Birthing From Within® was conceived and developed by Pam England, MA, CNM, homebirth midwife and mother, who, inspired by her own birth experiences, developed this innovative, holistic approach to childbirth and postpartum preparation.
When Pam became pregnant for the first time in 1982, she believed that her plan to birth at home was ensured because of her dedication to excellent prenatal nutrition, baking her own bread, wearing Birkenstock sandals, and putting her fingers in her ears when anyone spoke about cesarean birth. However, after a long labor at home in which she tried every possible alternative known to midwifery, she was transferred to the hospital for the cesarean birth she most feared.
While lying on the operating table being draped for surgery, Pam mused over the irony that although she knew more about birth than any of the women in her family, living or dead, she was the first to have a cesarean! Before her cesarean, Pam believed women could avoid surgery and other interventions by arming themselves with information, a positive attitude. But in this perfect, unexpected twist of fate, her harsh disdain of cesarean mothers softened into camaraderie.
Moments later on the operating table, the course of Pam’s life changed when her entire being was permeated with these questions:
What did I need to know to give birth as a mother that I didn’t already know as a midwife?
What do all modern women need to know to give birth-in-awareness in a medicalized birth culture?
These questions preoccupied Pam for years, leading her to meet influential teachers including Michel Odent in Pithivier, France in 1984. She earned her Masters in Psychology & Counseling from Antioch, with an emphasis on Perinatal Psychology and Hypnosis in 1989.
During her second pregnancy in 1990, Pam understood the importance of inviting all the “Birth Fairies,” (not just Homebirth Fairies), to her labor. She reasoned that she didn’t need to do special preparation if the birth was destined to be normal, the baby would just “fall out.” Instead, she faced her biggest birth Tiger, cesarean birth, by planning a mindful cesarean.
Pam gave birth to her second son, easily and quickly. Soon after, she began to envision childbirth classes that would both educate and initiate parents so they too could learn to face their birth Tigers and invite all the Birth Fairies without attachment to outcome. Over a period of eight years, she developed a totally new model and structure for childbirth classes, and tested and refined many new multi-sensory processes that now comprise the Birthing From Within approach to childbirth preparation. Her approach is described in her first book, Birthing From Within, which was edited by Rob Horowitz and self-published by Partera Press in 1998.
This year marks nineteen years since the first Birthing From Within workshop was presented in Austin, Texas. Since then countless birth professionals across the country and in other countries have been touched by the philosophy and unique multi-sensory process that comprise this approach. Many have enrolled in the certification programs for childbirth mentors and doulas. It is through their teachings, practice, and writings, as well as those of our new team of facilitators, and our members that this body of work continues to thrive and gently shift the paradigm of birth in our culture.