Since the first edition of Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering was published in 2005, I have been receiving your generous feedback about my book and how it has transformed your experiences of pregnancy, birth and parenting and even has transformed your life.
I love to get your feedback! Please share your stories with me and, if you like, with others.
You can read feedback from others, and some published reviews below
Keep calling back- new feedback is posted every month!
I recently had a fabulous homebirth for my 1st pregnancy on the 3rd March 2010. I went ‘overdue’ and had some other issues which if I was in the hospital system I would have been talked into being induced.
Towards the end, your book reassured not only myself but my husband that everything was okay and normal.
I’m so glad I had the information I needed to decide on my choices for birth.
Justine, David and baby Bethan via Facebook
Hello Sarah~ I’m reading your book this week and it’s wonderfully empowering and informative. I’m seven months pregnant and planning a UC and loving it! Thank you so much for Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering….it’s such a precious book and I’m honored to have been blessed with it. I agree with what the other mamas have said; that this information should be given to every woman on the path to motherhood.
Tiffany Mamalove via Facebook
Wow! I love your books, and you definitely helped inspire me to have homebirths and lotus births – I’ve had two hospital births (which weren’t that bad at all..) two homebirths – the last one a lotus, and a caesarean emergency birth that was also successfully a lotus birth, and now I’m pregnant with twins….which makes me a ‘grand multiparous’ woman… Thank you for your wise words you’ve given the world.
Vanessa Perry via Facebook (Watch Vanessa’s gorgeous birth video here)
i have been following your articles, and now am reading your book, and wanted to express my gratitude for your desire to make a change. your talent for expressing genuinely yet scientifically birth complexities is a gift to our community. namaste.
Paule Bezaire Dussault via Facebook
Paule’s doula blog (in French) here
I first read your book when my doula loaned it to me and I remember feeling a resounding beauty and confirmation of how beautiful birth and mothering can be. Thank you for writing such a wonderful and guiding book.
Heatherbell, Brisbane, Australia via Facebook
I truly believe that your article about Ecstatic Birth helped open my eyes to the inner-workings of the human body and to discovering the brilliance of nature. A copy of your article was given to me at a yoga class when I was pregnant with my daughter, Caitlin, and I refer to it over and over again whenever friends ask me about my birth story. I was able to have an unmedicated, natural birth at a birthing center in Florida (labor lasting only 7 hours) — and it is an experience that I can actually RAVE about! After delivering Caitlin, I stand in awe of the human body and feel so strong and empowered to be a woman who can actually say, in the face of one-sided, negative television and movie images, that birth can be something wonderful and memorable.
This time, I am delivering at a hospital in Michigan – but I will carry with me the knowledge of my previous experience, and hopefully be able to close my eyes and come to a place where I feel undisturbed and safe so I can let my body open up and allow all the natural hormones to contribute to another beautiful delivery.
I thank you again for your help!
Amy Busch via Facebook
Hi Sarah, I just wanted to provide you some feedback about your book Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering. It is now at the top of my list of childbirth books, I have lost count of the number of people I have recommended it to, I think it is a very important book, as it covers in a very readable fashion the key issues to do with birth and breastfeeding, and beyond, it is written in the perfect way to introduce people to the fact that there is another, far more beautiful, and desirable face to birth than the medical one we see so often. Thank you, you have given a great gift to the women of the world by writing this eye opening, and paradigm-expanding book.
Angie Duff Homebirth mother, Brisbane Australia
Dr Sarah Buckley, medical doctor, scientist and a mother of four children is thus eminently qualified to write a book about pregnancy, birth and parenting. In her book she generously shares her own personal experiences with pregnancy birth and parenting. It is such a heartfelt account that is bound to inspire. If that’s not enough, she evaluates the scientific literature that demonstrates what we know in our hearts, that our instincts and intuition are to be trusted. It is written so that both people with medical training and the layperson can enjoy it. Sarah personal experiences interwoven with the medical information make this an exhilarating yet practical read. If anyone is left wanting more, she provides a full list of recommended reading.
This book is mandatory for any woman and her partner who desires to experience natural birth in its fullest sense.
