The rise in books for mothers
It is gratifying to see a huge rise in the past 10 years of books about pregnancy, birth and parenting written by mothers for mothers. Particularly books about birth. This is a field every woman can become her own expert in because for every woman it is a unique and personal experience and for many, an experience that is not enhanced by our over-stretched maternity services.
Giving information, giving confidence
The articulate and convincing Mahoney lays out her wares at the beginning by stating “This book argues that mother and baby are so closely entwined from the beginning of the baby’s life, that anything that is good for the mother, is good for the baby, too. I don’t buy a doctor’s diagnosis that a pregnant woman is being ‘selfish’ if she wants something other than the standard hospital fare. If she’s looking after herself, she’s looking after her baby, too.”
A mother’s intuition that what is right for her and her baby is not always what is being rammed down her throat by the local hospital is what drives many women to seek alternative approaches to birth and that alone is what will bring about change in the NHS. Do not underestimate the power of voting with your feet, many doctors and midwives have to witness good experiences again and again before they realise that not every deviation from the painful, screaming norm is a one-off.
Birth is for everyone
Mahoney covers everything from how different women approach the thought of birth and social conditioning around that through the options of antenatal education, places of birth and methods of birth. There are uplifting stories illustrating different methods of birth and nothing is presented as extremely good or extremely bad, it is just important to feel informed so that the mother can make her own choices.
Mahoney concludes that “Giving birth is a joyous rite of passage, and henceforth you will connect with other women in a way that you have never done so before…Birth is your introduction to motherhood, …and no-one should take it away from you.” And anyone who smirks at this suggestion that birth is beneficial should start listening to those that have had a good experience and take affirmative action to address their own emotions as to why they think this is not possible for themselves.
This is an intelligent book, well written with amusing as well as informative vignettes. If reading books during pregnancy to help prepare for birth is your thing then this is a good one to go with.