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Has anyone read "Unassisted Childbirth"?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I bought the book "Unassisted Childbirth" by Laura Shanley off the website www.unassistedchildbirth.com because I was considering an unassisted birth at the time and wanted more info.

Has anyone else read it? What did you think of it? While I think she is right about homebirth being more safe than hospital birth and the dangers of common birth interventions, I still think she is a NUTCASE!!

She has this whole idea that if something bad happens to you, you did something to cause it and you subconsciously wanted it to happen. She also thinks that if you experience any pain during childbirth, it's because you didn't believe in yourself enough and, of course, you wanted it to happen.

She claims to have had five unassisted births and all were short labors, effortless, painless, even orgasmic. She has some of her life story and stuff about her husband as well, which also makes her sound strange.

I just think the part about bad events being all your fault to be really offensive and disempowering, especially to women. Try telling a rape victim that it was her fault, she created her own reality by not believing in herself, and that she subconsciously wanted it - what will that accomplish? Will she have the courage to go on with an unassisted birth then?

The general idea of the book is good - women are capable of giving birth without doctors, drugs, and machines - but I think maybe someone else should have written it.
post #2 of 9

laura shanley

I never read the book, but I do like her website. I have heard, she has some really different ideas, I think I also heard she had a UC where the baby died!!

Maybe try something by Marilyn Moran,

post #3 of 9
I have not read her book, but I know that she's all about that new age "you create your own reality" stuff. Which is pretty much a 20th century American expansion on the notion of karma. So I guess if you're neither hindu or new age in your belief system, you're going to think she's a nut.

I've read Marilyn Moran, who I liked, but she's got this whacky Catholic slant to it. And Lynn Griesemer is okay, but her religion creeps in a bit also. Laurie Morgan, who has her book on her website, is also Christian, but I have not heard her refer to it as a primary motivating element in why she chose to go unassisted. Then there's Leilah McCracken, who is angry as hell! but has an interesting perspective nontheless (and her site is great.) Hmm, who else... Mango Mama writes about UC on her website... Jeannine Parvati Baker, of course. She's also kind of new agey, but I think she's just fantastic. And Hygeia Halfmoon has written a book that discusses it, but I have not read it.

My feeling is that there is a LOT left to be said about unassisted birth, especially from a non-religious POV. I'm working on a book of my own, in fact.
post #4 of 9
I corresponded by email with Laura for over a year. She is a very centered, solid person. I like her a lot. She definitely follows a specific spiritual path (I think she says in her book that she is into Jane Roberts' Seth materials), and while it hasn't been revealed to me that life works the way she see's it does, her beliefs work for her.

One of her babies did die, she talks about that in the book. It was born too early, with sepsis, and some other congenital problems, and died an hour or so later. The post mortem showed that nothing could have been done to revive him. She had unassisted births before and after that baby, with no problems.

She really is a wonderful person.

post #5 of 9
I liked "Unassisted childbirth" mostly as a starting place for an UC. What I liked is that I believe that you do create your own reality and that there is meaning to your experiences. I can see how that can be taken too far....and I'd really have to think if I agree w/your point about it. not sure.
My personal fave is Jeannine Parvati Baker. She too may seem a bit fringe but she is a very wise woman IMO. She has a lot of articles you can purchase inexpensively off her website. www.freestone.org I have seen her speak twice and she has been a great inspriation and help to me. While she may not particularly speak to your tastes, I find her to be the most solid, thorough person *I* know associated w/ the movement. as sweetwater mentioned, there is the hygieia halfmoon book which I also liked though not as much as JPB. her journal through her last birth I found helpful when I was doubting myself during preg. w/ ds, preg. no 2. (BTW< we had a freebirth w/him and a assisted homebirth w/dd.)
I didn't particularly like Lynn griesmer's book, found it kind of basic and boring. Marilyn Moran's I thought was ok.
maybe it would help if we had your slant on why freebirth appeals to you....then we could suggest a better fitting book for you? every book/author/person has their own slant to it and it's just about finding the right person who speaks to you! good luck

BTW__sweetwater, what is your book like so far?? just curious!
post #6 of 9
Indigolilybear, I really think Jeannine Parvati Baker is just amazing. Have you seen A Clear Road to Birth? Her is an excerpt:

"I was born in the classic “real” way in the ‘40’s, a very violent style, and I also gave birth to my first one in a hospital.[...] I felt I had betrayed my baby’s trust. It was very hard for me to regain confidence in myself that I could protect my children.

