Hello and welcome to my blog! This blog is as much of an experiment for me as attempting a natural childbirth is. I'll be posting reviews on books I read, experiences I have while attempting to green our lives a bit more, and sometimes, general nonsense I come up with! Please feel free to comment and share information!

I look forward to hopefully making it through this experience with my own interesting story about giving birth naturally!


Your Best Birth: a Book Review

So, now that I have dedicated myself to this path of a natural and intervention free birth, I have started reading books like a maniac. 

There is one book I was trying not to read. Naturally, it ended up being the best one I have read so far. But really, who would have though Rikki Lake could write a fabulous, motivational and educational book about childbirth. I mean really!!

When I was pregnant with Silas, I had heard in my "Enriched Lamaze" class (pause to laugh at the memory of what a joke that class was) at the hospital that Rikki Lake had made a movie about childbirth and it was a MUST see. Some of the women were talking about The Business of Being Born, and I just cynically rolled my eyes at them and said, "where do I sign up for an epidural? is it possible to get 2, you know, just in case?"

I still haven't seen it. But, after reading their book, Your Best Birth, am seriously considering doing the one thing I said I would never do, and watch a movie about childbirth. Of course, I also said I would never do a natural childbirth either, and here I am training and preparing for that as well. 

What else will I end up doing I said I never would? Hmm...

But, I digress. 

Your Best Birth is thus far, the best book I have read on natural childbirth. It starts out with a foreword (which I normally don't read but did this time), by the head of obstetrics at St.Luke's Roosevelt Hospital in NYC. Which, just so happens to be the very same hospital where I had Silas and where I will be giving birth, hopefully in the birthing center, again this time around.  Then it continued on with the authors, Rikki Lake (yeah, I still kind of laugh at that, but if Dolly Parton is an intelligent woman, a trashy talk show host can be as well, right?) and Abby Epstein share their birth stories. In detail. 

I think the fact that they are not doctors, they are not people who came up with the "next best" childbirth method. They are just two women, who had birth experiences that made them believe that all women need to be better informed regarding their choices in childbirth. Do they advocate more for a natural, intervention free birth. Yes, absolutely. Are they preachy about it? Nope, not at all!

They say that for some women, epidurals and c-sections are needed and wanted and that does not make them worse mothers than those who labor and birth naturally. They really do drive home the point that this is about knowledge. The better informed you are about your choices, the better your birth experience will be. Because lets face it, sometimes interventions are necessary, but if you are informed about your choices ahead of time, you can still maintain some control over what is happening to you. 

They give lists of great questions to ask your doctor, midwife, the teacher at your birth class, the hospital staff during your tour, etc. And, these are great questions--that made me think of even more on my own. And, the book also gave me the confidence to ask all of these questions.

Their sections of "Birth Goddesses", were so inspiring without being annoyingly inspirational. Huh? I just mean that these were real women, just telling their birth stories, not some inspirational or motivational poster with a picture of a humpback whale and some cheesy quote. You could feel their emotions as the stories were being told. It was just... real.

Plus, and I have to emphasize this, they keep it light. There were lines that made me laugh out loud. Not in the same way I did when I read "Belly Laughs" by Jenny McCarthy, but in a way that still solicited a few glances in my direction on the subway!

Now, scare tactics works both ways. Doctors and hospital try to scare us with fancy language we don't understand saying it will be better for baby and us if... and natural childbirth advocates scare you with statistics about how much more dangerous c-sections are than vaginal deliveries, etc. But, this book provides both. They give you the statistics and reasons for natural childbirth, while also giving you the very valid reasons why one might want or need an epidural or c-section.  It is fairly well balanced in that sense. 

Bottom line: If you are expecting, even if this isn't your first, read this book. If you know someone who is expecting, don't buy them "The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy", but them this book. 

I read so many books about pregnancy when I was pregnant with Silas, and they all basically said the same thing in different words. And every single one of them glossed over the actual labor and delivery portion of the program, which, isn't that what pregnancy is all leading to and about?? This time around, I am making smarter decision and reading about labor and delivery instead of pregnancy. 

Now, I need to run and add The Business of Being Born to my Netflix queue.

1 comment:

awolf24 said...

Great review. I'm still in awe of your natural childbirth decision but after reading your commentary, I would consider this book simply to be more informed. And yes, I laughed my way through Jenny McCarthy's "Belly Laughs" as well.