I will forever be grateful for such words of wisdom, it has empowered, inspired and allowed me to experience a gentle pregnancy, birth and now parenting my son Matthew with rewards that amaze me each day.
Arletta Nikitiuk Osteopath, Melbourne Australia
I have owned your book since it came out and at least ten of my clients have changed their path of birth choices due to your information and wonderful stories! Believing in Birth,
Lisa Wass, Doula, Student Midwife, Educator, Canada www.birthrhythm.com
I bought your book and read every word. I loved it. I was planning a HBAC but I had not told my family, as I knew they would disapprove. At 8 months pregnant my mother came to stay, still disagreeing with me about my plans for a VBAC in hospital. She really thought I would end up dead and really wanted me to have a repeat c-section. I left your book and Dr Sears Birth book on her bedside table hoping she would read them before going to sleep at night. She did! Every morning she would come out of her room and tell all the wonderful things that Dr Sarah said about birth. She was amazed that a doctor would have a homebirth? Anyway at the end of her stay, through frightened tears I told of my plans to have a homebirth. She burst into tears herself and said how relieved she was that I was doing that. She had read enough from you to convince her it was the safest way for me to birth. Now we are both homebirth advocates. Mum even tried to convince her hairdresser to have a homebirth. I am 11 weeks pregnant and preparing for my second homebirth. This time I can be loud and proud about the way my baby will be born gently. From the bottom of my heart, thank you! Shona Kong, mother of two, Brisbane
I’m in the midst of reading your book, so far very gripping. I am the mother of three, all homebirths, and pregnant with my fourth right now.I’m sure I will be loaning your book to others who could use a good education!
Amy Cannon. RN, Doula, Kentucky US
I just read your book and want to thank you for your guts to speak out even if some of it goes against conventional “medical” beliefs. I think you don’t realise how important is your voice because you have spoken as a medical doctor which adds a lot of weight on many pregnancy issues. You have also shown that some doctors do actually care for their patients by being objective and scientific. I think a lot of babies in this world will have a better life ahead because of your courage and wisdom. Please continue to champion the truths for the mothers and their babies.
Peter T, Engineer, Melbourne
I’d like to thank you very much for your book Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering. I gave birth to my first baby, Lila, on May 6 at home in a birth pool, supported by wonderful midwives and my partner. The decision to plan a homebirth was helped greatly by your informative, well researched book. Until I read it I had a gut feeling that I’d like to birth in my own space at home, but didn’t know where to source the information about safety etc to make an informed decision and persuade my partner, Dan, that it was the right choice. I came across your book by chance on the internet (I can’t remember what I was searching for) and bought it at a bookshop. Dan and I both read it and felt homebirth would be a good option for us.?I’ve started giving your book as a gift to my friends when I hear they’re pregnant. After reading it my best friend from primary school went from being booked into a private hospital with a private obstetrician, to a booking at the Mercy Birthing Centre, to planning a homebirth, which took place about a month ago.
Kiera Perrot, new mother, Melbourne
Just popping in to say that I am having a literary orgasm reading your book Gentle Birth Gentle Mothering! Every page I turn I go ‘Yes! YES! and Oh, oh, so good’ LOL
I love the way you write about your innermost experiences, and much of what you write has been my experience as well on various levels. I had 4 home births, the last one unassisted, all wonderful births with their own stories, definitely with a growth curve on my part in the art of giving birth.
Thanks so much for all that you do
I am a medic myself, my husband is a developmental pediatrician. We advise all parents to co-sleep (if they want to) and are grateful for every (international) support such as your articles.
Our culture has become baby-hostile in terms of NOT reacting to the attachment needs. It seems to be so much more handy if mothers can get away from their children as soon as possible. But the society suffers, and not many people realize that this has indeed to do with our “modern blindness” towards babies’ needs.
Thank you for officially opting for more kindness and love in the baby-parent-relationship for the benefit of the later adults.
Dorothea Boehm, Germany
“Sarah Buckley creatively integrates mind/body wisdom with the latest scientific research to provide women with the essential tools they need to make conscious choices throughout their pregnancy and birth.”
Deepak Chopra, author of Peace is the way Carlsbad, California, US
“Few authors today are more trusted by natural parents than Sarah Buckley. Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering is an exceptional book that gives families the confidence they need to follow their own instincts.”
