Birth by Tina Cassidy
Who is the intended audience of this book? Care providers of pregnant women… if they actually take time to read it, the may learn something. Women of childbearing age or younger or anyone in their families…. DO NOT read this book
It is scary to read and starting with the first chapter, that alone will make you question mankind’s ability to still exist because of all the horrible things that can go wrong during birth. Most of these stories are from women who lived long ago and had Rickets, which caused bone softening and pelvic deformation. Luckily if you are reading this you most likely live in a society where Rickets no longer exists. But the fear and scariness doesn’t stop there.
As a Childbirth Educator and doula, I found it an interesting though disturbing read. It was one of those books where you are yelling at it at times. Partly because of the stupidity of what has gone on throughout the history of birth. But also party because I felt like it was SO negative. I just would NEVER let a pregnant women read it, she might go sign up for an Elective Cesarean, because the overall tone of the book is birth is scary… complete with horrific stories (mostly due to Rickets which no longer exists in America) to demonstrate it.
I did enjoy the section on the Dawn of Doctors, where I learned more about some inspired care providers and their journeys. Grantly Dick-Read who wrote Childbirth Without Fear and Fernand Lamaze were of extra interest to me as a Hypnobabies Instructor, because I learned that their teachings included a lot of mind over body thinking, as well as the importance of hospital staff supporting and believing in the moms ability to have a comfortable birth. Having been a mom using hypnosis during my 2nd birth, totally comfortable and the nurses telling me at least 3 times, as soon as your water breaks it is going to hurt… not surprisingly when my water broke it did start to hurt. When I had my 3rd baby, I used Hypnobabies and had a Bubble of Peace to protect me from the negativity of those around me, including the hospital staff.
I learned about Emanuel Friedman who watched birthing women and came up with the bell curve of the length of typical stages of birth. He is horrified on how that information is used today. “We found an average. People think the average is what women should fall upon. That is clearly not true but rather a broad range of normality beyond which a potential abnormality may or may not exist. These abnormalities are not in themselves justification for forceps or cesarean… It doesn’t’ mean she’s doing so badly that you have to do something terrible to her. That is being abused.”
So this one chapter I found to be very informative and enjoyable to read.
The tools and fads chapter was an interesting look at the different ways people dealt with and currently deal with Childbirth. It was disappointing to me how in a chapter that could have had positive parts to it… ie waterbirth, hypnosis etc, there was still an over all fear feeling to it. In the waterbirth section the main focus seemed to be on why it is fought against by many care providers, with of course stories of babies dying included.
Please if you are pregnant or ever will be do NOT read this book, it is too negative, with the exception of the Dawn of Doctors chapter, there was nothing positive I will take from this book.
I especially disliked the last 2 pages. The author looks back even after all she has learned she wouldn’t change anything about her birth… sort of defeatist attitude. (She had a very medically managed birth ending up in a cesarean,) but does concede maybe she should have chosen a midwife and had a doula.
“Women will forever give birth in many different ways – either by design or through forces out of our control. As for the latter, we can only hope to be pleasantly surprised.”
Really, I guess one might believe this after reading the book. But knowing what I know as a childbirth educator and VBAC mom, the choices we make starting with our care provider down to positions we choose during birth can make a HUGE impact on our birth.
If you want to be empowered by books about birth, I suggest reading the following instead of this one.
The Thinking Women’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
If you want a history about childbirth in the USA but would like to feel empowered by the knowledge rather than defeated try,
Born in the USA by Mardsen Wagner