It was 20 years ago this summer that I was pregnant for the first time, working every day at the Univ. of Utah Medical Center as a lab assistant to a medical school professor. As I rode the bus to my job and then back to our apartment in Sugar House every day, my tummy got bigger and bigger, and my yearnings to be a nesting mom at home got huger and huger. It was one of the happiest days in my life when I quit work at 37 weeks pregnant to be a stay at home mom. I gave birth to my beautiful son 3 and 1/2 weeks later. To celebrate my 20 years of having babies, I am reviewing the above book by Jennetta Billhimer, entitled Wise Childbearing.
How I wish this book had been around when I was first pregnant! I was a sucker for the popular, What to Expect When You Are Expecting, which has a limited view about the possibilities of birth. It’s basically a book on how to have a typical conveyor belt hospital birth that treats women like machines. This involves yielding to all the hospital procedures that are not necessarily for you or your baby’s best interest. If you don’t understand what the problem is with typical hospital birth, then read Wise Childbearing, and watch Ricki Lake’s movie, The Business of Being Born. See below.
Wise Childbearing is a super resource for all expecting parents because it opens up your mind to all the choices and possibilities involved with birth. For instance:
- It is possible and safe to have a baby at home.
- It is possible to have a baby without medication.
- It is possible to have a baby without being cut to let the baby out.
- It is possible to have a joyful, pain-free birth!
- Nutrition makes a huge difference as to lessening of birth problems, such as preeclampsia
- Doulas and husbands can play key roles in helping the birthing mom feel safe and empowered.
After having 7 babies, including 5 natural births, 4 home births, and 2 water births, all of these concepts are basically “Duh!” statements for me now but they were not obvious when I was first-time, newly pregnant. If you are a first-time mom, seeking to know all of your birthing options, this is the pregnancy and birth book for you. If you are a seasoned veteran mom of natural birth, you probably know everything in it. I don’t know, maybe not. I learned a few things. I really like that is says that eating fat is good for you and it will make your skin more stretchy and supple so that it easier for your body to stretch and let that baby out. Fat makes you happy, oh yeah! (As long as it is good, natural fat like saturated fat, or olive oil.)
I love how this book has so many ideas in one place: everything about birth anyone would want to know (including some comfort measures for labor that I hadn’t heard of like belly dancing and using a rebozo), plus information on cloth diapering, attachment parenting, the father’s role, breastfeeding, how to make a birth wish list, nighttime parenting, the family bed, vaccinations, and more. I love the Internet resources in the back. This is the perfect book for pregnant moms who are interested in exploring natural birth. If you are having a conveyor belt birth, don’t bother with the book.
I give it 4 1/2 stars. That’s for a few reasons. These are nitty-gritty reasons, here’s where my inner nerd comes out. First, the huge size of the book. It’s a hefty size which makes it hard to tuck into a purse for snatches of reading for busy moms on the go, especially first time moms who are likely working at jobs outside the home. I just wish it somehow could be a trimmer size. Second, there’s one little thing about breastfeeding I disagree with. It says to nurse for fifteen minutes on each side to build up hindmilk. La Leche League International actually recommends nursing on a side as long as the baby either falls asleep or comes off on her own. For most moms, 15 minutes on a side is probably not long enough to build up hindmilk. For some moms like me who tend to have overactive milk-ejection reflex (OAMER), nursing 15 minutes on a side is a recipe for disaster. That increases the speed of the milk ejection and makes it harder for the baby to cope with the flow, making the baby gassy, burpy, and fussy at the breast.
Third, I wish it had more information on nutrition. I like that it recommends fat, but it doesn’t distinguish between the bad, hydrogenated, factory made fat and good, saturated fat found in nature. I like that it recommends eating whole grains and even soaking grains but it doesn’t say what to soak the grains in. I like that it encourages the eating of meat to supply iron and other minerals, along with vitamins. I wish it went into more about the risks of continued childbearing on a vegetarian or vegan diet. (Hey, I was vegan and had a baby on a vegan diet so I know it’s possible, but to continue to have babies on a vegan diet is not completely healthful. Succeeding babies are not as robust.) I also wish that it mentioned the crucial importance of magnesium, especially in alleviating morning sickness, alongside the mention of calcium, potassium, iron and sodium. I like that it refers to the importance of eating enough protein, at least 80 grams a day, but also wish it mentioned the importance of eating bone broth during pregnancy as source of easily assimilated nutrients. I wish that it referred to the work of Dr. Weston Price and the Weston Price foundation which every childbearing mom needs to know about, with its recommended diet for pregnant and nursing moms. I wish it had emphasized the importance of this diet on both the health and beauty for mom and baby, as well as ease of pregnancy and delivery and prevention of postpartum blues, with a link to WAPF baby photo gallery as evidence. But the author probably didn’t know about these resources, just like I didn’t know about the possibility of joyful natural birth when I was first pregnant. And inclusion of what I just recommended would have made the book bigger, when I just said I wanted it smaller. Hmmm, maybe a revision with my recommendations in a Kindle version would solve the problem. For a complete book on just pregnancy and nutrition, that fits what I am talking about, go here.
To get this great book for you or someone you know who is pregnant, go here.
You can use the coupon code “treeoflifemom” to get a 20% discount.