Peggy O’Mara, editor and publisher of Mothering magazine
“Sarah Buckley is precious, because she is bilingual. She can speak the language of a mother who gave birth to her four children at home. She can also speak like a medical doctor. By intermingling the language of the heart and the scientific language she is driving the history of childbirth towards a radical and inspiring new direction.”
Michel Odent MD French surgeon, author, natural birth pioneer London
“Sarah Buckley’s book is hands-down and easily the best of all birthing books yet”
Joseph Chilton Pearce Author, Magical Parent, Magical child
“I love this book. It is one of the most important and unique works of the new millennium. In it, Dr. Buckley helps to return birth—as opposed to “delivery”—to its rightful place as the center of the family, the cornerstone of the human race.”
Jay Hathaway, director of ,The Bradley Method® and co-author of Children at Birth
Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering is a feast for the discerning reader wanting to make empowered choices for birth and beyond. Both soulful and wise, Sarah Buckley’s well-researched material restores birth’s integrity and intelligently challenges modern day assumptions of motherhood and mothering.
Kali Wendorf, editor, Kindred magazine Australia
“A fascinating, deeply moving and wide-ranging exploration of different aspects of birth and mothering, drawing on research evidence and vivid personal experience.”
Sheila Kitzinger, birth educator, anthropologist, author Birth Crisis, Oxford
“Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering has the potential to give us unprecedented insight into the mysteries and wonders of birth—and into its resulting impact on our world.”
Gail J. Dahl, author of Pregnancy and Childbirth Secrets and executive director of the Canadian Childbirth Association
“Dr. Buckley’s book offers parents and practitioners outstanding resources and references to make informed decisions regarding pregnancy, birth, and neonatal care. Dr. Sarah’s unique writing style combines science, clinical expertise, and parental experience, creating a comprehensive compilation with tremendous value. I envision this book to have a major impact on the future shift in consciousness about birthing.”
Jeanne Ohm, DC, International Chiropractic Pediatric Association executive coordinator and editor of Pathways to Family Wellness magazine
“This book challenges the medical model of childbirth on its own terms, drawing on a vast range of research to help women and practitioners understand why we have got birth wrong, and how to get it right. It is a lifeline for women who want to give birth rather than be delivered, and for practitioners who want to nurture rather than control them.”
Mary Nolan, National Childbirth Trust (UK) senior tutor
“A thoughtful discussion of the central issues in today’s childbirth in industrialized countries. I have not seen a more penetrating analysis with thorough documentation from the scientific literature. I would wish this book would be read by every obstetrician, family physician, midwife, and obstetric nurse. In addition, this book would be a wonderful primer for women and families searching for a better childbirth.”
Marsden Wagner, MD, perinatologist and former WHO regional director, Ohio
Sarah Buckley marries the medical mind and the birthing woman’s body wisdom. Her writing comes from the unique perspective of a holistic integration of these often-poles-apart realities. Unfortunately, this combination is very rare in modern obstetrics. Her writing opens up new possibilities for those lucky enough to imbibe..”
Gloria Lemay, midwifery educator and contributing editor, Midwifery Today Vancouver
Sarah Buckley is one of the few people in this world telling the truth about pregnancy and birth. Now in this book you will read her well-researched work. Sarah’s words are truly a gift to the midwifery and birthing community.”
Jan Tritten: midwife, editor Midwifery Today Oregon
I love your book…It is delightfully easy to read, inspiring, incredibly informative, and it speaks to women from a gentle yet empowering voice. You beautifully combine common sense with medical information which cultivates awareness and a path to awakening. Your own personal stories create a soft loving touch.”
Vicki Abrams:,co-author, with Deepak Chopra, of Magical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives. Director of prenatal programmes Chopra Center, Carlsbad CA
This morning I ‘tucked in’ to your profound book. What a delight. I am a couple of chapters in. The understanding that you convey is tremendous and ’should’ be required information for all pregnant couples. There is also a delicious flavour to your writing style that embraces your words in a most digestible manner. Congratulations on knowing your Soul’s Purpose’ and manifesting it so beautifully.
