on 17 April 2002
Grantly Dick-Read has an insight into women and childbirth that no other man ever has!
I began reading this book when I discovered he was the original advocate of "natural" childbirth. I am in my third trimester of my first pregnancy and determined to do this the old fashioned way - without drugs and without pain. Reading Dick-Read's book has helped me realise that the "pain" associated with childbirth is often as a result of what we've heard from people around us - our mothers, sisters etc. - and if we have not heard these fear stories we have no reason to be very fearful ourselves.
He does not say that drugs in childbirth are an evil, but rather agrees that they are a necessity for some women but should never be forced in a routine childbirth if the mother does not want them.
His suggestions of the use of "birthing rooms" for the entire childbirth process, instead of movement from labor to delivery rooms is especially nice to read about.
He advocates having the father and even siblings present throughout the birth - something pretty much unheard of in the 1940s!
He stresses the importance of those first hours of a newborn's life, and that first breastfeeding experience - how much more important it is than the tests carried out routinely by hospital staff.
If you are looking for a book to help you understand the true nature of "natural" childbirth, this is the book to read first. Women who give birth without drugs are not martyrs - we all know there are no medals for childbirth, whether natural or medicated, vaginal or caesarean...