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Real Birth: Women Share Their Stories

Real Birth: Women Share Their Stories

5.0 1
by Robin Greene, Grey Brown (Afterword), Ariel Gore (Foreword by)
Generation Books was created in 1999 to give voice to the body-and-soul-changing experiences of women's lives. We are dedicated to publishing books that feature rich and diverse first-person accounts of such transformative events as childbirth, illness and recovery, marriage, divorce, starting over at midlife, even rape and the return to wholeness.

Our first book,


Generation Books was created in 1999 to give voice to the body-and-soul-changing experiences of women's lives. We are dedicated to publishing books that feature rich and diverse first-person accounts of such transformative events as childbirth, illness and recovery, marriage, divorce, starting over at midlife, even rape and the return to wholeness.

Our first book, Real Birth: Women Share Their Stories by Robin Greene, is a collection of 36 edited interviews with women who speak candidly about their birthing experiences. Greene explains:

"After having my first baby, I realized that women share their birthing stories the way men share their war stories, and I began looking for books where I could find the 'war stories' of other women. When I couldn't find such a book, I was inspired to create it myself."

Greene has made good on her inspiration. Real Birth gives eloquent voice to various and varied experiences of giving birth.

While there are existing books that provide accounts of the birthing process from the health professional's point of view, until Real Birth the most important voices-those of the women themselves-were noticeably absent from the shelves of pregnancy and parenting books. Real Birth is the first book to provide a place where those interested in the birthing experience can meet on the printed page and find community. The stories involve rich women, poor women, husbands, friends, OB/GYNs, midwives, doulas, birthing coaches, multiple births, Cesareans, loss, grief, pain, and joy. These stories give access to voices and experiences that are not always heard.

Real Birth, in offering specific examples of how childbirth choices play themselves out in real life, is sure to become an important resource for childbearing women and perinatal health professionals alike. The unique features of Real Birth are those that will be nurtured in all the books published by Generation:

  • First-person accounts of the life experiences that transform women's bodies and souls;
  • A sense of community on the printed page that is welcoming and rich in diversity;
  • Insights into the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual dimensions of these life-changing events that provide a resource not only to women experiencing such events, but also to the health professionals working with them.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This collection of stories compiled by Greene, a published poet, proves no two births are alike. Divided into seven sections, the book presents 36 women who describe their birthing experience--from hospital births, to births in birthing centers, at home, and in more unusual places. Other sections focus on the special circumstances of single women, multiple births, and unexpected complications. An excellent complement to typical books on pregnancy and birth (many of which describe only the "textbook" cases of labor and delivery), these narratives fill a gap for those seeking a realistic description of the birthing process from the mother's view. It will be a helpful tool for those mothers who need validation for a birthing experience that did not go as planned. For a more technical look at labor and delivery, consult Sheila Kitzinger's The Complete Book of Pregnancy & Childbirth (LJ 11/1/96). Highly recommended for public libraries and all medical collections.--Lisa A. Errico-Cox, Nassau Community Coll. Lib., Garden City, NY Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Amy McQuaid
Collected in this volume are the first-person narratives of thirty-six women whose childbirth experiences represent a range of real-life experiences. The mothers who reveal these intimate details answered an ad in a national publication-out of which the collected interviews emerged. Each story chronicles candid details of what every woman giving birth goes through, emotionally and physically, causing the reader to have deeper understanding and reverence for women who give birth. Although this is a telling of a rite of passage most women participate in, all expectant family members interested in the human experience will enjoy this book and find the details refreshing and engrossing.
Each narrative is diverse and the short biographies at the beginning of each story are kept brief and non-descript in terms of cultural identification, ethnic background and socioeconomic status. The author's intent was to let each story unfold naturally; her voice never intrudes, rather she draws out and edits each account, retaining the integrity of each birth history. With each page, one begins to perceive that each woman speaks from her heart, with a mental clarity that painstakingly preserves the memory of this incredible task. Each chapter provides insight into the various concerns, fears and options to giving birth today. Traditional hospital birth is covered, as well as birthing centers, at home births and some very unusual places (in particular, an arrival in a Virginia traffic tunnel, among others). First time mothers will benefit from the additional information on alternative methods to birthing, such as underwater births, little to no medical intervention births and alternative birthing positions such as standing up and how to choose a doula or midwife. Mothers who have been through the birth experience before will benefit from the stories of those who have chosen to change elements of their birthing plan, such as asking for medication or who have delivered via C-Section the first time around and have successfully birthed vaginally thereafter. Problems in pregnancy are also covered to educate the reader as to how singular each birth experience is.
Real Birth proves to be a helpful resource for anyone interested or about to become involved with the birth experience. A helpful glossary and resource guide lends to the approachability of this volume. The book differentiates itself from the other "gospel" pregnancy books in that there is no "must" or unquestioned theory on how to experience the birth process.

Product Details

Windows on History Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.04(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.52(d)

What People are Saying About This

Svea Oster
I've been teaching childbirth classes and doing labor assistance for 20 years. When I was asked to review REAL BIRTH, I went about it like a task--until I actually started reading! I responded to the book like it was a bestseller--I couldn't put it down until I'd finished it. The direct voice of women speaking from their own experience is such a powerful and moving thing. As a teacher, I try to prepare women for the vast and unknown. I will definitely recommend REAL BIRTH to my students.
— Svea Oster, Childbirth Educator and Labor Assistant

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Real Birth 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is great. It's certainly easy to read and so engaging that I couldn't put it down. Also, I was surprised by how much I learned. REAL BIRTH is a wonderful book and unlike other, more predictable books on pregnancy and birth. These stories are interesting and powerful. I highly recommend this book to any pregnant mom or new mom.