Patrick Houser author Fathers to Be Handbook: A Roadmap for the Transition to Fatherhood
“Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering is compelling reading for all midwives, medical and midwifery students and anyone interested in the innate ability of women during pregnancy, labour and birth. Sarah Buckley, an experienced mother and medical writer, has provided a ‘normal’ view of women’s work with well researched evidence, facts and references; providing essential information and presented in a way that gives wisdom back to women and knowledge to those who provide care.”
Robyn Thompson, midwife and grandmother Melbourne
“Sarah is a writer whose articles have appeared in many publications internationally: her writing is a gift- her style is honest, welcoming and easy to read; never does her professional designation distance her from her readers. Her passion and deep love for women and babies is very apparent- which is also why her work is so engaging and inspiring.”
Leilah McCracken, founder of Birthlove Canada
“Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering is the book Hygieia College can fully endorse. Sarah Buckley is a true birthkeeper. As a mother, she knows what having two hearts feels like. Yet as a birthdeeper, she has soul. I am honored to be Sarah’s colleague. Moreover I am blessed that Sarah is my dear friend, indeed she is a spiritual sister.”
Jeannine Parvati Baker RIP, midwife, author, birthkeeper, Utah. Jeannine died Dec 2005
“Sarah Buckley’s work is unique: as a health professional AND and hands-on mother, Sarah exquisitely demonstrates how science affirms the intuitive wisdom of motherlove as well as how gentle parenting works in practice, not just in theory.”
Pinky Mackay, lactation consultant, author Sleeping Like a Baby and 100 Ways to Calm the Crying
“In the last decades we worried that midwifery would be lost but now the real concern is that normal birthing will be lost as less women deliver naturally. Sarah’s research particularly from endocrinology supports what I ‘know’ about birthing of mothers and babies from thirty years experience as a midwife. Reproducing loving parents and loved babies is needed more than ever and the process could not be simpler. Now Sarah has provided the much-needed scientific support for not disturbing the process.”
Sue Lennox, midwife and midwifery lecturer Wellington, NZ
“Thank you so much for not only your fine work, but the high standards you set for yourself and for your medical colleagues.
“Jody McLaughlin, Editor, Compleat Mother Magazine
“Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering is totally brilliant. There is nothing I like better than a nicely written book that makes a good case for all the things that are most valuable, plus, it is endorsed by such a mega-ton of science that you would not dare argue against it. Your book is a formidable tool for change, it should be compulsory.”
Robin Grille, Psychologist, author Parenting for a Peaceful World
“I consumed the book over the course of a week, with many smiles along the way. How refreshing to have in one volume all the information I try to provide for women in our region. As a fellow ‘estactic birther’ I am passionate that women have accurate information so they can approach the birthing of their babies prepared as nature intended.
On Tuesday I gave the book to a women due in two weeks, she confided in me about how anxious she was about the birth of her third baby, after a chat and sending her off with your book, she rang this morning with a sparkle in her voice to tell me that she’d been reading non stop since tues and feels so much more eqipped and finally ‘excited about this baby’s birth. She had for the first time an awareness of the hormonal effects of drugs on a mothers natural hormonal balance and has totally rewritten her birthplan. That’s what I call a ‘result’.”
Angela Worthington, President, Active Birth Taranaki, New Zealand
“Thank you so much for all the wonderful information you put “out there” about birth, mothering, parenting etc. Your information has had a key role in many of the decisions we have made for our family, and we are so grateful to have you as a source of knowledge.”
Melissa Bruijn, mother of two and Birthtalk convenor Brisbane, Australia
“I recently gave your book to a client whose second baby is due any day and she’s just contacted me. She’s read every book from Frederick Leboyer, Sheila Kitzinger, to Janet Balaskas — you name it, she’s read it — and she’s told me that yours is the best book she’s ever read on childbirth and mothering. Bless you for your work, Sarah.”
Liz Leys, doula Brisbane Australia
“I just wanted to pass on to you that every single woman/couple that I have the pleasure to assist in birth has been very touched by your book and all that it gives to them. Love you Sarah and all that you have and will give to birthing women
Sue Cookson, midwife Byron Bay, Australia
I have owned your book since it came out and at least ten of my clients have changed their path of birth choices due to your information and wonderful stories! Believing in Birth,
Lisa Wass, Doula, Student Midwife, Educator, Canada
“Thank you for your book. I am so delighted to get it. The implications of all our work is so important for women to have these days to counter the terrible soullessness that is invading everything and the violence it ultimately breeds. It’s wonderful having the combination of your heartfelt embodied experience, intuitive intelligence and the scientific combined. Powerful stuff.”
