What is pregnancy and birth really about?
The answer depends on what culture one is in, what the circumstances are, and who you ask.
Today, in the U.S., I am not quite sure we have kept our connection to the sacred, primal, usually simple process that is being pregnant and giving birth. Mainstream America doesn’t value a mom’s intuition in the process, encourage her to relish each and every moment of her empowerment as a (pregnant) woman. “Rite of passage” is an un-politically correct concept, because women should be able to come by a baby by many means, and pregnancy is no longer considered a special and exalted space.
Pregnancy and birth are only the beginning in creating a family, a community, a connection to our lineage. A wonderful pregnancy means not only health, but growth for the woman and baby and family on a spiritual and emotional level, as well as the physical. Pregnancy, labor and birth gives a woman one of the most unique ways to connect with her soul- by connecting with the spirit of another who lives inside of her. It is her chance to imagine and create a piece of the world.
Sandy Jamieson’s creation, Zaida Baby-My First Keepsake is the reminder we need to connect again with what pregnancy really means. Sandy’s album of black-and-white photographs of pregnant mamas and their families are truly stunning. More than being beautiful to look at, they resonate at a deep level with the essence of what it means to be full of life. There is a simple, unspoken spiritual reaction I have to paging through her book. The photos and the words connect in a way to remind me that pregnancy is uncomplicated yet miraculous. The babies and families remind me that pregnancy is a journey for all involved, and that it is just a moment in time that should be relished and cherished.
Sandy’s book will help remind any pregnant woman, no matter where she comes from, that it is okay to love her body and to love the process and that there is value in connecting with her baby way before birth. And that she, as well as her baby, is truly fortunate (the meaning of “zaida”). Beyond inspiring, the book also includes a section that is for personal memories and photographs. In my opinion, the message is that pregnancy is a different experience for all women, from literal “belly measurements” to personal letters written from mom to baby. The final section of the book is from the baby’s perspective at birth and in the year afterwards. It is the nicest of “baby books”, and ends with several pages for family photographs.
I am grateful for the messages that Sandy sends with her Zaida Baby- in a time and culture where nothing about women’s bodies (or birth) is viewed as sacred, this book is so meaningful. When words and stories don’t remind us where we all came from, pictures sometimes do.
Thank you, Sandy, for reminding us what pregnancy and birth are really about.
Sandy Jamieson can be reached via her website, www.zaidababy.com. You can also view a preview of the keepsake book, purchase a copy online, read press reviews and visit Sandy’s blog.