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review 2017-06-26 01:44
35/100: Hypnobirthing - the Mongan Method by Marie Mongan

HypnoBirthing: The Mongan MethodHypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method by Marie F. Mongan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I might come back and give this book 2 stars after I actually give birth if I decide it's all bunk.

But for now, I like the Mongan method philosophy (on paper, at least!) of birth being a natural process that should be approached as such, with as little anxiety or drama as possible. I definitely agree that we need to move away, as a culture, from ideas of the stress of childbirth as being fodder for humor or hysteria as we so often see portrayed in sitcoms and movies. I also think that if changing your mindset about labor reduces your anxiety leading up to birth, even if the birth process itself is harrowing, you've saved yourself all that unnecessary stress in the preceding months.

This is a comprehensive, holistic book that goes beyond the hypnobirthing relaxation techniques, so that even if you don't practice the techniques (which I have been practicing, but I'm not very good at them) you can find value in the overall philosophy. A couple things that bothered me, though, were more typos than should have been present in a non-self-pubbed book (especially in the "new/updated" chapters, as if they'd rushed those off) and a total lack of acknowledgment about some of the special circumstances that make human childbirth different from childbirth for other mammals who suffer less through it, such as our massive heads/big brains.

Still, I'm glad I read the book and also that I took the class, and I would recommend both together rather than trying to get by with just one or the other.

View all my reviews

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text 2015-03-04 15:17
Delivery: Midwives in Romances
Butterfly Garden: A Sensual Amish Historical Romance - Annette Blair
Virgin River - Robyn Carr
Lady in the Mist (The Midwives #1) - Laurie Alice Eakes
The Midwife and the Lawman - Marisa Carroll
Karma - Viola Grace
By Julie Garwood The Secret - Julie Garwood
This Golden Land - Barbara Wood
Never Less Than a Lady (Lost Lords #2) - Mary Jo Putney
A Midwife Crisis - Lisa Cooke
The Midwife of Venice - Roberta Rich

Call of the Midwife and a rethinking of Western childbirth practice are giving the midwife the spotlight in popular culture but these heroines have always been abundant in Romance Novels. 


A powerful part of women's work in any time period, these heroines deserve a starring role.


Here is a diverse array of Midwife Heroines from Romanceland.  My lists are never in any particular order. 


1. Butterfly Garden: A Sensual Amish Historical Romance by Annette Blair


Amish woman Sara Lapp, all but shunned for studying with the English doctor to become a midwife, is shocked that, after months of waiting, her first call to tend a birth comes from self-appointed outcast Mad Adam Zuckerman. For his wife’s sake, Sara boldly tells Adam that he is killing Abby with so many babies so close, but Abby is already dead.

Adam did not call Sara to tend the birth, but to give her his children. Though Sara knows Abby’s girls belong with their father, how can she leave them with a man who seems not to care for them? As much as she loves and wants the girls, she decides that she will only take them long enough to teach Adam to love them.

As a child Adam heard the words, “I do this because I love you,” with his father’s every abuse. Adam is afraid to love his children, afraid that in doing so, he will hurt them. Without Abby to protect them, Adam must find someone else, and he can think of only one woman strong and brave enough, Spinster Sara Lapp.


2. Virgin River by Robyn Carr


Wanted: Midwife/nurse practitioner in Virgin River, population six hundred. Make a difference against a backdrop of towering California redwoods and crystal-clear rivers. Rent-free cabin included.

When the recently widowed Melinda Monroe sees this ad, she quickly decides that the remote mountain town of Virgin River might be the perfect place to escape her heartache, and to reenergize the nursing career she loves. But her high hopes are dashed within an hour of arriving: the cabin is a dump, the roads are treacherous and the local doctor wants nothing to do with her. Realizing she's made a huge mistake, Mel decides to leave town the following morning.

But a tiny baby, abandoned on a front porch, changes her plans…and former marine Jack Sheridan cements them into place.


3. The Secret by Julie Garwood


Judith Hampton was as beautiful as she was proud and loyal. Her dear Scottish friend from childhood was about to give birth, and Judith had promised to be at her side. But there was another, private reason for the journey from her bleak English home to the Highlands: to meet the father she had never known, the Laird Maclean. Nothing prepared her, however, for the sight of the Scottish barbarian who was to escort her into his land...Iain Maitland, Laird of his clan, a man more powerfully compelling than any she had ever encountered.

In a spirited clash of wills and customs, Judith reveled in the melting bliss of Iain's searching kisses, his passionate caresses. Perplexed by her sprightly defiance, bemused by her tender nature, Iain felt his soul growing into the light and warmth of her love. Surely nothing would wrench her from the affection and trust of Iain and his clan...not even the truth about her father, a devastating secret that could shatter the boldest alliance, and the most glorious of loves!


