Monday, October 19, 2009

Simply Give Birth

I invited Heather Cushman-Dowdee to do a guest post about her new book Simply Give Birth.This was supposed to be published while I was at the Lamaze conference, but it never showed up! I'm trying again...

The other day I walked up to a group of mothers carrying a new book, Simply Give Birth, under my arm. I had just received the first copy and was hoping to show it off a bit, in the way that I do. Hey, if I don't beep my own horn, who will? The mother that noticed the book first and asked me about it, isn't someone who cares much about my comics. Actually it would be better to say that she doesn't care at all about them. Deep breath, pant pant. She gave birth both times in what I call a "long emergency." Hospital births are like that, an emergency from conception through birth. She's grateful that the docs saved both of her children's lives, and those experiences have colored the way that she views birth, and me. The one time that we came close to talking "birth" was when I was asking another acquaintance who was newly pregnant if she was going to have a homebirth, the acquaintance said no, and named her hospital choice. Well, this mother said, "Oh great!" and then waxed poetic about the cookies they serve. I kid you not. I made a comic to commemorate the moment:

Well, this time, her eyes alighted on the book and she asked in a oh-you're-always-pushing-an-agenda way, "so, it's a book about homebirths?"

And in my pushing-an-agenda way I said, "no, it's just about normal, simple births."

Because I'm just so in outrageously pushy like that.

And how did I know about the "long emergency" of her births? Because after I showed her the book and told her about some of the stories, we talked about birth for an hour at least. It was a lovely beginning to a new relationship.

Simply Give Birth is not a book about homebirth, though all except one birth takes place at home. It's not about unassisted birth, though most of the stories are unassisted. It doesn't compare homebirths to hospital births; it has no statistics, footnotes or expert opinions. It isn't in your face about anything at all. It's just some really great birth stories told in a matter-of-fact, simple way. These are the stories that I wanted to read when I was pregnant, and when they're read all in a row you start to get the gist of what happens in a normal birth. So in a way it's also a how-to book, but with absolutely no directions. It could even be a textbook for birth education, just without any "teaching" and "lessons." It's just stories. Simple.

Here's a few things it does have:
  • at least one husband's point of view.
  • a retained placenta.
  • surprise twins.
  • some comics.
  • a birth on a bucket.
  • a whole bunch of vbacs.
  • births that are post-due.

So, anyway, the new book is ready, and though Rixa hasn't been given a copy yet to read (sorry about that! this self-publishing is brutal!) hopefully you can take my word for it, because maybe you can tell, but I think it's great (and I'm not just tooting my own horn, there's 28 other authors in this book!)

Heather Cushman-Dowdee, aka Hathor, aka Mama, long-time creator of the comic,, and the comics over at


  1. If I wrote a book, it would be called, "All kinds of different points of view on birth." I would love to list the pros and cons of each type of choice.

    And what I would like to infuse in the book, is respect for each womans point of view. Wouldn't that be nice? Respect, even though you may not agree with another persons ideas.

  2. Pinky, that sounds like "Your Best Birth" by Ricki Lake.


  3. I want that book! Birth stories (especially unassisted ones) really make me happy!


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