A Good Birth is one of the more inspiring birth books I have read in awhile. It was challenging, thought provoking, annoying and amazing all at the same time.
The author, Anne Drapkin Lyerly, would state a fact or opinion and I would find myself objecting to what she was saying. Next thing I knew she would immediately address my objection… and then we were friends again.
Lyerly, through her detailed research and interviews, compiled case study after case study of women discussing their births and if they thought they were “good” or not. Through her research, she was determined to figure out what made a birth good. I think she figured it out.
Title: A Good Birth
Author: Anne Drapkin Lyerly, M.D.
Published: 2013 by the Penguin Group
What I loved:
I loved how incredibly validating A Good Birth is and will be for women no matter what kind of birth they experience. This book recognizes that women’s birth experiences truly matter, which is so important. It’s hard to take yourself seriously as a mother when your experience of birth is discounted as unimportant when you have a healthy baby. “A Good medical outcome doesn’t necessarily make for a good birth.” pg 6
What I liked:
I liked walking away from A Good Birth knowing there are five primary “domains” related to a good birth experience including agency, personal security, connectedness, respect and knowledge. As a childbirth educator and doula this will help me when supporting each individual mom and unique birth.
What I learned:
Lyerly wrote so many memorable ideas. One idea in particular stuck with me and I’d love to share it with you. The first section in A Good Birth is on control and the role it plays in a good birth. I found the discussion on how much control, or lack thereof, could be helpful to women in labor. I often hear prenatally, that women are worried about being out of control or having no control in their care. Rightly so.
The flip side of that coin is that losing control towards the end of labor and “letting go” can be the ticket to progressing through labor. Hearing case studies of women’s thoughts on this subject was truly enlightening. I feel like I understand the idea of “control” in regards to birth a little bit clearer.
What this books is:
This book should definitely be required reading for birth workers, new and old alike. I think it would be helpful for doulas, midwives, nurses, OBs to read A Good Birth and get on the same page. We all want to help women have good births, it’s just that sometimes we lose sight of how to do that.
What this book is not:
A quick read. You’re going to need time to digest, process and come back to A Good Birth. You should probably use a highlighter and take notes too.