4. Karma by Viola Grace


Olive has wanted to take midwife training, but the waiting list is nearly a decade long. When she is offered the chance to take the training and go into space, she takes it. Who wouldn’t?

Assigned as midwife to a pregnant Terran on an alien world, she is immersed in a world of fighters, trainers and paparazzi.

Regaran knows that a Terran would be a good match for him, but the only one he knows is taken. When he meets Olive, he is stunned by his response to her soft words and shy manner. After she gets a good night’s sleep, he finds out that her words are carefully chosen and she is not as demure as she looks. She’s a warrior who picks her battles, and he is looking for a fight.


5. Lady in the Mist by Laurie Alice Eakes


By virtue of her profession as a midwife, Tabitha Eckles is the keeper of many secrets. Dominick Cherrett is a man with his own secret to keep: namely, why he, a British aristocrat, is on American soil working as an indentured servant.

In a time when relations between America and England rest on the edge of a knife, Tabitha and Dominick cross paths, leading them on a journey of intrigue, threats, public disgrace, and . . . love. But can Tabitha trust Dominick? Finding true love seems impossible in a world set against them.


6.  The Midwife and the Lawman by Marisa Carroll


If Devon Grant had her way, she'd turn her back on Enchantment. There's simply too much history in that small town. But her sense of honor has her returning to help her ailing grandmother run The Birth Place—even though she's still angry about her grandmother's past actions. And there's also Miguel Eiden, the man who broke her heart ten years before.


Then Devon uncovers a secret and must decide what to do and who to trust—because in order to help three innocent children she might have to bend, if not break, the law. Not so easy when the new chief of police is her old love Miguel.


7. This Golden Land by Barbara Wood


Eighteen-year-old Hannah Conroy has always dreamed of following in her father’s footsteps as a healer. But in nineteenth-century England, the medical profession is closed to women. She sees midwifery as a back door into that world, but her fledgling career is crushed by personal tragedy. Seeking to escape a possible murder conviction in England, Hannah’s world is turned upside down as she boards a boat bound for Melbourne. Young and naïve, with some laboratory notes and a handful of medical instruments, she hopes Australia is a place of a new beginning and a fresh start, a place where she can begin a midwife practice. Arriving during a period of enormous change in Australia, Hannah faces a myriad of challenges. Not only must she fight for acceptance as a medical professional, but she also falls in love with and must decide between two men: an American photographer seeking a new life in Australia, and a rowdy outlaw fleeing arrest. This Golden Land presents a love story that neither time nor distance can erase.


8. Never Less Than A Lady by Mary Jo Putney


As the sole remaining heir to the Earl of Daventry, Alexander Randall knows his duty: find a wife and sire a son of his own. The perfect bride for a man in his position would be a biddable young girl of good breeding. But the woman who haunts his imagination is Julia Bancroft--a village midwife with a dark secret that thrusts her into Randall's protection.

Within the space of a day, Julia has been abducted by her first husband's cronies, rescued, and proposed to by a man she scarcely knows. Stranger still is her urge to say yes. A union with Alexander Randall could benefit them both, but Julia doubts she can ever trust her heart again, or the fervent desire Randall ignites. Yet perhaps only a Lost Lord can show a woman like Julia everything a true marriage can be. . .


9. A Midwife Crisis by Lisa Cooke


Due to her family’s meddling, an Appalachian midwife finds herself with three eager fiancés, but it’s the new doctor in town who makes her pulse race.


Katie Napier’s zany family has decided she needs a husband. And when Katie’s family puts their mind to something, it’s as good as done. In fact, they’re so good, they’ve arranged three fiancés for her in less than a week. What’s a midwife to do?


Dr. John Keffer is used to helping people. It’s why he came back to the Appalachian Mountains—to build a new practice and leave behind the painful memories of the big city. But usually his help is of a medical nature, not advising the most captivating woman he’s ever met which man to wed. A difficult task, especially once he decides he wants to keep her for himself.


10. The Midwife of Venice by Roberta Rich


Hannah Levi is renowned throughout Venice for her gift at coaxing reluctant babies from their mothers using her secret “birthing spoons.” When a count implores her to attend his dying wife and save their unborn son, she is torn. A Papal edict forbids Jews from rendering medical treatment to Christians, but his payment is enough to ransom her husband Isaac, who has been captured at sea. Can she refuse her duty to a woman who is suffering? Hannah’s choice entangles her in a treacherous family rivalry that endangers the child and threatens her voyage to Malta, where Isaac, believing her dead in the plague, is preparing to buy his passage to a new life.



