Long has my vision been that every mother is a midwife-all women giving birth can do so without medical involvement. Here is a book which not only validates my life work, but goes deeply into the psychological terrain a mother who gives unassisted childbirth inevitably journeys. There have been few road maps for this exploration before Shanley's book. The third chapter is of particular interest to Journal readers, entitled 'The Psychological Effects of a Traumatic Birth on a Family" which follows the most excellent research compiled in the opening chapters about obstetrics ("We've Come a Long WayOr Have We?" and "The Dangers of Medical Intervention"). After another brilliant chapter on "Why Physicians Insist on Intervening," Shanley goes into personal beliefs, unassisted birth stories, her own trail-blazing accounts of five spontaneous births on her own, and a conclusion wherein she summarizes the universal qualities of unassisted childbirth. We are expecting our first grandchild next year. UNASSISTED CHILDBIRTH was the first book I gave my daughter to read (followed by WHATEVER HAPPENED TO MOTHER and my own PRENATAL YOGA & NATURAL BIRTH). After she and her mate read the book, their birth plan was confirmed-Freebirth, wherein no one will be paid to be paranoid for them during birth.
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