So rather than still hold myself as a victim in that, I became a healer. And this is what I learned from my father’s people: that when we take our journey in life inevitably we’re going to trip on a rock here or there. We must as a people stop, pick up that rock, and remove it from the path so that those who come behind us won’t trip also. If we neglect to stop and pick up that rock in the road, anyone who follows after us and hurts themselves becomes our responsibility.[...]

That’s how I shifted from being a midwife to promoting freebirth. As a midwife I saw in one sense I was still keeping those rocks in place on the road, so I’ve devoted my life to picking up those rocks. And any of us who were hurt or traumatized in birth, we are the healers of birth. We have the credibility because we’ve been there. We know what it feels like to be victimized, to give our power away to this cult of experts. We reclaim that by picking the road free of obstacles so that our sisters, our daughters, our granddaughters who come behind us will have a clear road to birth."

Every time I see that part, I get all weepy.

As for my book, ha, it is currently about 80 pages worth of totally disorganized bits and pieces. I don't have a clear vision yet for how it's all going to go together.
post #7 of 9


sweetwater--thanks for sharing. I do have that video and never hesitate to sugest it to people. The most gentle births I've ever seen!! dd loved it too while preparing for her brother. the truth is--for me--that I get weepy just thinking about freebirth or JEannine in general. She has meant so much to me and dh's evolution as a family...the only really true beacon I've seen around in a long time. She validates everything I feel deep in my soul. I could go into instance after instance where she helped us take important steps....what's funny is I have a distinct memory of the first time picking up her book in college...and thinking omg!! this stuff is *crazy*!!!! and now I'm a hygieia student!
I am glad to hear about your book...sounds like a wonder in progress! let us know when ir gets nearer to finish. I *love* to read stuf on this topic.
just curious--do you assist families now to freebirth or in whatcapacity are you involved w/midwifery?
post #8 of 9
Indigolilybear, my dream is to help women educate themselves and find their ideal paths in birth. I'm not sure how to realize that dream just yet. And for the time being it's not practical to teach anyway because I have a very active baby who is not ready to be away from me yet.

I have thought about becoming certified as a childbirth educator, but the programs are quite expensive and I haven't found one yet that really has the focus that I'm looking for (and thinking that perhaps it doesn't exist.) I have heard about Jeannine's Hygeia workshops, but haven't looked into it because I was under the impression that I'd have to travel to Utah to take part... do you mean that you are studying with her in person or does she have something going over the internet?
post #9 of 9
hyegieia is a correspondance course and you never have to go to utah though there is an optional last lesson where you can go to see her in person at one of the workshops that are not neccesarily in utah. there is info at her web site....not sure if enrollment is still closed--it was a while ago but just contact her...she is really good about returning emails, etc.
I am on lesson one, saving for lesson two. (there are around ten lessons) It is by no means your typical class....she believes in something similar to the socratic method of asking the right questions to help them remember what they already know. You send in your first answers, then you email back and forth til you feel you have completed the lesson. I have found my interaction w/her to be very empowering, enlightening, and all in all just wonderful...and really focuses on something I've yet to see anyone else in this arena focus on. She doesn't believe in licensing as you may already know, so it is not like you receive a degree or anything.
anyway I could go on and on about this. I'd check out the web site www.freestone.org if you are really interested. She also has some speaking engagements this year that may be w/in traveling distance if you'd like to see her speak....a couple in CA and one in colorado...and of course, I *love* speaking about this topic so private message me if you have any questions for me!!
btw..how old is your newest little one?? She is the only person I've seen speak who not only tolerates little ones at speaking engagements, she WANTS them there....she believes they're closer to the source and has more to say than she does. just an aside
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Mothering › Mothering Forums › Pregnancy and Birth › Birth and Beyond › Homebirth › Has anyone read "Unassisted Childbirth"?