Highlighting aspects of birth often taken for granted, ignored or left silenced, this book questions the art and meaning of childbirth. Addressing spirituality in and around the start of life from a variety of thought-provoking perspectives, it examines the apparent paradox of impersonal biomedical-technocratic systems operating alongside the meaningful experiences encountered by those involved. Themes covered include:
Notions of holism and spirituality, culture, religion and spirituality
Childbirth significance at societal level
Spiritual care in maternity care provision
Birth environment, mood, space and place
Spiritual experience of all those involved, including health professionals
Spiritual experience when birth is complex and challenging
When birth and death are juxtaposed.
Although there is considerable literature on spirituality at the end of life, this is the only book that draws together a global and multidisciplinary selection of academic researchers and practitioners to reflect on spirituality at the start of life. Each chapter explores the relevant theoretical background and makes links to practice, using case studies from research and practice. The chapters conclude by discussing: how spiritual care is, and should be, provided in this context; what practice approaches are beneficial; cross-cultural perspectives; and future directions for research. It is an important read for all those interested in childbirth, maternity care, social science perspectives on health and illness, and spirituality.