Posts Tagged ‘ home birth ’

Author Dr. Anne Lyerly Writes About What ‘A Good Birth’ Is In Her New Book

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

Whenever two moms become friends, they inevitable share their birth stories. It’s just such a huge and ingrained moment in a woman’s life. Now health expert, Anne Drapkin Lyerly, M.D., has asked real mothers about our experiences and written a book about it. Currently expecting her fifth child, she knows what she’s talking about. In A Good Birth: Finding the Positive and Profound in Your Birth Experience, Dr. Lyerly discusses all the stuff we worry so much about. See what her angle is in our exclusive Q&A below.

KK: What is “A Good Birth”?
ADL: Indeed, that’s the question at the heart of my book. Broadly speaking, a good birth is a birth that a mom can look back at and feel good about – embrace, relish, value for what it was and what it meant – and means to her, on terms that make sense to her.


A Good Birth is also the title of my first book – definitely a labor of love, written in the first intense year of my fourth baby’s life, but conceived long before he was. For years I’d been frustrated by the contentious debates between midwifery and obstetrics, and by literature that was overly simplistic and dominated by the voices of practitioners and advocates rather than childbearing women themselves. It struck me that for decades society has taken seriously the notion of a “good death” but too many books on birth these days focus on birth plans or medical considerations, narrowly construed, without attending to the ways that birth is a serious life event, a bookend of life that deserves our attention and due regard. So I conducted a large study called The Good Birth Project, in which I asked a wide variety of women to talk about their births, what made them good, what made them bad. Their stories are the basis for A Good Birth – are gorgeous and full of wisdom and insight, and together point toward a better way of thinking and talking about birth than what we have now.

KK: Why is there so much controversy today about birth alternatives (midwives, home births, etc)?
Part of it is that birth matters to us – it always has.  Not just that it happens, but how.  Memories of birth endure, stories of birth get told and retold. Birth is a major life event, we care how it happens, we care about that moment that we “meet” our child.  And the stakes are high – birth involves bodily integrity, intimacy, private decisions, children. In those ways controversy it to be expected, perhaps welcomed. (more…)

Add a Comment

Midwives are Hot: Watch ‘Call the Midwife’ on PBS and Read ‘The Midwife of Hope River’

Friday, October 5th, 2012

Obsessed with midwives? I am. Not so long ago, midwives were a lifeline for pregnant women and their families. Today, they’re wonderful additions to standard healthcare. Get advice about them here and here.

Get a dose of what midwifery was like in the old days with a great TV show, ‘Call the Midwife,’ and a moving novel, ‘The Midwife of Hope River.’

Call the Midwife‘ could be the new ‘Downton Abbey‘. It’s that good. It’s about Jenny Lee (pictured above), a young midwife in East London in the 1950s. She navigates the social mores of her era while helping pregnant women solve their complicated problems. She’s the new girl among the seasoned nuns at her Anglican hospital, and she’s just as shocked by the soon-to-be mothers as she is by the nuns who have become immune to their sad stories. I couldn’t stop watching. What happens to the Spanish mom who went into early labor? Can Jenny help another patient with her sudden case of preeclampsia? Find out this Sunday at 9 EST on PBS. (If you missed last week’s series premiere, catch it here.)

‘The Midwife of Hope River’ is a novel set in West Virginia during the Depression. Main character Patience Murphy loves helping women bring their new babies into the world, but she is hiding secrets that keep her from getting close to anyone. Patience is a loving, intriguing and enlightening protagonist. Her realistic birth stories are fascinating. That’s because the author, Patricia Harmon, was herself a midwife in rural communes and, later, in hospitals. Harmon’s memoirs, ‘The Blue Cotton Gown’ and ‘Arms Wide Open: A Midwife’s Journey,’ are also supposed to be informative and entertaining.

I love fiction that sheds light on history, especially the histories of mothering.

Add a Comment