Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering: A Doctor's Guide to Natural Childbirth and Gentle Early Parenting Choices (Anglais) Broché – 2 décembre 2008
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Présentation de l'éditeur
Sarah Buckley might be called a third-wave natural birth advocate. A doctor and a mother, she approaches the question of how a woman and baby might have the most fulfilling birth experience with respect for the wisdom of both medical science and the human body. Using current medical and epidemiological research plus women's experiences (including her own), she demonstrates that what she calls "undisturbed birth" is almost always healthier and safer than high-technology approaches to birth. Her wise counsel on issues like breastfeeding and sleeping during postpartum helps extend the gentle birth experience into a gentle parenting relationship.
Biographie de l'auteur
THE AUTHOR SCOOP
How long did it take you to write this book?
Around ten years since I wrote the first material, and around 9 months to rewrite and put it all together.
What was the hardest thing about writing a book?
Combining it with looking after 4 children
When did you know you were a writer?
When I was 10, I told my class teacher I wanted to be an author!
Favorite childhood book?
I was a precocious reader, I read Jane Eyre at age 10 and loved Wuthering Heights.
If you had to boil your book’s message down to one sentence, what would it be?
Trust your body, trust your baby, follow your instincts
What are you working on now?
A commissioned report on the hormonal orchestration of labor
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Sorting things out on every level, which includes a special talent for removing embedded hair ties from Barbie hair.
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Also, I am a proponent of natural birth and mothering. I have given birth at home (on purpose!), am tandem nursing my infant and toddler, practice sleep sharing via Family Bed, etc., so I was definitely coming to this book with an open, even eager, mind.
That being said, by the time I had read through the author's 4 birth stories, the story of her son's placenta and the narrative of her breastfeeding experiences (all of which are included scattered throughout the book, highlighted in gray), I knew this wasn't the book I was hoping for.
While much of the information Sarah shares in this book is well-researched, informative, and enlightening, there is too much sort of mystical, magical, spiritualism present, as well as an advocacy of practices that are so unconventional as to be considered "fringe", for it to be an all-purpose guide to natural birth and mothering.
I think most readers looking for a basic guide to natural childbirth will be turned off by some a the more bizarre, New-Agey stuff in this book, and might therefor conclude that something like natural birth or homebirth is only for a "certain type" of person, one who draws large pastel mandalas in preparation for birth and during pregnancy uses "Brazilian rhythms and hip swirls to spiral [an] ambivalent baby deeper into [one's] pelvis."
While I respect Ms. Buckley's decisions regarding her own births, I can't help but feel that someone reading about her decision to give birth without outside assistance and to forgo any prenatal medical care, including blood pressure tests, might not feel too confident about the advice given in this book. Maybe I'm just not "there" yet, but I can't quite head into pregnancy and birth "[trusting] my body and my baby to tell me, through feelings, dreams, and impulses, what was needed." (Of course, it helps that both the author and her husband are M.D.'s, which made the footling breech birth of their baby with a non-pulsating cord somewhat less dangerous.)
I appreciated Sarah's description of all the wonderful things her son's placenta did for him while he was in utero. However, keeping the placenta attached to the baby after birth (tucked into a velvet bag and taken out regularly to be dried and salted) until it fell off naturally (so-called "lotus birth") is, well... gross.
All in all, there are some great parts to this book - I especially love the chapter on "Love, Attachment and Your Baby's Brain" and on safe sleep-sharing. And while a certain select population of pregnant women and mothers will find everything in this book to be up their alley, I can't help but think that most will find it too "out there" to be helpful. I certainly can't see myself loaning it out to pregnant friends the way I have with Henci Goer's "The Thinking Woman's Guide to Better Birth." I would say try that one instead, or even the Sear's "Birth Book."
As a father I found Sarah's book brilliant and a pleasure to read.
As a psychologist in private practice, parent-educator and author, her book has been one of my most valued and oft-quoted resources.
I doubt that anyone who reads Sarah's book could ever again choose a hospital birth with obstetric intervention (unless there are clear medical complications). Reading left me feeling angry that the many psychological and medical risks presented by today's obstetric excesses have been so heavily downplayed by the industry. Why weren't we told? On the other hand, Sarah has presented clear neurological and endocrinological evidence of the blissful beginnings that natural and gentle birth, and gentle parenting, can bring about. Her book paves the way to a far more loving world.
