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The Gift of Giving Life: Rediscovering the Divine Nature of Pregnancy and Birth
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The Gift of Giving Life: Rediscovering the Divine Nature of Pregnancy and Birth

4.54  ·  Rating details ·  237 ratings  ·  79 reviews
Pregnancy and childbirth are not to be feared; they are divinely appointed processes that can be joyful, spiritual, and bring families closer to God. The Gift of Giving Life: Rediscovering the Divine Nature of Pregnancy and Birth offers something that no other pregnancy book has before-a spiritual look at pregnancy and birth by and for LDS women and other women of faith. T ...more
Paperback, 521 pages
Published April 28th 2012 by Madison & West Publishing
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Jun 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I so rarely bestow a 5 star rating on a book. But, when I realized I only had 30 pages left of this book I started to bawl. That's how much I didn't want the book to end. Not even 500 pages of stories and essays could satisfy my desire to keep reading. I love this book.

I am pregnant with my 4th child and I wish I had read this book when I was pregnant with my first (though in truth, it didn't exist then). I have always loved pregnancy, birth, babies, and nursing. But this book made me appreciat
May 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: birth
My son's birth story is on pg. 331, VBAC Miracle. ...more
Jun 20, 2012 rated it really liked it

Loved this book. I want to buy for all of the women whose baby showers I attend. It started out as a natural birth book, but morphed into so much more. I loved the inclusion of a spiritual cesearean birth, and other birth options. If you are truly in tune with the spirit, you will receive the revelation that is right for your birth. It is hefty at over 500 pages, but it can totally be read in teeny pieces. Tons of stories and for this birth, it was the best birth book I could have read. Findin
Jun 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012-books
Reviewed by Molly Remer, Talk Birth (

Written for women who wish to delve into the divine nature of pregnancy and birth from a Christian perspective, The Gift of Giving Life is co-authored by several childbirth educators and doulas who are also members of the Latter-Day Saints (LDS) church. The book is rich with the stories and experiences of dozens of LDS women who share their birth stories and reflections. These additional stories are sprinkled throughout the body of the tex
Alanna Smith
Jan 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I actually read this two years ago, but forgot to review it at the time. When I first read it, I was pregnant with my 4th child and desperately trying to figure out how to finally get the birth I wanted. I'd had an emergency c-section, an accidental home birth (assisted by EMTs), and a natural hospital birth, but most had left me feeling bullied (and occasionally assaulted) by the doctors and nurses involved, and I was dreading having to go through that again.

The entire book is full of worthwhil
May 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, religion
This is a beautiful book. I loved reading others' thoughts about the childbirth symbols found in the scriptures and in the covenants we make.

Update July 2016:
The first time I read this book, I devoured it in probably two days. I loved the birth stories, I loved reading about the gospel connections others made (even if I didn't see things the same way), and I loved the positive way so many of these women made choices and framed their unique experiences. The five star rating was probably a bit of
Bonnie Atkinson
May 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is the quintessential book on birth, not just for expectant mothers, but expectant fathers, friends, grandparents, and those who simply want to understand the physical, emotional, and spiritual underpinnings of birth as a process every human being undergoes. It is a text on the greatest gift of womanhood, whether or not one experiences it within her own body. It is beautiful and profound and empowering. Read it to understand your own birth. Read it to understand the magnitude of birth. ...more
Jul 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I bought this because a friend recommended it with such raging enthusiasm I couldn't resist. I had high expectations and serious doubts ... how could a bunch of LDS birth stories not be corny and lame? But I was so surprised and impressed.

I've been a follower of Heather Farrell's blog for years, so when I saw that she was a main contributor I was willing to give it a go. So fantastic. Made me see myself, my body, my children, my husband, and God with new light. LOVE that.

HIGHLY recommended.
Some "out there" stuff, but mostly just really, really good information, inspiration, and food for thought. These authors obviously spent a lot of thought, energy, and time on this book. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to read it, and if I ever achieve my hopes of teaching birthing classes I would put this on the "recommended reading" list. ...more
2017: This was excellent! It gave a lot of encouragement, a lot of insight, a lot of new thoughts to ponder. I'll probably try to reread it at least once before the baby comes.

This book is a collection of essays and personal stories approaching pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period from an LDS perspective.

2020: rereading this in my second pregnancy.
Janey Allen
Apr 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I've really enjoyed reading this book. It's helped me cope with the loss of my baby and to think about pregnancy and childbirth in a new way. I love the many birth stories shared and the talk of Heavenly Mother. A truly wonderful book. ...more
Rachel Meyers
Feb 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The best book on motherhood I have ever read and its from an LDS perspective. Loved it becUse I have a different perspective now.
Lisa Lewis Robison
Dec 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I don't often give 5 stars, so when I do it means a book changed my life.
This one did.
Could not have been more excited to receive this book!

