Men & Love at Birth.

By Sandy McGivern-Butler
Jun 2016

Let me start by putting right out there; I absolutely loved this book. So much that I bought my own copy so I could both reread bits of it whenever I wanted to and lend it out to friends to help them feel better about what’s possible. Which is going to be difficult to do at the same time, so perhaps I need a second copy…hmmmm….

The book about being present at birth that your pregnant lover wants you to read Author: Mark Harris Published by: Pinter & Martin (UK) Year: 2015

Things I loved about this book, in no particular order:

It’s written by a bloke for blokes, so is seriously matter of fact and down to earth, and even has the odd gentle swear word (which you may or may not appreciate depending on your personal profanity threshold).

It’s not too long, is light, and easy to read. Great for those who struggle to find the time or the focus to read more serious books (speaking from one who has been through the “I can’t believe I can’t even read an entire magazine article anymore!” phase not so long ago).

The bloke doing the writing is an actual midwife, and also runs prenatal classes, some aimed at the dads-to-be, so he is not just talking through a hole in his head.

The blokey midwife doing the writing has the general point of view that a woman’s body is pretty darn well designed and so unless there’s something medically wrong, and if people don’t get in the way, it will do an amazing job of birthing a baby all on its own. Yay! Just what I think too!

He sums up so easily and succinctly the key points of this, that I actually feel like you could consider this the cliff note, quick flick version of Sarah Buckley’s Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering for those who find all that detail and science stuff a bit more than they’re up for.

He’s not in your face about his point of view, and quietly and gently brings up how yes, these intervention-style options are what people tend to expect as normal, but you also might want to consider this, because of such and such… nice and gently, trying not to spook those who think that hospital beds, stirrups, epidurals and doctors telling you when to push is the only way a safe birth is supposed to go. There are some great transcripts of actual discussions in his dads’ antenatal classes, so you see it done beautifully and respectfully.

One of my favourite messages he has for the dads is that one of their most important jobs is to create and build oxytocin for their partner right across the labour and birth. And he gets them to start practicing RIGHT NOW (as in months out from the birth) and sets HOMEWORK for them to practice each week, to find ways to start building up oxytocin, like displays of affection, and massages, and doing unexpected, helpful things around the house…. Give the man a medal!

It’s such a great, easy to read, positive overview of birth that it is an excellent read for mums-to-be too, and I guess anyone who could do with a bit of a change of ideas from the old-school ones about birth being a medical issue.So yep, I really enjoyed this one!

The Author Mark Harris