Timshel Holistic Collective

Book Review: Birthing the Easy Way by Sheila Stubbs

This book isn’t for everyone. It makes no apologies for its conservative Christian views – indeed, Christian scripture is quoted throughout the text, along with Focus on the Family’s James Dobson. This volume makes parochial assumptions about the reader’s gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religious beliefs, and more. If you are looking for a book that affirms the spectrum of genders, includes queer parents, and celebrates cultural diversity, Birthing the Easy Way won’t be the place you find those things.

That being said, if you are looking for a book that challenges the current medical model of childbirth, that promotes family-only attended homebirths, and contains realistic birth stories, you have found your book!

Stubbs is a feisty author, who speaks her truth unabashedly. In the chapter entitled “The ‘X’-(Rated) Files”, she describes birth as the “climax” of the sexual act between husband and wife, and echoes author and childbirth educator Marilyn Moran in the belief that “if birth is indeed a sexual experience, it ought to be accomplished in the privacy of the couple’s bedroom…if birth is sexual, then having a doctor deliver your baby is adultery and a midwife-attended birth (liked to) a lesbian affair (pg. 198).” Stubbs compares each of her six births in detail, and it is clear that she found the most satisfaction with her fifth birth, where her baby was born before the doctor arrived, allowing her to interact with her new child and her husband in an undisturbed manner.

Stubbs’ birth stories are authentic, gritty, and often contain moments of hilarity. Readers will mourn with her as she describes her first birth, a caesarean section for what she refers to as “physician distress”, and laugh as she describes experiencing one of her early labours at a hockey game, with people around her watching her wiggle and squirm with contractions.

The organization La Leche League features prominently in Birthing the Easy Way, and Stubbs credits them with not only altering her views on breastfeeding, but also her opinions about birth: “Breastfeeding is so beautiful: God designed it, it works, and I trust it…God also designed childbirth. I trust that it will work even without interference. I know that all things work together for good even when they don’t seem to make sense at first (pg. 72).”

Birthing the Easy Way assures readers that in the majority of cases, individuals can safely give birth at home, even in circumstances that some obstetricians might describe as “high risk”. Stubbs cites her experiences birthing as a person seeking a vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC), as someone of above-average weight, who has large babies, and, in one case, a premature baby, as proof.

As previously mentioned, this book isn’t for everyone. It is, however, a compelling read with some assertions that challenge mainstream birth culture and offers a glance into one family’s unique birthing experiences.

By: Beth Murch

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Birthing the Easy Way can be purchased here: http://www.birthingtheeasyway.com/