The Positive Birth Book Review

Milli Hill, creator of The Positive Birth Movement, has written the most refreshing and updated pregnancy book you can currently get your hands on!

I reached out to Milli Hill with a long lost hope that she would respond to my little email about being a contributor for our upcoming book, The Many Faces of Home Birth. I couldn’t believe her willingness to be a part of the project especially as she was working on finishing up her own book. I stalked all things The Positive Birth Movement and anxiously awaited the release of her book, The Positive Birth Book. 

On March 16th, the book was released and magically showed up on my Kindle! I spent the evening reading through Milli’s engaging and entertaining words. After three home births we are done having kiddos, however, the desire to learn and know as much as I can about birth never fades. I still get excited when I get to read any birth story or when I get to hear a positive perspective regarding birth- any birth. That is really the soul of Milli’s heart. Milli’s goal is to help all women experience the birth they wish to have. I love that! The goal isn’t to try to get every woman to have a home birth; the goal is to provide women with resources and information that is positive, accurate, and welcoming. When women have choices and resources to explore and plan the birth right for them and their family, everything about their perspective on birth changes. The fear fades and excitement takes over.

One of the greatest aspects of The Positive Birth Book is the overwhelming feeling that you are about to be welcomed into a group of women who are empowered by their birth choices, confident in their choices, and supported for those reasons. Because at the end of the day, it’s YOUR birth. No one else is going to be pushing that baby out or having the Cesarean. It’s all about you and your birth team.

Isn’t it exciting to know that YOU are in charge. Never before have women had the opportunity to be so educated about their births. Never before have I heard women sharing so openly and honestly about birth. Please join in the conversation, no matter what stage you are at in your family planning- it’s never too early to get educated and it’s never too late to share your wisdom:-).

Love,

Shantel

 

 

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

Ina May's Guide to ChildbirthAhhh, the gold standard for expecting home birth mamas! It’s true, everyone should read this gem of a book to explore the wisdom of Ina May Gaskin. In Guide to Childbirth, Gaskin uses birth stories and informative narrative to instruct expectant moms and midwives on natural childbirth. Once again, the beauty is in Gaskin’s language circling birth and the choices women make around their birth(s).

Chapter Four, Sphincter Law, was my visual guide during my first birth. I’m positive it was also my midwife’s gauge during the pushing stage. Of course many women find that the birth stories provide invaluable information and inspiration.

Chapter Three focuses on how we view pain and fear during childbirth. After three home births, I am consistently asked how I managed the pain of childbirth. In America, the images of childbirth that are in mainstream media, told around the kitchen table or  shared in the workplace are often riddled with horror and pain. Gaskin paints a different picture of birth and the pain associated with labor. As my birth teacher says, “It’s pain with purpose.” Yes and yes!

Ina May also suggests many tools and techniques to cope with the pain and fear often associated with childbirth. Gaskin provides evidence and potential side effects if one chooses to medicate in an effort to avoid pain associated with birth. This is key. I hear many women share that they didn’t realize what would happen after they chose medication during childbirth. Ask questions. Always.

Although the information and stories in  a Guide to Childbirth are timeless, approachable, and accurate, I do wish the stories were more contemporary and encompassing of a variety of women. Again, this isn’t a criticism, just an observation that frankly doesn’t matter as I was initially inspire to take the home birth journey thanks to Ina May!

Pushed

 Pushed   : The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care by Jennifer Block is a must read for anyone who cares about maternity care = everyone. Block explores maternity care with an incredible balance between credible research and anecdote. Her voice consistently searches for the truth while maintaining a focus that aims to shed light on the experiences of modern women navigating the shockingly muddy waters of having a baby in modern America.

I especially appreciate Block’s investigation that pushes back against the damaging and infuriating phrase, “The only thing that matters is a healthy baby!”. Of course a healthy baby matters, but so does a happy mama and family. As anyone who has experienced a traumatic birth, nearly 85% of women in the U.S., this simply isn’t true (Northrup, MD). In a modern society, we can do better for our mamas, babies, and families.

Not only is Pushed a history lesson for many, it has the power, through knowledge, to instill confidence  in women when discussing their birth options with their healthcare provider-no matter where or how they choose to birth. On a deeper level, Pushed can also be a tool in opening conversations with our mothers and grandmothers regarding their birth experiences.

Pushed is the updated and evidence based resource I was looking for during my first two pregnancies. I read it throughout my third pregnancy, and I still regard it as one of my best resources for discussing home birth with those who have questions and/or concerns. It did take a bit to get through as several sections are dense with statistics. Get your highlighters and pens ready to take notes! I would also suggest a few post-it notes. Enjoy!