The author of Birthwork is also a filmmaker whose recent project is the film The Big Stretch. The neat thing about this film is that it is all about women sharing their own experiences and feelings--unlike many birth movies there are no "experts" present in the film (other than the true experts--women themselves!), the focus is on the families preparing for birth or reflecting on their past birth experiences. The film's emphasis is on "Women in different stages of pregnancy and preparing for a natural birth reflect on how they and 'stretched' in everyway - emotionally, physically and spiritually" and I enjoyed this "stretch" theme that ran throughout. (I was taken aback by footage at the close of the film of a totally naked man riding a bicycle and feel I should warn other viewers to be prepared for that!)
From Scotland, I enjoyed reading the new book The Father's Home Birth Handbook by Leah Hazard. This was a succinct and easy to read little guide for fathers and adds to the growing library of birth resources specifically geared towards fathers-to-be. A quote I particularly liked was in answer to the question: But isn't it possible to have a normal, natural birth in the hospital? The response was clear and honest:
Rather than rushing into the labour suite at the first sign of a contraction, she labours comfortably at home, using relaxation techniques and the support of her partner to help her through the early stages. When she feels that birth is imminent, she makes her way to the hospital, where her waters break on their own, her contractions remain strong and consistent, and she continues to cope well with the pain. This woman uses gravity-efficient positions to deliver her baby without the help of surgical instruments and, after breastfeeding her new arrival, she waits for the placenta to slip away on its own. Tucked up in a bed of clean sheets with a tremendous sense of wellbeing and accomplishment, she has just enjoyed a normal, physiological birth in the hospital.Finally, from New Zealand, is The Pink Kit. This resource has been available for a number of years, but I only bought a copy this year. It is rapidly becoming one of my favorite resources! I continue to find new and useful information within the Kit and I really recommend it. It covers very basic, "common knowlege" information and brings it all together in a useful way. There is a heavy emphasis on knowing your body and how it moves and works and on pelvic bodywork. The Pink Kit consists of a DVD, a book, and three more pdf companion books. An example from the book: "Modern culture often teaches us to be 'tight'...trim, taut, and terrific! But there is a difference between being fit and well-exercised and having a 'tight' body. We understand the need to stay 'fit' at this time, but we would also like to encourage you to soften yourself, in preparation for mothering and nurturing your baby. Soften your viewpoint, soften your body, surrender to this awe-inspiring event. We can assure you that in this way, you will be preparing yourself not only for labour, but for the days and years afterward..." Read more about the Birth Wisdom this resource has to offer here.
Do you know any women who could tell you such a story? they must exist, but unfortunately, they are a significant minority...'a woman wanting a 'natural' or 'normal' birth will find such a thing almost impossible to achieve in modern hospitals'...The image of a woman sailing through normal labour in a hospital, untouched by needle, knife, or drug, has become little more than a fantasy...
And continue following the International Birth Wisdom Week journey from it's launchpad at Independent Childbirth!