but afterwards I had sequestered clots and a painful manual extraction of those, a pitocin shot, and also tearing that was traumatic for me for some time to come). My friend is a fabulous example of someone who really “trusts birth” and it was so great to talk with her during the course of my pregnancy <waves to Shauna…>