Alexandra Pope, psychotherapist, author The Wild Genie: The healing power of menstruation
“Your book really goes a step further, than other books, in helping women to have total confidence in their body, the natural process and their ability to birth. All of the gentle mothering articles (and the whole collection, actually) really affirms the feminine, affirms our ability to mother well, affirms our choice to invest ourselves in our children and embues a general sense of confidence in ourselves as mothers.”
Lea Mason, childbirth educator and mother, Sydney, Australia
Not only does your book entirely underpin my own birthing philosophies (born from observation over 30 years of being a childbirth educator, mother and grandmother) which is always satisfying, but your clarity of presentation and extensive referencing make it such a fantastic resource for my antenatal teacher students.
Alex Smith, CBE, mother, grandmother. UK
I also want to say that your book is INCREDIBLE! Your writing style is beautiful and the words just flow from the pages into my heart, and the fact that it is referenced so extensively makes it even better again. I have concluded too that it should be compulsory reading for all Childbirth Educators. So thankyou for all that you have given and continue to give. I look forward to reading more of your work in years to come.
Davina Kennedy, Childbirth Educator and mother of five, New Zealand
Reviews of new edition (published January 2009, US)
Review in the medical journal Birth, Sept 2009 by Elizabeth Hormann,
Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering is the most comprehensively documented layperson’s guide to fetal and early child development and the mother-child relationship to come down the pike in the last 5 years…
Part 1, Gentle Birth, comprising about 80 percent of the book, offers extensively referenced commentary on all the hot-button pregnancy and birthing topics—from routine screening procedures to low- and high-tech interventions during labor and delivery and in the immediate postpartum period…
What about leaving well enough alone? Why not support the natural course of pregnancy, labor, birth, and breastfeeding? Why not indeed? Buckley offers a simple formula for helping parents make decisions on interventions in pregnancy and during birth. Look at the Benefits, the Risks and Alternatives—and consider doing Nothing [BRAN].
In essence, she invites parents to take an active role in the decision-making about their own bodies and babies, ask questions, research the issues, and decide whether to accept or reject an offered intervention. With this model, the element of “patient compliance” takes a back seat—or even disappears—and the relationship between the expectant parents and caretakers becomes one of partnership.
Part 2, Gentle Mothering, is a brief but thoroughly documented 50-page excursion into breastfeeding and attachment parenting, which continues the themes of Part 1. It could well stand alone…
This reviewer …has put it on the “do not lend out” shelf to ensure that she can read and refer to it again and again. Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering is a priceless addition to any maternal and child health library.
Review for International Lactation Consultants Association (ILCA) June 2009 by Patricia Berg-Drazin
This book is in great part a collection of articles published in various journals and magazines in the last decade. It grew out of Dr. Buckley’s experiences birthing her own children coupled with her personal quest for understanding.
The book covers everything from intuitive birth through excellent discussions of gestational diabetes, ultrasounds, dating, Group B Step, home birth, VBAC, lotus birth, breastfeeding, and co-sleeping. The author’s goal to share information so that parents and caregivers can make informed decisions is well achieved.
Each topic is discussed with the background, screening methods, controversies in the screening and diagnosis, benefits and risks to mother and baby, whether there are alternatives, and whether to do nothing. The author’s theme throughout is “Your body, Your baby, Your choice” (p. 77).
Ultrasound, epidural, and cesarean surgery are each presented in a separate chapter. The history of the intervention is presented as well as current knowledge, documented risks to mother and baby, speculated risks, and a world perspective. Choice historical mentions include the first cesarean performed in 1581, 1930’s textbooks giving instructions for performing a cesarean at home, and the origin of cord clamping in the mid-seventeenth century to prevent staining of the linen.
The second section, Gentle Mothering, covers parenting, breastfeeding “the gift of a lifetime,” and co-sleeping. The author is a strong supporter of attachment parenting and discusses the process of mutual regulation in which the exchange of information influences both parties.
