Something different: Empowering Birth Stories

Today’s review of Katrina Zaslavsky’s A Modern Woman’s Guide to A Natural Empowering Birth is something quite different from our usual book reviews. As such, there’s a couple of bits of information I need to put on the table before I start.

Firstly, when I had my boys, medical intervention was the order of the day. I was relieved that assistance was available, and my second birth experience, an elective caesarean was what I wanted. But, I must admit that had I been given different information in preparation for having my first son, things might have gone differently, more naturally and certainly more calmly. I thought I had done my research, but when it came to B-Day I found I was completely unprepared.

Secondly, I want to make it perfectly clear that I one-hundred-percent believe that there are as many birth experiences as there are births, and no labour is more ‘right’ than any other. The key component in all things is CHOICE, and information and advice is the first and most important step in ensuring real and free choice for all women.

Essentially, that’s why I’m happy to review this book, even though I don’t necessarily agree with it’s entire approach, and that the experiences contained within it are quite different from my own. I believe that those out there aiming for a natural, low-intervention birth experience will benefit from the positive experiences recounted in A Modern Woman’s Guide to A Natural Empowering Birth…

“I remember being pregnant, searching library shelves; hungry to devour everything I could on the subject to prepare me for a natural birth.

Only I found most books were downright clinical, boring and uninspiring. I was left dissatisfied and disappointed.

I felt like every negative account and symptom just added to the fear and mind pollution. I craved stories that would blow me away. I wanted to revel in the magic, the miracle and beauty of birth. Surely that wasn’t too much to ask?

Find real accounts from everyday mothers who had inspiring birth experiences was indeed a challenge. Rather than be defeated, I took to the streets and compiled the book that I had been looking to find on those library shelves.”

The main thing that stands out to me about Katrina’s book is its focus on empowering woman and encouraging them to insist on recognition that THEY are delivering their baby and that they should be free to seek out, take and act on any advice they see fit.

If they are able to do this, quite incredible things can happen:

“Two years later I was in labour again. This time I was having my baby in the squat position, supported by the doc and nurse. I was squatting on the bed with my arms wrapped around their necks, with my face just millimetres from the nurse when she said, ‘I know you, I was the one there when (pointing to my now toddler) was born. You are a legend. To this day people still talk about you: the lady who had her baby and was in and out of hospital in an hour.'”

The second characteristic of this guide that caught my eye was the importance of getting yourself physically and mentally prepared. This is something that I most definitely didn’t do prior to my first labour and I’ve often thought, if I had, my experience might have been substantially different.

The book itself is full of inspiring stories of positive and rewarding birth experiences. These types of stories can at times be quite difficult to come across when you’re pregnant and so it’s a fantastic way to get access to the ‘good news stories’ of labour. Subsequently, it may help an expectant mother to enter birth in a more positive frame of mind than she might otherwise do.

Katrina is clearly incredibly passionate about child birth, and more particularly about the empowerment of woman during the experience. To support her work in this book, she frequently runs information and education sessions and you can find out more at her website here or her Facebook Page.

This approach won’t be for everyone, but, if you’re looking to explore a range of options for your experience of child birth, I’d suggest you take a look at A Modern Woman’s Guide to A Natural Empowering Birth.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Kirstie
    Nov 29, 2012 @ 17:20:14

    This book sounds like it would pair nicely with an Australian documentary I watched recently called ‘The Face of Birth’.
    I agree that getting yourself in the right mind-set for the actual act of child birth is very important, and while my own birth experience was not a great one I went into it with very little fear and took virtually everything (except the pain of course) in stride.


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