However, before reading I started flipping through and landed on Rixa's piece about a ” Heavenly mother ” And using quotes like ” some ones stake president said once in a stake conference”. ...All I could think to myself was, ” really?? They went there?” Ugh. I have not yet picked it up to read the whole thing. It kind of jaded me. I feel like this pseudo doctrine stuff is why many women in the church are so detached from the incredible holin
Oct 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I am just gleaning so much from this amazing (and divinely inspired, in my opinion) book and feel like I know each person that's contributed as a kindred spirit because of the connectedness. It seems as if Gift of Giving Life approached EVERYTHING about giving birth from a Mormon and Christian standpoint. Everything! I love the layout and can't seem to get enough of birth stories, so I was very pleased to read so many throughout the book that corresponded with the section they were in. As an avi ...more
Jul 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Although it may seem strange to some people that I read this book written for mothers about childbirth, I am so glad I accepted my wife's invitation to do so. This was a powerful book about how amazing and divine pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood are, and reading it helped me appreciate even more everything my wife does to be a mother. It was great reading about childbirth from a religious perspective and understanding more about the symbolism and divinity of the role that mothers play. The s ...more
Sep 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was one of the most spiritually nourishing books I've ever read (besides the scriptures of course. :) I love how it likens natural childbirth to the atonement, where women literally have to go through the valley of death in order to bring life into this world. I love how they discuss the need to cry unto the Lord in labor as only He can bring the ultimate comfort and peace during this time. In addition, I love the section on our legacy as Latter-Day women of being mothers. In the section on ...more
Jul 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
It's fun to read everyone's birth stories, and especially from an LDS point of view. Heather Farrell's were definitely my favorite essays, as they were so well based in the scriptures and extremely thoughtful and insightful. I feel like people get so caught up in the method of giving birth, and that bothers me. The truth is that the beauty of the birth process is in the fact that we are serving to bring forth one of our Father in Heaven's children. That is sacred no matter what method of deliver ...more
Aug 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Single women, married women and their husbands, mothers and mothers-to-be
Recommended to Shaylee by: Heather Farrell
Shelves: pregnancy-birth
I read this book before I was even married, and the peace that I felt as I read was incredible. I love the authors, and their willingness to share personal stories, and to sacrifice so much to give women all of this wonderful information. Having a book like this on topics that seem to be taboo not only in general society, but in Latter-day Saint culture is a true blessing - so very inspiring. Every single woman, wife, and mother should read this book. I was so happy to see it on Deseret Book she ...more
Tanaya Larsen
Jan 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book has changed my perspective on being pregnant and made me more excited for motherhood. I honestly didn't think of my last birth so spiritually, but I have already taken steps to include the lord more in this next one and hope my experience will be a better one. I took one star off because as an emotional, worrisome pregnant woman, some of the stories caused me more anxiety about this labor. I also respect those who feel right about doing home births, but I would have liked to see more h ...more
Jan 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is truly amazing. I would recommend it to any woman. It addresses natural birth, epidurals, c-sections, miscarriage, adoption, infertility, and so much more. The overwhelming feeling that I took away from this book is how truly divine it is to be a woman. There were so many essays that changed the way I see so many things. The essays on the two trees in the Garden of Eden and the atonement and heavenly mother were some of my favorites. Such beautiful and uplifting doctrine! Read it!!!! ...more
Aug 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. It was a fantastic spiritual conversation about childbearing and motherhood, supporting all kinds of experiences and situations. I LOVED learning about birth as it relates to the Gospel of Jesus Christ; it was a perspective I hadn't heard before. At least not in so much detail; can't imagine General Authorities and auxiliaries talking like that over the pulpit. But the book is sold at Deseret Book, which means they do support what's written in here! So I interesting ...more
Apr 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this book leading up to the birth of my first child, and it had such a positive impact on my birthing experience. I delivered a 10-pound baby without drugs, and the positive and empowering messages of this book helped me to achieve that. I have since gifted it to every woman I know who is pregnant. There were some stories that I couldn’t relate to or that I skipped altogether, but overall this book is such a great antidote to the culture of fear and dread around birth. I can’t recommend i ...more
May 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
I have read many pregnancy and mothering books. This one is the best I have read by far. It is LDS but I believe any Christian woman would find value in it. It is wonderfully uplifting, positive and helpful. It provides information about every kind of birth and making positive choices and the joy of motherhood. It discusses all sorts of things and provides gospel perspectives and thoughts. I heartily recommend this book to all the women I know.
A fabulous book about the spiritual aspects of birth from a Mormon perspective. There are lots of unique stories and perspectives, as well as more in-depth articles about scriptural and spiritual accounts of birth. It's one I would recommend to any pregnant LDS woman, as well as those who are looking for a book about the spiritual side of birth from any faith. ...more
Jan 06, 2013 rated it liked it
There are some really good essays and some that border a philosophy or belief system that I am not sure I always entirely agree with. I will definitely keep this book and enjoy going back to it every now and again. I do like that it is full of both birth stories and birth essays. It makes the book a little more dynamic and useful to me.
Aug 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
The beauty of this book is that there is something here for everyone. You can find beautiful essays about natural home births, beautiful essays about scheduled c-sections, and everything in-between. It's all here. All are welcome and I think all will come away from this book edified.

Thanks to my MIL for letting me steal her copy!
Sep 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Overall, a very interesting and valuable look at birth from a Christian and LDS perspective. But as with lots of books that have multiple authors, some of the articles are a mixed bag. Most are very good and doctrinally sound, others venture towards weird beliefs and gave off a new-age-y spiritualism vibe rather than being rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
May 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book and I think anybody would. It is for any woman on any journey through and to motherhood. I liked it so much I did a full review on my blog- ...more
Heather Barson
Dec 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Best. Birth book. Ever. And I've read a lot of birth books. You don't have to be LDS to appreciate this book. I recommend it to all my doula clients. My copy is currently on loan to one of them. I may have to purchase more copies to share! ...more
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