Saturday, May 30, 2009

Birth, I think I will talk about birth...

I haven't gotten over my most recent birth books kick (though I'm always interested in birth, I I go through phases where I read a ton of birth books and then get kind of "done" and read about other subjects instead). So during the past week (and last) I finished reading:

Open Season--A book from the 90's about VBAC. I really enjoyed this one. As I mentioned on Facebook, Nancy Wainer has often been critiqued as "too angry." Well, I guess I like angry, because I thought it was a great book! I didn't see it as angry, but as firey and passionate and I like those things! As someone pointed out to me on Facebook, anger can burn people out and can cause relationship issues. I do not feel like an angry person myself (though a passionate one), so I'll "enjoy" it from afar :) In the introduction she actually referenced the whole angry thing and said something that I really liked [addressing those who would dismiss her work as "angry"]--"Don't bite my finger, look where I'm pointing!" The book read more like a manifesto or treatise or philosophy than a "guidebook" per se--not very much practical information. Lots of ideas, theory, and beliefs. I marked MANY pages to quote from, but today is just a sum-up-and-post day! Oh wait, here was a good one though: "If childbirth classes really 'worked,' more women would be having babies without interference. More women would be recognizing the complete naturalness of birth and would remain at home, delivering their infants with feelings of confidence and trust. More and more, midwives would be demanded. The names of those hospitals and doctors who treated women and babies with anything less than absolute respect would be public knowledge, and childbirth classes would be the first place these names would be discussed. 'You're seeing What's-His-Face? He's a pig! In my opinion, of course,' I tell people who come to my classes. I then proceed to give them the names of people who have used Pig-face. They can always ask Dr. P. for the names of people who have used him and been satisfied with their births, for balance."

Woman-Centered Pregnancy & Birth--had never heard of this one until reading the above and promptly bought this one as well. I was attracted by the title, because I consider my birth classes to be rooted in a "woman-centered model." However, it was much more of a basic pregnancy and birth book than I expected (I guess coming from a woman-centered perspective though?), so it was less theory and treatise and more, "here is how to examine your cervix and this is what it looks like at different points in your cycle." I actually ended up skimming it a bit, which is rare for me, but it was "elementary" for me and/or technically outdated.

Teaching Natural Birth--This one was interesting (also an older book--not only am I on a birth books kick, I'm on an older birth books kick!). It wasn't a book of teaching tips or even "how to teach," but was more of a business structure book (handling inquiry calls, buying teaching aids, that sort of thing). Pretty unique in the birth book world, really. The author is very religious and there were religious references liberally scattered throughout.

I also finished reading Birth Tides: Turning Towards Homebirth, which I've been reading for quite some time (it isn't that engaging--reads like an ongoing research project or dissertation). It is a 1995 book about homebirth in Ireland. One thing I found amusing was that one of the benefits of homebirth was "being able to have a cigarette whenever you want in labor." LOL! I don't think we'd see that in a book now!

I finally bought my own copy of the film Birth Day and watched that recently. My doula trainer referred to it as a "juicy" birth film. It is a nice one. I really enjoy it. The actual video is only like 11 minutes, but there are lots of "special features" on it as well (interview clips)

Finally, I read Down Came the Rain from the library. This is Brooke Shields' memoir about postpartum depression. It was interesting, though not particularly well-written and though it was a "personal" book, I found it hard to connect emotionally with the author/story--she seemed "distant" somehow.


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