Friday, January 30, 2009

Childbirth Without Fear Quotes

This week I finished reading a classic book about natural childbirth, Childbirth Without Fear, by Grantly Dick-Read. I typed up some quotes from it to share:

"A well–prepared woman, not ignorant of the processes of birth, is still subject to all the common interventions of the hospital environment, much of which places her under unnecessary stress and disrupts the neuromuscular harmony of her labor."

"It is for this reason that thousands of women across the country are staying home to give birth…Women are choosing midwives as attendants, and choosing birth centers and birthing rooms, in order to regain the peaceful freedom to ‘flow with’ their own labors without the stress of disruption and intervention. Pictures on the wall and drapes on the window do not mask the fact that a woman is less free to be completely herself in the hospital environment, even in a birthing room. The possibility of her being disturbed is still there."

"The women in labor must have NO STRESS placed upon her. She must be free to move about, walk, rock, go to the bathroom by herself, lie on her side or back, squat or kneel, or anything she finds comfortable, without fear of being scolded or embarrassed. Nor is there any need for her to be either ‘quiet’ or ‘good.’ What is a ‘good’ patient? One who does whatever she is told—who masks all the stresses she is feeling? Why can she not cry, or laugh, or complain?"

"When a woman in labor knows that she will not be disturbed, that her questions will be answered honestly and every consideration given her, then she will be better able to relax and give birth with her body’s neuromuscular perfection intact. The presence of her loving husband and/or a supportive attendant will add to her feelings of security and peace, so she can center upon the task at hand."

This book was originally written in the 1940's. The quotes above are just as relevant and true today.


Molly Remer

CfM Blogger


Jill Arnold said...

How strange! This book is on hold for me right now at the library.

If it's like the original Bradley book, it's written to a male audience. It was nauseating to read the first edition Bradley book because of the sexist language typical in the 1940's.

However, when I read older texts on childbirth written by men that acknowledge the normalcy of the process of birth, I always imagine midwives of the time rolling their eyes and thanking them sarcastically for coining fancy terms like "psychoprophylaxis." The ideas that women would benefit from a safe, non-stressful environment and a supportive helper during birth to enable them and their baby to get off to a peaceful start in life are not new. From what I've read, nobody would listen to women after childbirth authority was usurped by men a few centuries prior.

Laurel said...

Those are wonderful, Molly! I especially like the last one.

CfM Molly said...

Jill--I found this one MUCH less sexist/patronizing than the Bradley book. There were a few things that jumped out, but it was fairly respectful overall (of course, the edition I was reading was a revised 80's version so...)


Hyacynth said...

How true! I am looking forward to giving birth naturally at home this time around, and those quotes were very inspiring. Love this blog!