The great gift of Buckley's book is that she relieves parents of a century of needless and baseless iatrogenic fears: fear of pregnancy, fear of birth, fear of babies, fear of the body. The reward is a font of natural, undisturbed hormonal bliss; for mothers, newborns, and even for fathers. Buckely's extraordinary book midwives the birth of a new, healthier, and more loving culture.
Robin Grille, psychologist, author
I particularly appreciate Dr. Buckley's book because she, like myself, is both fully spiritual AND fully science-minded. I respect the fact that Dr. Buckley lays out her spiritually-based opinion and experience and then BACKS IT UP with hard science. There are a solid SIXTY PAGES of end notes. One chapter alone has 294 end notes!! This is, by far, the best-researched birthing book I've ever read, and I have read dozens.
In fact, of those dozens of books I've read, many start to sound the same after a very short while. Many other books on birthing rely heavily on the same stories, the same research, and similar experiences. This was the first book I've read on birthing in a very long time that had NEW, PROFOUND, and RELEVANT information about birthing and mothering. It is a unique and powerful book on many levels.
Instead of being a how-to on birthing, it's more of a "why" book. Why choose one practice over another? Why are ultrasounds possibly harmful? Why are narcotics during birth so potentially harmful, both in the short-term and long-term health of mother and baby? Why is the use of Pitocin so destructive to the natural hormonal processes of birth? Dr. Buckley doesn't just tell readers what to do, she tells us, very clearly, why one choice is helpful (even necessary!) and why another choice is likely harmful. In addition to that, she gives personal anecdotes about her own experiences with birthing and mothering that further support her empirical research, and show a mother how those scientific facts can play out in a very spiritually profound way.
It's pretty clear that the author is a practicing Zen Buddhist. I'm not. However, I find that my discoveries have matched the doctor's experience: The radical experience of a natural birth is the perfect marriage of mind/body/science WITH our spiritual/deep/intangible side. I found it pretty easy to make the shift, mentally, when the author talks about the soul of her child flying down from the stars into me visualizing, instead, the soul of my child being lovingly created by God my Father, and being deposited into the growing life of my baby, in utero. And so on. If the "language" of Dr. Buckley's spiritual voice doesn't fit with your own, feel free to substitute your own beliefs in the places where yours doesn't match up with hers!
There is no ONE perfect book on any topic. Like any book, you chew the meat, and throw out the bones. If there is a story in the book that doesn't click with you, it doesn't negate the hundreds -- or even thousands -- of other bits of useful, profound information. It's the mark of a strong mind that can consider something, hold it in one's thoughts, sift it, and then say, "That particular part is not for me," without throwing out the rest of the book or giving it only two stars. So, if that's what you need to do when reading this book, please do so, but still PLEASE READ THE BOOK.
So, to sum up, my stance is that you don't have to be completely aligned with Dr. Buckley's spiritual beliefs, birthing practices, or mothering practices in order to benefit mightily from this unique and powerful book.
GENTLE BIRTH, GENTLE MOTHERING
I need to declare a bias in reviewing this book.
I am a grandmother of 3 little boys whose mothers have felt reassured and validated by reading and rereading `Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering' .
And I am a co-journeyer with Sarah Buckley in the Melbourne based `Women's Mysteries Advanced Circle' led by Shivam Rachana..
As I opened the covers of this book and moved from the foreword and introduction to the initial pages, I was inexorably drawn to skip to the moving stories of Sarah's birthings of Emma, Zoe, Jacob and Maia, to her piece on breastfeeding `The Gift of a Lifetime', to her celebration of the intelligence of Jacob's placenta and her other gentle family practices. Then my brain wanted to know more about the science behind the `overdue baby', `Gestational Diabetes', and the practice of ultrasound etc. And then more finding out about the `nocebo' effect (constantly reminding the pregnant woman about potential problems and the stress that this places on a pregnancy). And after that I flipped to the exhaustive 41 pages of notes, book references and studies which back up the scientific aspect of the book. And then to Ch 6- the groundbreaking work on the `ecstatic birthing hormones '.(To my knowledge Sarah is unique in gathering for the scientific world an understanding of this `hormonal orchestration of the birth process').
The gift of this book is exactly as has been so often said - a marriage of the deeply authentic and personal with the best of our scientific heritage - the data, the tests, the studies.
The brain and the heart dancing together.
I reflect, as someone who did the best I knew how with my own births in the 70's - a book like this would have been gold. I would have devoured it. I would have found it readable, thought-provoking, gentle and poetic.
I would have felt looked after emotionally, and as a thinking person.
And I would feel stronger in listening to the ancient echoes of my own mammalian instincts.