But you also want to hear it from someone who’s been there, done that. If your OB/GYN is a male, that’s not likely to be the case; and even if not, you don’t want worries or concerns smoothed over—or worse, the experience to be ballooned out into some insurmountable fear. You want to hear some friendly truth-telling from a mother who knows what labor is like.
In The Birth Book: Everything You Need to Know to Have a Safe and Satisfying Birth, you get both. Written by a pediatrician-wife team with eight children (William and Martha Sears, authors of the popular The Baby Book and creators of the attachment parenting practice), the experience of birth is covered in a complete, exhaustive fashion that doesn’t intimidate.
The book has three sections every new mom is likely to appreciate: Preparing for Birth, Easing Pain in Labor, and Experiencing Birth. Everything from water births to home births, cesarean sections to vaginal births, and birthing plans to drugs are covered in these sections. It’s not just designed to inform, however; it is written to specifically put parents’ worries to rest. Sure, it contains some scary things that can happen during birth, as any birth can take a scary turn; but it also contains personal stories from 14 different births, illustrating how no two births are the same.
Both Sears bring something more to the table than their credentials suggest as well. William’s background as a professor at the University of Southern California’s School of Medicine helps add a teaching element to the book, while Martha’s an expert on labor and childbirth outsider her own experience as well. One of the most reassuring things that the duo teaches is that every mother has options during her labor.
Be warned, however, that if you land an older copy that some of the research is outdated. Martha Sears also seems to have had relatively short labors during each of her pregnancies; read that with a grain of salt, knowing that many labors do take longer. It’s always best to check with your own doctor regarding your own situation before going by what any book tells you. That said, this one does cover a lot of the bases and provides many reassuring pain techniques and stories to help you through your own labor.