Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Book Review: Baby Catcher

Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife By Peggy Vincent

My baby sister has been reading almost as many baby books as I have since she found out about my pregnancy. Like me, she's an amazon junkie and takes reader reviews seriously. So when she saw Peggy Vincent's Baby Catcher and its rave reviews, she couldn't pass it up. Agreeing completely with the reviewers, passed it my direction, but not before making a few notes in the table of contents.

A few reviewers warned that this book is not for pregnant women. Bad things can happen during childbirth, and Vincent does include two such stories in her book. Worried that it might freak me out, sis inked a little sad face on any chapter that included anything sad. She also rated each chapter so that I'd make sure to read the best chapters if I ran short on time.  (Did I mention my sisters have been freaking awesome?)

I read the book, in its entirety, even the sad parts, because, despite being an exhausted mushy-minded pregnant zombie lady, I couldn't put it down. Vincent does an exceptional job of illustrating that, although there really is no such thing as a normal birth, childbirth is a natural process that woman are more than capable of accomplishing without medical intervention. Many of these stories are highly motivational and provided me with more confidence that I am will somehow to be able to make it through labor and delivery. And, frankly, I fear for the women who said this book is too scary for pregnant women. I think most women are aware that complications can happen and won't completely shatter because they read about it.

For the non-expectant, this book was an exceptional account of the midwifery and the world of home birth. I also provided an insider's look at how medical practices have evolved.

Despite my overall satisfaction with the book I do have one minor complaint. Vincent's depiction of hospitals is almost entirely negative. In the first chapter of the book she tells stories of women being strapped down and heavily medicated to the point where their birth experience can be described as nothing short of torture. She ends the book, and her career, practicing once again in a hospital and leads readers to believe that, though women are no longer being tied down, they are still being severely mistreated in this setting. I was surprised and a little put off by the tone in which she ended the book.

Overall, I would give this book a 4 out of 5 and would highly recommend it for anyone interested in reading inspirational birth stories.
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