Birth, Baby & Family, Books
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February Books

book review

midwife's storyA Midwife’s Story by Penny Armstrong

I read this in 2 evenings and I would read much more of Penny Armstrong’s tales of her amazing life as a midwife among the Amish community. As someone with a fascination for both birth and the Amish, this was a perfect. As with Call The Midwife by Jennifer Worth, Catching Babies by Sheena Byron and Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin – which are all inspiring reads) A Midwife’s Story is an historical account of midwifery, real stories of women birthing their babies without technology and medical interventions.

As an experienced antenatal teacher and doula, I see a place for inductions, caesareans, epidurals, monitoring and forceps but I also see a place for having more patience, for leaving mums and babies to do their thing, for calmer and less medical labours, for an acceptance of contractions and a belief in what our bodies can do. It can be a hard thing to marry these two philosophies together and I enjoyed reading Penny’s experience of wanting to do just that.

A Midwife’s Story follows Penny from her hospital midwifery to running her own midwifery practice for the Amish community who have a natural approach to childbirth. It’s a great read – the stories are an interesting insight into a different community as well as into a more natural approach to childbirth.

Holding by Graham NortonHolding

I’m cheating slightly with this one because I read it in January but it’s too good not to share! Graham Norton’s debut novel is an absolute delight. It’s a wonderful tale of secrets and people in a tiny Irish town and it is gentle story-telling at its very best – the descriptions of the town and its people made me feel like I knew them and I was sad to see them go at the end of the book. It’s a cosy book, like being wrapped in a warm blanket – really hoping he’s planning more.


cheer up loveCheer Up Love by Susan Calman

I bought this book last summer but put off reading it because I though it could be a bit depressing, as a book about being depressed might be. But it’s a joy, an absolute bloody joy of a book. It’s like she has seen inside my head and knows how it works when I’m depressed and anxious, when I can function really bloody well and when I need to take time out.

It made tears in a couple of places because it was so accurate and it made me smile and laugh because it was so familiar and accurate.

It’s a very honest, wonderful and uplifting read.

Positive Birth Book by Milli Hillpositive birth book

This is much needed addition to the pregnancy & birth bookshelf – something really positive, honest and informative.

It’s a practical and easy to read guide to labour, birth and all the what-ifs. As an experienced antenatal teacher, it’s rare to find a birth book that reinforces my own philosophy and birth practice but this hits the spot – it’s a great combination of practical information, experience, research and resources and it’s definitely on my
recommendation list for expectant parents.


Not giving a FThe Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**K by Sarah Knight

I am a bit late to this party but as 2018 hit I felt in need of some focus and letting go some of the crap that overwhelms and stresses. It is blunt, very sweary and brilliant. It’s about looking at the obligations and saying no to the things that don’t matter so we can focus on the things that do.

It is so obvious but the book gives us permission to reassess and say no because the alternative can be feeling overwhelmed by other people’s requests for us to attend and take part in different events, to donate time and money, to be interested in things we just aren’t interested in. And it’s not about choosing to be a miserable grump, it’s about putting ourselves and what matters to us first, rather than feeling obligated to always consider other people and what they think.

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