Gentle Birth Choices
by Barbara Harper, RN
[1994, Healing Arts Press, 267 pages, paperback]
[Review first published in Midwifery Today Issue 31, Autumn 1994, © 1994, Midwifery Today, Inc. Review by Robbie Davis-Floyd.]
This book is exactly the sort of guide that pregnant women have been needing to help them sort through the myriad choices and options that confront them in the 1990s. It beautifully conveys the magic, wonder and excitement of birth as it can be when women approach it as a natural process that they can trust. Barbara Harper's quest for alternatives to the technocratic norm led her to be one of the first women in the country to give birth in the water, an enlightening experience that inspired her to want all women to know the true range of their choices.
In order to appreciate this book most fully, it is important to note what it is not. This is not a book designed to perpetuate the technocracy. This book is not based on the principles of separation, but on connection. The dissociation of the woman from her own bodily experience and the separation of the mother from her baby so common in hospital births are not to be found in these pages. Barbara Harper seeks to heal the wounds generated by our separation-based way of life. She writes of the possibilities for reconnection through childbirth that are present when the woman takes charge of her birthing experience.
I hope that mothers, fathers and birth practitioners will choose to be guided by the information, the loving and accepting attitude toward women's bodies in all their untrammeled fluidity, and the profound wisdom that Barbara Harper offers them here.
Reviewer Robbie Davis-Floyd, Ph.D. is the author of Birth as an American Rite of Passage.
Review of "Gentle Birth Choices" (video)—Produced by Barbara Harper, RN