My Favourite Books

The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin

Penny Simkins text provides a well grounded discussion of birth, labor and postpartum. Simkins uses research and anecdotes to construct an instructional, informative and interesting text that is an asset to anyone looking to support a family during birth. 

The Birth Partner acts as a cumulative resource of information and care during late pregnancy, labor and birth, and the early postpartum. The author intends the text to be used as a reference for partners, doulas and companions during care. Simkins utilization of darkened edges, clearly laid out information and anecdotes gives the reader confidence in locating useful care techniques. The darkened edges mark individual sections that may be of significance such as “Timing Contractions”, “Signs of Labor”, or the “Take Charge Routine”. This makes information easily locatable even in stressful situations. Simkin uses plenty of diagrams and tables to present her information in an easily readable format. Her language is both professional and easy to read. 

The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care by Jennifer Block

Jennifer Block wrote a passionate, stark, and often uncomfortable narrative investigating women’s rights and contemporary childbirth. Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care is an unapologetic critique of the maternal medical system in the United States. 

Block uses primary research to expose the disservice that modern maternity care has done to women. Block implores readers by empowering them with education to question routine maternity care and to take back birth.  Block introduces her text with a discussion of the title “Pushed”, she uses the powerful connotations behind the term to drive home her unapologetic tone. 

She acknowledges the “push”ing pressures that all people feel in birth and uses this as a ground point to spring into her poignant critique of maternity care. Jennifer Block is blunt and to the point, making passionate claims about the state of contemporary care. The text is divided into 8 chapters; (1) Arranged Birth, (2) The Short Cut, (3) Denied Birth, (4) Consequences, (5) Mother’s Helper, (6) Underground, (7) Criminalized, (8) Rights. Over the course of these 8 sections Block makes a compelling case suggesting protocol in maternity care is driven not by evidence based research that best supports the mother and baby, but rather by fear of litigation or lawsuits.

The Birth House by Ami McKay

A wonderful, easy read. A great capstone to help you relax during your final stages of pregnancy. The Birth House follows a young girl coming of age in 1800th century Nova Scotia. 

She trains under a holistic traditional midwife but is met with hostility by the medical community and distrust from locals. 

The Birth House discusses birth as it may have been for many women as technology took hold. 

Ghost Belly by Elizabeth Heineman

Some books fall into your lap and completely shake your core. Ghostbelly by Elizabeth Heineman is one such book. Ghostbelly is Heinemans harrowing account of what we as sisters, friends, mothers, birth workers, and companions are all most terrified of. Her words, honesty, and heartache paint a deeply moving story of tragic loss, healing, and the depths of love. A memoir that will take your heart and shatter it, Elizabeth Heineman takes you on her journey of grief, love, and life. 

 In an intimate and astonishingly vulnerable memoir Heineman explores the bonding and grieving process when one is faced with stillbirth. She examines our uncomfortable relationship with death and challenges the idea that the dead should be detached from life and loved ones, but rather welcomes it into her life and home.  Seeringly honest this is one of those books that needed to be written, needed to be created so that a soul could heal, but equally so, it needs to be read. Few books articulate the delicate dance between life and death, the living and the dead, so reverently as Ghost Belly.