Sarah Buckley’s book, Gentle Birth Gentle Mothering, is the most comprehensive, holistically minded, and scientifically sound book on pregnancy, birth and early parenting that I have dound. It is totally insane that it isn’t more well known! It has informed the basis for many of the birth workshops that I teach, and has helped frame my understanding of birth at a very deep level.
I also LOVE to give it out to clients. When I got a chance to meet Sarah early on in my studenthood, I geeked out and asked if I could buy 10 copies to bring home with me. In fact, I just ordered two more copies for my library since I’m just down to just the one she signed for me, ha!
In part 1 of the book, she focuses on gentle birth, the hormones of pregnancy, birth and mothering, and the best ways to keep those hormones from being interrupted. In the first few chapters she shows you how and why gentle births are possible when we leave well enough alone and let the process unfold as it was meant to without interference, interruption or intervention. She focuses equally on the science as well as the intuitive ways of knowing.
She also talks about the BRAN model of wise decision making in pregnancy. In short, she suggests that we should always ask ourselves and/or our care givers about the benefits, the risks, and the alternatives to any option, and to also ask what would happen if we were to do nothing. I love that she stresses this point, which is central to our work at Indie Birth – that it is their body and their baby, and that they ultimately have to take responsibility for the decisions that impact their pregnancy by asking questions and deeply listening to themselves and their babies. This also weaves in beautifully with the Six Steps of Healing that Susun Weed describes in her work.
She goes on to lays out information that many of my clients want to earn more about – ultrasound scans, pain in labor, the use of epidurals, styles of third stage management and cesarean surgery. She come back to the point that if there is no indication that there is a problem, doing nothing is almost always the best option, since birth is designed to work. Each of these chapters is comprehensive and could be used as resources in their own right. Again, she brilliantly blends the intuitive, woman centered, spiritual aspects of decision making with her impeccable analysis of scientific studies.
She does not dispute the fact that ultrasounds, epidurals, and cesarean surgery have their place, but that place should only be after doing everything we can to support a healthy, well nourished pregnancy and an empowered, undisturbed, instinctive labor and birth.
Only then can we be sure that we have not caused the very problems we are later trying to solve.
Part 2 of the book is on gentle parenting, and includes discussions about attachment parenting, baby wearing and co-sleeping, and the many physical, social and emotional benefits those choices have for babies. Ultimately in the gentle parenting section, Buckley asks the reader to have a healthy sense of skepticism about all information they are given, and to always be questioning and searching for their own inner truth.
I am a huge fan of this book. This is typically my first recommendation to all pregnant women or people interested in the holistic approach to pregnancy, birth and mothering.
Buckley eloquently describes what an undisturbed birth look like, how it works, and why you probably want one. I love that she doesn’t make the book about location of birth, but instead makes the stronger case for an undisturbed, safe, easy birth, which the reader is then left to decide if they want that sort of birth, and the best way to make that happen if they do (although she does have a chapter that brings up the possibility and safety of homebirth).
I urge YOU to get 3-4 copies of this book, one for yourself to keep and a few to loan out to any and all pregnant friends or family members you may have. If you want to learn more about her work, check out Sarah Buckley’s amazing website with tons of free information and resources at: http://www.sarahbuckley.com
Tell me in the comments – What are your other favorite books to recommend to pregnant women?