Did I miss your favorite? Let me know! Vote on my Goodreads list: Delivery: Midwives in Romances.

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review 2014-04-22 21:37
Motherhood is Not a Competition: Why Pressure Moms to Strive for the "Perfect" Natural Childbirth (and make them feel guilty if that isn't in the cards)?
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth - Ina May Gaskin

Now that my youngest (and probably last, alas) son is a year old, I feel like I have enough distance to be able to write this review. My wife and I have two boys: she carried and birthed the oldest; I carried and birthed the youngest. My wife went first for several reasons, not least of which was that I had have a real and irrational fear of childbirth. The hope was that Pelly's birth experience would be smooth, and having observed it, I'd feel better when my turn came around. Knowledge is power, right?


Well, it didn't work out that way. Due to complications, Pelly delivered our older son by emergency c-section four weeks early, without experiencing a single contraction. When my turn came around, I still felt woefully unprepared and not a little bit terrified of childbirth. We took the classes, I talked to other moms, I read everything I could get my hands on (including this book), I read a billion birth stories on birthwithoutfear, but in this case, Knowledge was NOT Power. So much of what I read just made me more scared (even though I tried to avoid the triggering stuff, the loss stories, the bad outcomes).


Eventually, my wife and my doctor staged an intervention. They told me to throw out my birth plan and put away the books and websites and just let it go. "You want a birth plan? Here's the birth plan: We go to the hospital, and we come out with a healthy baby, and two healthy moms. That's the goal. That's all that matters."


But that's crazy! It's too simple! My brain doesn't work that way! What about all the what-ifs and contingencies? I'm a girl who likes to be prepared for any eventuality.


"You can't," my doctor said bluntly. "You can be prepared, but you can't be in charge."


Long story short (seriously, I just wrote my whole birth saga in 10 long paragraphs and deleted them because this is a BOOK REVIEW), my birth did not go according to plan either. I was put on bed rest at 33 weeks and then delivered by emergency caesarian at 38 weeks. It was not what I wanted. I felt like my body had betrayed me by failing at this most basic task of womanhood, which my female relatives have done countless times without issue. Maybe I was too old. Maybe I'm just a wimp when it comes to pain. Maybe I should have resisted medical interventions for longer. Maybe I should've hired a doula.


But when I tried to tell my wife all this, she shook her head. "You followed the birth plan. Healthy baby; two healthy mamas. You're a rock star."


It took me a long time to come around to my wife's way of thinking, and to be honest, I have moments when I'm not totally there yet. Here's the thing (and I'm finally getting to the book review part of this review, I promise): Motherhood has become a competitive sport in our culture. We are under enormous pressure to be the Right kind of parents, get our kids into the Right schools and the Right activities, use the Right methods of feeding, weaning, sleep training, discipline, et cetera. The media and social pressure often make it seem like the fate of the world (or at least the future well-being and societal value of our kids) rests on basic parenting decisions like whether or not to use cloth diapers or BPA-free sippy cups. And this insane social pressure on moms begins even before kids are born, in the Natural Childbirth movement that this book represents.


Let me be clear. I have nothing against natural childbirth. If it had worked for me, it would have been ideal. I think this book really does aim to give women information and strategies for a positive natural childbirth experience, and it is an unintended consequence (perhaps not even stemming from the book itself, but from other media sources and the natural childbirth movement at large) that women like me end up feeling like our non-natural birth experiences are tainted or less-than, or that we have failed as women and mothers, because we needed a little extra help. The days and weeks following my son's birth should have been the happiest of my life (well, barring the hormones rocking my boat, of course), but instead I had to spend the first year of my baby's life wrestling with guilt and shame and a sense of inadequacy, and that's just stupid.


Healthy Babies, Healthy Mamas. That's the bottom line. As long as readers don't lose sight of that, and start viewing doctors as the enemy and medical intervention as failures, this book contains a lot of useful information.



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review 2013-01-26 00:00
Fertility, Pregnancy, and Childbirth: A Gynecologist Answers Your Most Important Questions
Fertility, Pregnancy, and Childbirth: A Gynecologist Answers Your Most Important Questions - Lissa Rankin Didn't really answer any of my questions but was still informative and easy to read
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review 2012-02-29 00:00
The Year of Compulsory Childbirth
The Year of Compulsory Childbirth - Nige... The Year of Compulsory Childbirth - Nigel Farringdon So disappointing. There's so much that could have been done with this, but it just fell flat for me. Lots of rhetoric, no real character development, and it didn't make me care about what happened.
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