Monday, April 16, 2007

Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born

After finishing Birth: The Surprising History of How We are Born, I feel disturbed, facinated, nauseated and in wonder. This book, by Tina Cassidy, gives the reader a tour de force ride through the history of the human birth process, and more specifically, women's unique experience of giving birth.

Starting with some anthropology and decriptions of the female human body and how it has adapted through time to accomodate a human child, the book goes on to highlight birth customs and fads throughout Western culture. There are many cringe-worthy passages that give the reader insight into the often horrific ways women were treated as they labored to give birth. From shackles and stirrups to c-sections without anesthesia to poor hygienic conditions and forcep mishaps, the author provides many examples of a process that has evolved greatly over time.

There are also many uplifting and gratifying tales of women who have had stress and pain free births, depending on the doctor, doula, midwife or birth partner present. Ultimately, the more women come to believe that birth is a natural process that is only hindered by fear, the more problems and complications seem to diminish. Some women, in such a comfortable state, report having orgasms during vaginal birth--a most interesting fact indeed!

I highly recommend this book to both women and the men who care about them, to check this book out. You'll never look at birth the same way again.

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