The book’s epilogue carries the message that “parenting is an imperfect art” and that “we are doing the best that we can with the knowledge and resources that we have” (p. 271).
Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering is an excellent resource for lactation consultants both to add to their library and to recommend to mothers in their care.
Review on Amazon from Robyn Grille, psychologist, author Parenting for a Peaceful World, and Heart to Heart Parenting
I love Sarah Buckley’s book! It accomplishes a rare feat: combining a compassionate voice with the weighty authority that a practising doctor and meticulous researcher can bring to her subject. Sarah’s book is a treasure-trove. For anyone who cares about the critical formative period of child development from conception to early childhood, it delves beyond the sentimental to provide a formidable data-base, as practical as it is touching and inspiring.
As a father I found Sarah’s book brilliant and a pleasure to read.
As a psychologist in private practice, parent-educator and author, her book has been one of my most valued and oft-quoted resources.
I doubt that anyone who reads Sarah’s book could ever again choose a hospital birth with obstetric intervention (unless there are clear medical complications). Reading left me feeling angry that the many psychological and medical risks presented by today’s obstetric excesses have been so heavily downplayed by the industry. Why weren’t we told? On the other hand, Sarah has presented clear neurological and endocrinological evidence of the blissful beginnings that natural and gentle birth, and gentle parenting, can bring about. Her book paves the way to a far more loving world.
The great gift of Buckley’s book is that she relieves parents of a century of needless and baseless iatrogenic fears: fear of pregnancy, fear of birth, fear of babies, fear of the body. The reward is a font of natural, undisturbed hormonal bliss; for mothers, newborns, and even for fathers. Buckely’s extraordinary book midwives the birth of a new, healthier, and more loving culture.
Review on tinygrass.com
For Mother’s Day, I asked Arp to get me a copy of Dr. Sarah J. Buckley’s book, Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering. I actually didn’t know much about Sarah J. Buckley until I had the joy of seeing her in a pre-screening of the new film Orgasmic Birth. So I checked out her website and found out that she is a pretty fascinating person. I’ve been really into learning more about birth lately, since Arp and I might be considering trying again soon. So I figured that getting a copy of Buckley’s book would be fitting for Mother’s Day.
I am not exaggerating when I say that Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering is the most enjoyable book on birth and mothering that I have read, ever.
At least so far. Some of my other favorites include Immaculate Deception II and Spiritual Midwifery. The first, in my opinion, does an excellent job of describing the research behind all the possible interventions that some women use in labor, and the second tends to speak to the more spiritual and sexual side of birth. But Buckley’s book is excellent because she does an amazing job of combining those two concepts – the medical and the spiritual, and finding how they intersect and/or interfere with each other. Also, unlike Spiritual Midwifery, in which Ina May Gaskin publishes the individual birth stories of a lot of women, Buckley’s book describes, in a very personal way, her own birth stories. I very much enjoyed the fact that I could read about the author’s own personal story at the same time as she writes essays on how women across the world have dealt with the issues surrounding birth.
Another way in which Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering is different than other birth books that I have read is that Buckley finds a way to bridge the gap between birth and parenting. So many times, in our culture, I find that women spend a great deal of time before birth, paving the way for a gentle, connected birth. But those same women seem to be at square one once the baby has come – our adult-centric culture takes over and women move quickly towards mainstream parenting and behaviors that do not inspire attachment between mother and child. I don’t have any facts to back this up, by the way, but it is something that I have often observed when I am at playgroups. While there is a certain contingent of women who have re-examined birth and chosen a less mainstream path, the Western assumptions behind parenting tend to be harder to resist among parents. After all, we may not remember out own birth, but we certainly remember how we were parented. So it is nice to read a book like Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering, which moves with fluidity between birth and parenthood.
Review on pregnancy.about.com
Guide Review – Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering
Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering is written by family physician, Sarah Buckley.
Buckley uses her experience as a doctor and a mother to teach audiences about natural pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Buckley empowers the reader to make decisions that are right for their families.
