Updates: Birth stuff (including a book review for Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering)

  • Birth stuff:  I am so very excited about the natural childbirth classes I’m teaching.  The first class is tonight!  I’m sort of considering whether or not to publish my teacher & student notes from the class…  Well, maybe it’s too early to mention that, because I only have week one done!  What I’m doing is compiling info from various sources, writing notes, fleshing out a plan… then doing the final writing.  So, I only have the first week’s notes 100% complete.  🙂  Stay tuned.  I also was going to suggest that anyone who is personally interested in what I’m teaching to e-mail me for copies of the notes before I publish them… but that wouldn’t work right now, because they’re “stuck” on my computer which doesn’t have an internet connection right now, so I can’t e-mail them.  (I’m posting this from my husband’s laptop.)
  • More birth stuff:  I was at the library on Friday, looking for a different birth book when I stumbled upon this:  Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering by Sarah J. Buckley, MD.  If I hadn’t seen the book in “real life”, I am pretty confident I would not have been interested in something written by a medical doctor.  However, so far, it has been the BEST book on birthing that I’ve ever read, though I have not yet read the whole thing.  Buckley is a family practitioner who lives in Australia, and who has also birthed her four children at home.  The info is, according to my personal preferences and opinion, the perfect marriage of natural/”hippie” and medical/scientific.  The book itself is about 80% birthing and 20% mothering.  It includes more than 50 pages of endnotes, mostly from medical journals and medical studies.  There are 13 chapters and most chapters have well over 100 endnotes.  In other words, it is EXTREMELY well researched.  Oddly enough, though it has such a strong scientific anchor, some of the negative reviews I read of it said the book is too far “out there” and that the author is going to scare off curious, potential natural birthers by the side stories of her own experiences, which include a waterbirth that was 3 weeks after her son’s EDD, and the “lotus birth” she chose for her son — preserving the cord & placenta of one child until the entire thing fell off naturally…  Admitted:  the author is definitely “New-Agey”*, and some of her personal choices with birth seem a bit extreme.  HOWEVER, even as a committed Christian, I can easily see the value of the research and analysis she presents (especially as she does so in a very readable, engaging style), even if I don’t agree with some of her philosophy and religious views.  From my perspective, I see natural birth as the culmination of the beautiful and apparently opposite aspects of God:  He is servant and king.  He is rational and spiritual.  He is both concrete and abstract.  And, I can easily insert/replace my own viewpoints in the places where the author’s opinion differs from mine.  No problem.  Anyway, most of the author’s “out there” opinions are written as asides on gray-tinted pages, so they are easily avoidable, if they offend.


*Example of the “New-Agey” feel of some of the author’s writing, from the side story of her son’s birth:  “Thinking back, I can almost feel a shimmer in the air;  some solidification of the spirit that would become our third child Jacob, who had now found the smallest crack in a previously closed door and was heading toward earth — toward us, his new family — at the speed of light.”


About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on November 7, 2011, in Introspective Musings. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. That book sounds really interesting! I wonder if I would be able to get my hands on it through inter-library loan… And on that note, if you get your notes unstuck off your computer, I would LOVE to see them. My husband and I are now off any sort of prevention and I’m hoping to get pregnant sooner rather than later. 😀 I have liked almost everything you have had to say about birth and would love to see more!

    • Heidi, you really should try for it via ILL! Actually, I purchased a copy for myself, because I keep wanting to highlight stuff. 🙂 It was about $13.50US on Amazon, with shipping.

      And, I’m really excited for you and your husband!!!!!!!!!!! Have you ever read any Bradley books? Esp if your natural birthing options are limited in your small town, Bradley really focuses on the husband’s support of the wife during birth. Husband-Coached Childbirth or Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way are very worthwhile reads.

      • Thanks for the book recommendations! I will definitely try to get my hands on them. I’ve gone through two more or less natural births now, and have yet to actually read any books that really focus on natural birth. Oh well, better late than never! I just hope that I’ll be able to get pregnant as easily this time as the last few times. I can’t seem to shake a feeling that it’s going to be harder this time. I hope it’s just my own paranoia!

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