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Indie Birth: A Story of Radical Birth Book Review

February 26, 2020

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We are mamas and birth workers who decided to do birth differently– and bring others along with us. We are kind, fun to work with, and great at (lovingly) calling people on their bullshit when necessary. With 11 children and 16 years of midwifery between us, we’ve learned a thing or two along the way, and Indie Birth is our space to share it all with you.

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Indie Birth; A Story of Radical Birth Love by Maryn Green and Margo Blackstone is an eye-opening and heartfelt narrative that explores the true beauty, challenges, sorrows, intuition and desires of modern women in pregnancy, labor, birth and midwifery and how it is necessary to reshape culture to better serve women in these roles.

This book is a profound balance of the raw beauty of autonomous, spiritual, and intuitive birth stories that are both the personal experiences of Maryn and Margo, and the stories of a few of the women they have served from their perspectives as attending midwives, coupled with a deep look at what modern midwifery has become and the issues that surround medicalized birth and midwifery licensure. This is a deeply touching book that asks women to search their intuition to find their innate truths and live by them.

“Sometimes we only find our truth out of feeling silenced.”-Maryn Green (p.8)

When the systems and culture that surround birth don’t correspond with our own truths and what we desire our births to be we are left with two options. We can either compromise or reinvent our truths and desires to fit the current cultural trends. Or, we can voice our truths and seek out the community of people, and the birth workers that will support our desires in birth and respect our truth. This book is a testament to the fact that compromise does not work for birthing women or midwives. As birthing women and women who serve and work with birthing women there is immense pressure to fully assimilate to medicalized birth, including licenced midwifery, and to the set of rules and regulations that don’t necessarily serve women in birth, giving up our right to autonomy and the right to fully choose how, where and with whom we birth as well as how, where and with whom midwives work. Indie Birth, was created as a result of prosecution from the system that forces women to assimilate. Maryn and Margo set up the framework to create a new birth paradigm that focuses on the power and intellect of the woman birthing to know what is best for her and her baby. There is a need to create a culture that puts women in charge of their birthing experience and demands that she is respected by those she may choose to have serve her in birth, this includes Obstetricians, Surgeons, Nurses, Dulas, sisters and midwives.

“Power is hers when she is in charge of her own care, using the midwife as a support and as a consultant-She’s been put back in charge of herself-It is a mutual relationship [between her and her midwife] not a hierarchy.” Maryn Green (p.63)

The truth is that when we are deeply connected in our pregnancy and in tune with our bodies, health and baby our innate knowledge will be able to discern what is “normal” for us and what may be a sign to pay closer attention to. It is time to reclaim responsibility for ourselves if we truly desire autonomy in birth, and regain an understanding that birth, despite many efforts, can not be controlled.

“If we desire autonomy in birth we create it and then we find our way.” Maryn Green (p.6)

We have the power to create, not control, autonomous birth. We will never be able to paint our birth experiences exactly the way we picture, but there is a deep knowledge about ourselves, and our babies that we can access so that we can feel confident in our birth choices and our power to birth at home in the presence of people we trust who trust us.

“Many women relinquish so much responsibility in pregnancy because they are disconnected and assume everyone knows more than them.” Maryn Green (p.64)

It is our responsibility to live our truth. If we desire autonomy in birth we are responsible for demanding it through the choices we make. Finding the people that are going to trust and support our decisions in birth. Refusing to make compromises that compromise our inner truth is our responsibility.

Of course, some concepts presented in Indie Birth; A Story of Radical BIrth Love may seem very radical to some, especially in the current culture where birth is deemed as inherently unsafe and women are deemed as inherently incapable. Indie Birth recognizes that it is “radical” and even goes on to say that home birth is not the right choice for everyone. However, for the women who feel like they have been cheated out of their power in birth, for the women who believe in birth and in their capabilities to birth babies without medical intervention this book doesn’t alarm, but rather rings the sweet and familiar sound of truth.

“Birth is a natural, normal human process. It is not a disease and rarely is a medical event.” Maryn Green (p.58)

This book also delves into the other sacred yet sorrowful face of birth. Miscarriage. Through raw and beautiful stories we are able to respectfully understand some of the harder aspects of birth through death. Miscarriage and death are so taboo in our culture we rarely speak of it, let alone read of women’s actual experiences with it as a respectful and emotional birth, yet miscarriages are common and have been happening for as long as birth has. Birth and Miscarriage are both sacred processes that are unfortunately not respected in modern culture.

“It is our modern ways of living and fearful culture that makes simple, peaceful birth more difficult to obtain than perhaps it ever has.” Maryn Green (p.79)

If we desire birth to be natural, simple and peaceful for future generations we must start to have and tell the birth stories of “radical love” of empowered women making intuitive choices and having powerful births. We have to live and speak our truths. In the face of a society that tells us we are radical or reckless, and persecutes women who believe in natural, peaceful, loving, woman-centered birth at home we have to continue to have, serve the women who have and tell the stories of Radical Birth Love.

Citation

Green, Maryn, and Margo Blackstone. Indie Birth; A Story of Radical Birth Love. Goddess Publishing LLC, 2019.

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We are mamas and birth workers who decided to do birth differently– and bring others along with us. We are kind, fun to work with, and great at (lovingly) calling people on their bullshit when necessary. With 11 children and 16 years of midwifery between us, we’ve learned a thing or two along the way, and Indie Birth is our space to share it all with you.

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