The book advocates for unmedicated and homebirth giving science and suggestions for achieving a safe and satisfying pregnancy and birth. One section I found particularly important was the information on ultrasounds in pregnancy. Giving the mother the skills and information to speak to her practitioner about medical topics in the prenatal stage, For mothers who choose or require highly medicalized prenatal care, this book may help them understand how the choices they make can affect attachment to their babies. The book also includes a section on breastfeeding and cosleeping.
Review from Sacromento Book review
Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering was inspired by Dr. Sarah Buckley’s home birth of her third child. In an era where pregnancy and birth are considered to be a medical condition, rather than a natural process that women’s bodies were designed for, this book challenges such topics as testing for gestational diabetes, antibiotics for group B strep, and induction for being “overdue.” Buckley discusses the cycle of intervention during labor–induction, epidurals, and hurrying along the third stage of birth. The book continues with topics on long-term breast-feeding, bed-sharing, and discusses cultural disapproval.
Gentle Birth/ includes the stories of Buckley’s four births at home.
Being a proponent of natural childbirth and allowing one’s body to labor sans intervention, I was excited to find this wonderfully written book on all the topics I’ve come to believe in and embrace.
While this book won’t send someone who looks at birth as “something is about to go wrong,” running to set up the kiddie pool for a home birth, for those who already lean towards the natural side of birth, it’ll be a wonderful addition to your pregnancy, birth, and baby-rearing collection.
Review on www.energytimes.com
In today’s increasingly interconnected world, new parents have plenty of Internet resources on accelerating their baby’s development in terms of motor skills, intelligence and sociability; as one website tagline puts it, “Stimulate the little genius in your arms!” But if there truly is a season for everything, then it certainly seems that infancy should be as much about quietude and tenderness as it is about sound and motion…
Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering is by Sarah J. Buckley, MD, an Australian family physician who has written extensively on pregnancy, childbirth and parenting. In the book’s first part, “Gentle Birth,” Buckley says the emphasis on childbirth as medical procedure needs to be balanced against “the personal impact of birth for mothers, babies, fathers and families.” She expands on that statement through chapters that discuss such matters as proper pre-birth tests and whether to use epidurals during labor, interspersed with descriptions of home-birthing her four children. Buckley’s main message: Listen to your doctor, but don’t discount your own instincts.
In the book’s second part, “Gentle Mothering,” Buckley focuses on the infant’s need for the kind of warm emotional attachment that fosters not only optimal brain development but also a child’s ability to form secure relationships in the future. She is a strong proponent of breastfeeding as a source of physical nourishment for baby and emotional nourishment for both child and mother; again she writes of her own breastfeeding experiences. Buckley also dedicates a chapter to “cosleeping,” any arrangement in which a child and caregiver sleep close enough together so that the baby’s needs can be easily met, that includes 10 safe-cosleeping tips.
Reviews of first edition (published 2005, Australia)
Review in Mothering magazine March 06 by Melissa Chianta
Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering: the wisdom and science of gentle choices in pregnancy, birth and parenting is the excellent new work from favorite Mothering author Sarah J Buckley. An Australian physician, Buckley marries solid research to intuitive awareness on a range of subjects, from prenatal testing to cosleeping. Of particular interest is how, like Michel Odent, she relates the biological and emotional processes of birth to those of sex.
Excerpts from review in MIDIRS Midwifery Digest by Professor Sandy Kirkman, University of Glamorgan, Wales
I have been stretching for a metaphor to describe the effect of encountering the works of Sarah Buckley. Bypassing the mundane such as arriving safely at a special destination after a dreadful journey I am forced to make do with this.
Discovering Sarah Buckley is like being told, authoritatively, that chocolate is not only good for you, but is guaranteed to make you slim. And also beautiful.
Fully acknowledging the previous work of others she is particularly impressive on the orchestration of maternal and fetal hormonal events in ‘undisturbed birth’ (chapter 13, previously in MIDIRS). Drawing on the work of Odent she explains the uses of oxytocin and exactly why it is such a bad thing to give artificial hormones, for both mother and baby. …the whole book provides a goldmine of evidence for the questioning midwife who has not lost faith in the bodies of women to do that for which they were designed… I can only suggest that individual midwives and libraries in Schools of Midwifery obtain a copy of their own as soon as possible.
