Posts Tagged ‘Parenting’

The Positive Birth Book: A New Approach to Pregnancy, Birth and the Early Weeks

Milli Hill
Work out what kind of birth you really want, and learn how to maximise your chances of getting it, in this refreshing, warm and witty guide to pregnancy, birth and the early weeks. Packed with vital and cutting-edge information on everything from building the ultimate birth plan, to your choices and rights in the birth room; from optimal cord clamping, to seeding the microbiome; from the inside track on breastfeeding, to woman-centred caesarean, The Positive Birth Book shows you how to have the best possible birth, regardless of whether you plan to have your baby in hospital, in the birth centre, at home or by elective caesarean. Find out how the environment you give birth in, your mindset and your expectations can influence the kind of birth you have, and be inspired by the voices of real women, who tell you the truth about what giving birth really feels like.
Challenging negativity and fear of childbirth, and brimming with everything you need to know about labour, birth, and the early days of parenting, The Positive Birth Book is the must-have birth book for women of the 21st century.

What are your overall thoughts?
It’s rare for Big Book Little book to feature a non-fiction book, even more so to feature a pregnancy book. For the most part, while I love to indulge my passion for all things birth, I rarely read pregnancy and parenting books, my tastes tend to be a little less mainstream-parenting handbook, more evidence based textbook. Despite my own leanings I realize that for the the number of BBLB readers who would be interested to read an entire book on the hormone oxytocin are likely to be fewer than those who are interested to hear my thoughts on the latest speculative fiction offering from Maggie Stiefvater!

However, when I heard about The Positive Birth Book, I just knew that I was going to have to make an exception, I just had to take a look to see if it lived up to its promise- a no nonsense, factual evidenced based, relatable book about birth with a positive birth slant.

It is fair to say that I started reading The Positive Birth Book with high expectations. On finishing the book I have to confess to feeling torn. On the one hand, The Positive Birth Book completley fulfilled its promise as the new birthing bible. On the other hand, I feel as though the book so successfully covers all of the essentials in the lead up to birth and the birth itself, that my job as an antenatal educator is now redundant!

Hill beautifully manages to balance a humorous and relaxed approach to birth with her informal chatty and friendly tone while managing to clearly explain and explore complex biological, scientific, political and legal issues.

Not only is The Positive Birth Book filled to the brim with evidence based information, explained in clear lay language, Hill also explores exactly where that evidence comes from and provided reliable resources for the reader to obtain further information should they wish to.

The book has a fabulous practice element, in addition to providing an excellent explanation to the well known decision making “BRAIN” mnemonic, Hill has created HEART, a wonderful concise tool to help couples who births might not be following plan A.

She strongly encourages couples to research and develop their own unique birth plans (and plan B’s and C’s…) providing different examples for illustration, and she has co created some beautiful iconography for couples to use when developing their very own visual birth plans.

One of my favorite element of this book is the fantastic use of content from experts. From obstetric consultants, midwives and lactation specialists through to the biggest experts, mothers, Hill has found birth story’s, experiences, tips and examples across the birthing spectrum and in all settings to inspire and reassure any kind of birth can be a positive birth. This liberal sprinkling of women’s lived experiences is very reminiscent of the inspirational stories in Ina May Gaskin’s 1975 Spiritual Midwifery, but with the language and sensibilities of 21st century couples.

Would you recommend this book?
This well written and well-researched book aligns so well with my professional philosophy of care and information provision as a Midwife and antenatal educator, that I am happy to recommend this book with no hesitations. In fact I have already gifted a copy to a soon to be birthing mother!

The Positive Birth Book is a wonderful resource for all pregnant women, whether they are setting out on their pregnancy journey and getting to grips with all of the birth choices before them, or have already developed a strong sense of where and how they wish their birthing experience unfold.

It would also be a valuable resource for birth workers starting out in their career and experienced even for birth workers looking for inspiration for way to effectively communicate complicated ideas.

Verdict: Spiritual midwifery for the 21st century mother

Reviewed by Caroline

*I need to take a quick moment to disclose that although I have never met the author Milli Hill personally I am aware of her work though The Positive Birth Movement (see website here), for which I am a group facilitator. It is through the Positive Birth Movement that I first became aware that Mill was working on and later publishing this book. This has no way affected my review.

Publisher: Pinter and Martin
Publication Date: March 2017
Format: eBook
Pages: 352
Genre: Non-Fiction Pregnancy, Birth
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Own copy
Challenge: British book
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Confessions Of A Bad Mother

Stephanie Calman

In the aisle by the chill cabinets no one can hear you scream…
Funny, acutely observed, frighteningly honest and drawing on her own and hundreds of other mum’s real experiences, Stephanie Calman serves up the perfect antidote to all those books that tell you that your children must be perfect, and to all those Stepford mums and kids out there who look as if they just might be: perfectly groomed, perfectly behaved and perfectly brilliant. The reality, as we all know, encompasses sleepless nights, no sex for years, baby sick on your best cashmere cardy, the terrible twos and then, just when you thought it was safe to go back in the sitting room, terrible teenagers whose only means of communication is the slamming door or the grunt.

It was the above byline that grabbed my attention. I was feeling particularly annoyed with my own children and huffing and puffing to myself as I went in to the charity shop, started browsing the books. I saw this book, read the byline, said ‘aha’ loudly and maniacally and marched off to the til to pay my 50 pence!

I like Stephanie Calman’s writing. I’ve not come across her before but she writes regularly in a couple of national newspapers as well as books. She also has a website; Bad Mothers Club .

This book is in fact her own story of how she came to get married and have children and the experience of trying to parent two toddlers and never feeling she gets it quite right. I’d picked it up thinking it was fiction, but after an initial slight disappointment that it wasn’t I got stuck in and and quickly started to enjoy Stephanie’s witty writing and sheer honesty about the pitfalls and stresses of trying to raise children without losing your sanity entirely!

There are many funny stories, moments that have made me groan in recognition and others that have had me giggling nonstop.

This is an older book but it’s made me want to look out for other books that she’s written and I may even stumble on to the ‘bad mothers’ website to add a story or two of my own!

Verdict: A witty and entertaining read.

Reviewed by Lesley

Publisher: Pan
Publication Date: February 2006
Format: Paperback
Pages: 324
Genre: Non Fiction, Parenting
Age: Adult book review
Reviewer: Lesley
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: None
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