I bought myself a little present on Amazon recently--a fresh copy of An Easier Childbirth by Gayle Peterson. I read this book from the library when I was pregnant with L and I've been wanting to read it again for quite some time. Reading it brought back all kinds of memories and all the questions, fears, thoughts I had during that time in my life--so many unknowns with a first pregnancy. I remember feeling like I was studying for the biggest "test" of my life and books like this felt like my textbooks--like if I studied them hard enough, I could do it "right." Now, I know that you can't really study for birth, though I do think that being well-read and well-informed is a good thing. Well, if you are reading positive, confidence building, woman-centered, birth affirming books like this one! This book focuses on the psychological elements of birth preparation and birth experiences. It validates the importance of birth experiences in women's lives and is quite good.
A quote I loved (quoting a midwife named Rhonda):
"It is not 'ladylike' to give birth. The strength and power of labor is not demure."
In seriousness though, I think she's onto something. I think that our country's high rate of epidural use is probably connecting to the whole issue of wanting to remain "in control" and not to be roaring the baby out in an "unladylike" manner.