ForeWord Reviews

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Real Birth

Women Share Their Stories

Foreword Review — Jan / Feb 2000

Collected in this volume are the first-person narratives of
thirty-six women whose childbirth experiences represent a range of real-life
experiences. The mothers who reveal these intimate details answered an ad in a
national publication-out of which the collected interviews emerged. Each story
chronicles candid details of what every woman giving birth goes through,
emotionally and physically, causing the reader to have deeper understanding and
reverence for women who give birth. Although this is a telling of a rite of
passage most women participate in, all expectant family members interested in
the human experience will enjoy this book and find the details refreshing and
engrossing.

Each narrative is diverse and the short biographies at the beginning of each
story are kept brief and non-descript in terms of cultural identification,
ethnic background and socioeconomic status. The author’s intent was to let each
story unfold naturally; her voice never intrudes, rather she draws out and
edits each account, retaining the integrity of each birth history. With each
page, one begins to perceive that each woman speaks from her heart, with a
mental clarity that painstakingly preserves the memory of this incredible task.

Each chapter provides insight into the various concerns, fears and options to
giving birth today. Traditional hospital birth is covered, as well as birthing
centers, at home births and some very unusual places (in particular, an arrival
in a Virginia traffic tunnel, among others). First time mothers will benefit
from the additional information on alternative methods to birthing, such as
underwater births, little to no medical intervention births and alternative
birthing positions such as standing up and how to choose a doula or midwife.
Mothers who have been through the birth experience before will benefit from the
stories of those who have chosen to change elements of their birthing plan,
such as asking for medication or who have delivered via C-Section the first
time around and have successfully birthed vaginally thereafter. Problems in
pregnancy are also covered to educate the reader as to how singular each birth
experience is.

Real Birth proves to be a helpful resource for anyone interested or about to
become involved with the birth experience. A helpful glossary and resource
guide lends to the approachability of this volume. The book differentiates
itself from the other “gospel” pregnancy books in that there is no “must” or
unquestioned theory on how to experience the birth process.

Amy McQuaid