Simply Give Birth: A Mini-Review

Only about a week following my miscarriage, I received a review copy of a new book by Heather Cushman-Dowdee (also known as Hathor the Cowgoddess). I have a pile of birth-related books waiting for me to review. However, I found that this soon post-miscarriage when I go to read them, my heart just isn’t in it, and I set them down again. However, Heather’s book was a different experience. Titled Simply Give Birth, the book is a beautiful collection of powerful birth stories (mostly unassisted births). When I got the book, I thought, “well, I’ll just flip through this a bit, even though my heart isn’t in it.” Well, I was instantly entranced in spite of myself. I didn’t finish reading it that week, but I picked it back up the following week and read it all the way through. What a treasure. It was very, very good and I really recommend it.

As I have briefly referenced here, I was struck by how the experience of “unassisted natural home miscarriage” parallels that of unassisted birth. Immediately after my body released my little baby, I felt strong and brave and powerful and like, “wow! I did it!” even though the outcome was not what I ever planned for or wanted. I rarely see feelings like that expressed in the many hospital/D & C miscarriage stories I’ve been reading lately and I feel happy that I was able to give myself and my baby the gift of “letting go” in our own dear home.

Reading Heather’s introduction about telling a new story about birth made me think there are new stories to be told about miscarriage as well. She says about the stories she selected for her book: “…all birth stories…prove what can be done. We can birth our babies and relish it too. We’re not stoic or fanatical, we’re mothers doing what mothers have always done, giving birth; with grace and spirit, and chutzpah, and moxie…they shared their grief, their passions, their exhaultation, and their fears. It takes massive courage to write about this most personal of moments with such candor and intensity and then be willing to share…”

Simply Give Birth is simply amazing. If hope you are lucky and find it in your Christmas stocking this year. If you don’t, or if you just can’t wait to read it, pop on over to the website and buy it ASAP!

7 thoughts on “Simply Give Birth: A Mini-Review

  1. Molly, I just read this book, cover to cover, and I really enjoyed it. I can imagine it’s hard to read birth-related books if you’ve just had a miscarriage (I’ve been there too) but I totally agree that this one is special.

  2. I, too, was impressed by the similarities between my miscarriage and my births; only with the bleeding and the clotting strangely before the birth, rather than after. With the exception that my births have all been unmedicated, whereas I couldn’t quite deal with the contractions (not cramps, but contractions) of the miscarriage without a dose or two of OTC pain meds.

    I don’t know about you – being farther along and having had complications – but after I passed the placenta I felt an enormous sense of physical relief, and had quite a lot of energy. Being suddenly not pregnant – with the nausea and fatigue that always accompanies my first trimester- felt great. It took a week or so for the shock to wear off and real grief to set in, but right after the miscarriage I felt fine, which is not, from what I hear, the experience of those having D&Cs.

    • I absolutely know what you’re talking about about the sense of physical relief and energy. I didn’t experience it until 6 days after the baby was born, when my placenta FINALLY came out. As soon as it was gone, I felt practically giddy. I felt buoyant and happy and oh so relieved. I was almost “manic” I felt so excited and happy. I also suddenly had plenty of physical stamina–I was very weak and felt like lying down a lot for the preceding six days, but after that dang placenta was gone, I was walking to the mailbox, etc. and feeling “normal” physically, all of the sudden.

      With mine, I only had spotting at first (less than with “bloody show” before my full term births) and then my water broke (clear fluid) and then there was one large clot before the baby was born. It was after the baby that I had all kinds of major clots. I had about two hours of regular contractions before the baby came out–and yes, they were definitely contractions, not cramps! I had cramps the day before that alerted me in the first place that something was up–totally different that the real “labor” part. I felt like they were about the same as with my previous baby–no stronger or worse. I didn’t take anything for them because they were so contractiony. If they’d stayed like cramps I might have tried something OTC. The way it was, I kicked into labor-coping-mode instead. I didn’t actually feel sad during the active part of the miscarriage–I felt like I was doing what I had to do. The only way to do it is go through it. That kind of thing. The grief hit in waves at a variety of points, but not while I was actually dealing with the physical experience.

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