Posted 20 hours ago

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth

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The first part is a compilation of birth stories from lots and lots of women; many will make you cry with joy. With Gaskin's timeless wisdom, you can approach birth with confidence and excitement, wherever and however it happens. Long story short (seriously, I just wrote my whole birth saga in 10 long paragraphs and deleted them because this is a BOOK REVIEW), my birth did not go according to plan either.

And this insane social pressure on moms begins even before kids are born, in the Natural Childbirth movement that this book represents.The birth stories in this book, and Gaskin's explanations of the process, gave me a total confidence in my ability to do this crazy-sounding thing. Highly recommended, i have stopped attending labor classes in my village cause this book is far more updated and gives a view positive (and not scary or bloody) about having a baby. It has helped me and countless other women to overcome standard western views of children, namely fear and of childbirth, and it also demonstrates that there simply is no 'one size fits all' in labour: all women labour differently, and all women can be aided by different methods to ease their labour experiences. That said, though, there are perfectly valid reasons why some of us do give birth in hospitals, and not all hospital births are the nightmare that natural childbirth books make them out to be. Almost half of the book is "positive" stories of people choosing home birth and traumatic stories by these choosing a hospital.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of it was filled with messages of female empowerment and a clear bias against anything having to do with modern medicine. Here's the thing (and I'm finally getting to the book review part of this review, I promise): Motherhood has become a competitive sport in our culture. i liked the second part more, and found the information thought-provoking in many instances, but overall it left me worried and doubting my choice to use a doctor/hospital/epidural, etc. Here's the birth plan: We go to the hospital, and we come out with a healthy baby, and two healthy moms. A little like "I have found truth and if this doesn't work for you, it's probably because you're repressed and have been brainwashed by patriarchy and big pharma.

This "guide to childbirth" is only a guide if you are outside a hospital but was helpful regardless. Motherhood is Not a Competition: Why Pressure Moms to Strive for the "Perfect" Natural Childbirth (and make them feel guilty if that isn't in the cards)? The whole intense experience was deeply invigorating and actually GAVE me the energy I needed to cope with the first couple of difficult weeks with a new baby. However, I think it's a bit out of date, especially in terms of what the hospital will and won't allow (but we'll see). Ina May's Guide to Childbirth is skewed toward natural childbirth and can get a little culty, especially all the stories about The Farm, but I found the information in the second part of the book really helpful even when planning for a hospital birth.

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