Friday, January 8, 2010

Favorite Midwifery & Birth Books of 2009

On New Year's Eve on the new CfM fan page on Facebook, I posed the question, "what was your favorite birth or midwifery book in 2009?" I got a variety of responses and I'd like to share them all in one post.

Selene recommended Cara Mulhahan's book Labor of Love (see book review posted yesterday).

Amanda suggested The Birthkeepers: Reclaiming an Ancient Tradition and added that she wants to read Simply Give Birth. I hadn't heard of The Birthkeepers before, so I look forward to learning more about it and possibly sharing a review!

Another fan suggested the very useful When Survivors Give Birth saying that it, "was very insightful and I know will prove to be invaluable in the years to come...This year I plan to conquer...Varney's Midwifery."

I thought I had heard of just about every birth book ever written, but Hillary mentioned her favorite, Sacred Birthing by Sunni Karll, and that was another book with which I am unfamiliar, but would like to read.

Summer mentioned that her, "favorite was definitely The Power of Women by Sister MorningStar. I found it inspiring, insightful, and very fitting for the title," while Cristina found Marcie Macari's She Births , "gave me a lot to think about and I loved it."

Adventures in Natural Childbirth by Janet Schwegel was referenced by Jennifer as an all time favorite: "Tales from women on the joys, fears, pleasures, and pains of giving birth naturally with the support of midwives, doulas and 'enlightened' physicians." (Another book of empowering birth stories that I really enjoy is Journey Into Motherhood.) She also shared that she is considering reading "Don't Just Stand There for dads by Elissa Stein in the new year."

Pushed by Jennifer Block received a couple of hearty recommendations, with another Jennifer adding that, "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth was really great, too."

I re-read Pushed this year also and agree that it is a gem.

Another activism-stirring book, Birth as an American Rite of Passage, by Robbie Davis-Floyd, was enthusiastically recommended by Jenny saying, "Pretty heavy, but probably the single strongest influence on both my personal outlook and my childbirth classees."

Jeanne Ohm suggested Pathways magazine Issue #24--all about birth. I'd like to order a box of this issue to hand out to my birth class clients!

Beth shared that she, "loved Birth Models That Work. It's a MUST read...And Half the Sky. It's not all about midwifery but it's about women's issues across cultures and it highlights a lot of birth needs for women in developing countries."

My book club plans to read Half the Sky at some point this year. I don't think I can talk them into Birth Models that Work, but I could try! ;)

Lara shared that she "liked Ina May's Spiritual Midwifery, and the new waterbirth book by Lakshmi Bertram. I've heard that next year there might be a newly updated Obstetrical Myths Versus Research Realities by Henci Goer, and I'd really like to read that one."

Kendra loved Carol Leonard's, Lady's Hands, Lion's Heart from Bad Beaver Publishing. She "laughed and cried and loved every page." Anyone who has read my review of Leonard's book in CfM News knows that I share Kendra's sentiments! It is wonderful.

Another midwifery memoir receiving a recommendation was Baby Catcher by Peggy Vincent. Sierra also added that "Permission to Mother by Denise Punger is also an amazing read."

Another book I'm unfamiliar with was recommended by Sarah, who said, "I loved a recently translated Dutch book called Pregnant with Heart and Soul by Riet Van Rooji." She also added that "Jenny West's The Complete Idiots Guide to Natural Childbirth is brilliant too, great to get such a good midwife writing for the mainstream."

(I do have to add that I reviewed the Idiot's Guide book for LLLI and was very dismayed by the pervasive bottle imagery throughout the book--as the "midwife tip" icon no less! :( )

A doula named Laurie shared some good information about another book I'd like to look into further, saying, "A book I just started that is really informative and interesting is The Female Pelvis. I know it sounds extremely boring, however it is filled with great exercises for pregnant moms, to help protect against injury. The pictures are great, there are at least 2-4 per page and I think they will help the moms be able to visualize a lot more what they are trying to protect and why. It is written by Blandine Calais-Germain."

On a similar subject, I'm currently reading and very much enjoying Wild Feminine, which is primarily about "holistic pelvic care." It is really interesting and I recommend it.

I was delighted to receive all of these wonderful suggestions from all over the country (and even internationally). How fun!
Personally, I read so many great books in 2009 that it is hard for me to choose a favorite, but I think I'll have to go with The Power of Women as my favorite birth read for 2009 (review here). It is followed closely by Simply Give Birth (review here). I've read both of those recently though, so it is possible that I'm forgetting some other treasures that I discovered earlier in 2009!

CfM Blogger


Tiffany said...

Thanks for the suggestions! I've read some and now have ideas for others to read :)

Anonymous said...

Birthing the Easy Way by Sheila Stubbs. It's amazing. One of the best I've read.