Appropriate for first time mothers as well as women having subsequent children, Birth Space, Safe Place is a slim and succinct little volume with a sole center: emotional well-being throughout pregnancy and birth. This very specific purpose is what makes the book special. It focuses on creating the emotional space for a gentle birth as well as a physical environment conducive to gentle, physiological birth. However, there is a broad range of topics covered within this specific focus including pain, fear, support, the “cocktail” of labor hormones, avoiding physiological disturbances of the birth process, optimal fetal positioning, and blessingways
The chronology of the book flows from “conscious conception” through making decisions about birth location, preparing for labor, support during birth, “the spirit of birth,” and “early parenting joys and griefs” which addresses birth processing and postpartum recovery. The chapter on “cleansing the past” briefly addresses prior loss and bereavement, difficult previous birth experiences, and issues of abuse. Each section contains brief personal anecdotes, some from the author and some from mothers she has worked with. The exploration of each topic is brief, but is an adequate overview.
The author is a “childbirth homeopath” and so there are several sections about homeopathic remedies for specific symptoms or concerns. Aside from the homeopathic content, I did not feel as if I learned anything particularly new from the book, however it was very nice to have information about a specific element of pregnancy and birth preparation all pulled together into one nurturing place.
Birth Space, Safe Place is very supportive of doulas—for both labor and postpartum—and also of midwifery care and homebirth.
The book contains three appendices, endnotes, references, a glossary, and resource listing. The book is written in the UK (author is in Scotland), so National Health Service care is assumed and that system of maternity care, midwifery, and homebirth. The first appendix briefly addresses differences in US and Australian midwives compared to the UK.
-- Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.