I am so absolutely delighted that a labor client asked me to read this book, The Calm Birth Method! I cannot recommend it more highly.
The author, Suzy Ashworth, is British and teaches her version of Hypnobirthing — which is maybe why I’d never heard of it (and there are a lot of books). She has a strong and calming voice and excellent advice.
The best thing is she gets right down to the bottom line and stays there. In my own words, that is:
You can choose to have a calm birth. You cannot guarantee a particular birth outcome, but by practicing relaxation techniques, you can pretty much guarantee that you will react to all challenges with grace and calm. All of which are pretty good life lessons, too. Something is driving you crazy? It’s an opportunity to practice your breathing!
I’m happy to say a lot of this is what I teach in my Lamaze class. My ultimate goal for each student is for them to have a satisfying birth experience, whatever that means to them.
(Unfortunately, I don’t have any control over the ultimate player who decides better than anyone what kind of birth experience their patient has — that is, the physician or midwife who is attending. But I digress.)
And, as a labor doula I’ve worked with a number of parents choosing Hypnobirthing — and again basically all of them have experienced calmer, happier labors. I’m a believer.
I think this book would be a good adjunct for someone who also wants to know more about the stages of labor and so forth and takes a more traditional childbirth class. Or, I think it absolutely stands on its own. Anyone can learn how to focus on their breath. Anyone can learn how better to communicate with their providers to ensure their concerns are heard. Anyone can practice saying no and exercising their rights as a patient (and as a person).
I leave you with wise words from the Introduction: No Vagina Whispering (bolding is mine):
"Although this is primarily a book about giving birth, you’ll also learn how to unleash your personal power from within, so that when the moment finally arrives for you to welcome your baby into the world, you’ll feel calm, positive and ready for whatever twists and turns may be presented to you. The only thing we know for sure about birth is that it’s a journey, and one where you can’t know ahead of time exactly what’s going to happen. You can, however, arm yourself with a mindset and a toolkit that can make giving birth one of the most incredible and enjoyable experiences of your life."