Saturday, December 27, 2008

80's Birth Books

In November, I finished reading some "vintage" birth books from the 1980's. I can't believe I used to avoid books like this because I assumed that the "dated" pictures on the covers would come with "dated" inside content. Instead, there is a great deal of "fresh" insight in them and I enjoy them a great deal.

I read:

Sheila Kitzinger's The Experience of Childbirth--this book was interesting (and unique/fresh) in its exploration of birth as an experience. The focus was on emotions and relationships and personality and all kinds of things that influence birth, and the experience of giving birth, other than physiology. It did have a long section on breathing techniques that no longer are in "fashion." It also had a lot of information about childbirth education and effective birth education that I thought was very interesting and relevant.

And I then read her Woman's Experience of Sex. One point she made in the book with regard to virginity that a girl is seen as "losing something" while a boy is seen as gaining something. While discussing the sexuality of birth she uses a beautiful analogy: "A woman who is enjoying her labor swings into the rhythm of contractions as if birth-giving were a powerful dance, her uterus creating the beat. She watches for it, concentrates on it, like an orchestra following its conductor."

And then Elizabeth Noble's Childbirth with Insight. Again, some really good observations for childbirth educators. There is a particularly lyrical and engaging and descriptive writing style in all of these books that seems different than present-day writings. Perhaps present-day books try to be more dynamic or fast-paced? I'm not sure exactly what the difference is, but these older books give me more "ah ha!" or "oh, cool!" or "what a great way to describe xyz" feeling than more current birth books that I've read recently.

I also re-read portions of my favorite 80's birth book, Transformation Through Birth by Claudia Panuthos.

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