Milli Hill's New Approach to Pregnancy, Birth and the Early Weeks
I knew I had stumbled upon a gem when I first began reading The Positive Birth Book by Milli Hill. As early as the book's introduction I repeatedly caught myself saying Yes! Yes! in agreement. It has been wonderful to find another book which I feel will greatly add to my Doula Library! This book delivers on exactly what its title says. Simply put, it is POSITIVE about all types of birth! It doesn't matter what type of birth you are planning or which choices you make during labour. What Milli Hill does in The Positive Birth Book is go over the many options available during labour so as to educate, inform and gently guide expectant parents in a way that is not fear-based.
The truth is, you will reach a point in your pregnancy when you will have the revelation that, "Wait, this baby HAS TO come out!?" This happens to both first time mums and those with subsequent pregnancies, myself included! This realisation may be earlier on or later as your pregnancy progresses but it is damn scary! What Milli Hill highlights in her book is that unfortunately we live in a society that often only adds to those fears and anxieties. Television programmes are especially bad. Such fast paced, often medicalised shows are only illustrating a very one-sided portrayal of how birth can be. We need to ask ourselves how these programmes make us feel about birth. What we really need is an uplifting and empowering dialogue about one of life's most miraculous events- the creation of a new life. The Positive Birth Book encourages and contributes to this dialogue.
One chapter of the book goes through each stage of labour, describing how each may feel emotionally and physically for expectant moms. While traditionally there are three stages of labour, Milli breaks these stages down further into fourteen more detailed phases which often blend together during labour. I enjoyed this chapter of the book in particular because of the quotes after each phase from multiple women who shared glimpses of their birth stories. They really helped illustrate how labour and birth are so different for every woman and those unique experiences are okay!
Other topics covered that I feel are important are: birth place options, creating a birth plan (including a plan B and even C!), written versus visual birth plans, informed consent, using your BRAIN (looking at benefits, risks, alternatives, your intuition, and doing nothing) during labour, the many "what if"s of labour and the benefits of having a doula. Check out this free visual birth plan creator you can download thanks to The Positive Birth Book! It's easy to use and can be tailored for all types of birth!
What Milli Hill has written is a very engaging, and often funny, guide for parents so they can examine their options, plan and prepare for THEIR best birth, no matter what that looks like! Now that's something I can get behind as a doula and childbirth educator. We need more books like The Positive Birth Book that embrace parents' choices and highlight the importance of making decisions with a more positive mindset that releases fears, anxieties and doubts!