Book 7 – Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
I just recently finished this book and it has changed the way I see and feel about being pregnant, labour, delivery, and a bit about everyday life and the way our fears and perceptions affect us.
The book starts with 127 pages full of positive and empowering birth stories – these aren’t the horror stories we’ve been brought up hearing, or the exaggerated drama birth scenes we see in the media, they aren’t about pushing a certain way of birth or lifestyle, they are just simple stories about women giving birth.
That part really made me step back and think about how I was introduced and exposed to birth stories. During my first pregnancy when I was twenty-one, every woman I met had to tell me how hard it was and painful and they were in labour for this many hours and they wouldn’t have been able to do without the drugs and so on. I still delivered my first child with very little drugs and interventions but do feel that compared to today, I was ignorant of the true nature of birth.
My second pregnancy – two and a half years ago – was a bit different because I was vocal and told everyone that I wanted a natural birth with no pain medications. I thought that would be enough to get them to help me but I was wrong, there were still a few things that happened during the birth that I didn’t like and that caused me more pain then necessary. (I still did it drug free though)
Now with this pregnancy, I am very thankful that I picked up this book and read it through. After the birth stories she – Ina May (The Nation’s Leading Midwife) – goes on to break down the myths and medical jargon or birth and labor. She explains what all the interventions are, how they can benefit or hinder a natural birth or disempower a woman. She talks about the physiology of birth and pathology of birth and how our fears have a big part to play in how painful or stressful birth can be.
This book made me a bit upset as I realized just how far down the medical world has brought the simple and natural process of birth. Birth is something that every woman is born and able to do, naturally, without drugs and independently. At the same time I do recognize the many children are saved from advances in medical procedures but unfortunately many of these ‘advances’ are used for convenience and not because there is any danger or because the woman is somehow made ‘wrong’ and can’t deliver.
I think this book should come free with every positive pregnancy test and that every doctor should recommend it, most midwifes do.
This book has changed my life in so many ways including the path that I plan to take with it. I’ve decided to get my Doula Certification so that I can help woman make informed choices and be empowered by their birth instead of ashamed by it. Possibly in the future I may look to getting my midwifery license as well but it’s a hard thing to get where I am.
If you or anyone you know is pregnant or plans to be, please recommend this book. If nothing else it will inform and empower you.