Excerpt from review in www.naturalparenting.com.au by Jodie Miller
I imagine I’m not the only mother and feminist in the world who can say that the writings of Dr Sarah J Buckley have changed her life. If fiction writer Stephen King hadn’t cursed the expression I might even dare to call myself ‘her #1 fan’. Since I first read “Reclaiming Every Woman’s Birth Right” after my first child was born, she has become such a model for my own life, work and writing that I might imagine she has compiled her vast collection of writings into this single volume just for me. I also imagine I’m not the only mother and feminist in the world who will share these sentiments about Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering – The wisdom and science of gentle choices in pregnancy, birth and parenting.
Sarah’s best known articles such as Ecstatic Birth, Healing Birth – Healing the Earth, Lotus Birth and Mothering, Mindfulness, and a Baby’s Bottom are combined with more recently published articles and purpose-written chapters that broaden the scope of the book to explore the science and sociology behind prenatal tests, birth choices, attachment parenting, extended breastfeeding, gentle discipline, and more.
Thoroughly researched with the authority of a medical practitioner yet expressed with the poetry of a mother, Dr Sarah J Buckley’s book melds science and spirituality to challenge the social mandates of modern paternalistic pregnancy, birth and parenting practices.
For some readers it may be a first foray into new territory with concepts such as lotus birth, unassisted childbirth and nappy-less babies yet even though these choices are not mainstream (from a Western perspective) every mother can benefit from reading Sarah’s inspiring reflections on her experiences. Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering lends credibility to the gentle wisdom of mothers past, present and future and provides a resource not just for mothers and feminists but also for child and maternal health professionals who might care to provide more open, informed and up-to-date guidance to families in their care.
Excerpt from review in byronchild magazine June 06 by Janine Barron
So many women seek a natural birth and this book will help you understand what it means to you…each article can be read and savoured independently but all with the knowledge that they are written by a woman who is a mother, medical doctor and natural birth advocate. It’s a rare combination from a woman passionately committed to this subject.
Excerpts from review in Medical Veritas March 06 by Michael Primero
The author’s work deals with a range of topics, surveying both negative and positive aspects of humanity’s current intrusions into the process of childbirth (and beyond). She shines an interrogative light upon common and accepted procedures such as ultrasound examination of the fetus, epidurals, cord clamping and caesarean sections. It is refreshing to see someone who is trained within the paradigm of orthodox medicine, nevertheless being able to break free of the indoctrination which so often tends to come with such training. In the process, Sarah gives us a strong and courageous retort to what are often common travesties within the industries of birth.
With wisdom and compassion, Sarah steers a path through some of the most glaring medical mistakes to be foisted upon femininity, and with the rigour of her scientific training she speaks back to medicine with a voice of clarity, insight and responsibility…Approaches to gentle birth — such as water birth, home birth and lotus birth — are presented within a clear rendering of what the birth porcess should be like. Most importantly, the natural bliss of the childbirth experience (a bliss that has been all but lost in the quagmire of reductionist thinking in medicine) is highlighted by the author, in an effort to reinstate the rightful place of this bliss at the very centre of birth.
Excerpts from review in The Practising Midwife June 06 by Denis Walsh
Along with Odent, she is the best articulator of the complex but wonderful hormonal weave and every midwife should read her exposition of third stage physiology. In the important quest to rehabilitate this area of birth from the discrediting it has recieved over decades, her contribution is immense
The other area of real significance is her general ‘take’ on the childbirth event as a ‘rite of passage’ experience, not a medical event. She writes eloquently from this anthropological and social model perspective with credibility because of her conventional medical training. There are very few voices with this view from her background and the birthing community needs them. ..I would highly recomend it for anyone interested in normal childbirth, both practitioners and parents.
Excerpts from review in the Journal of the Association of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health by Jon Turner
Move over Dr. Spock! While you have influenced tens of millions of parents in raising their children, the new kid on the block from downunder is light years ahead of you in pregnancy, birthing and parenting insights, understanding and common sense. The reason is, in 1946 you looked up a few rather dodgy books and research and wrote up a manual. Sarah Buckley not only researched her topics, she did them too.. We begin this review with the simple statement that anyone- repeat anyone – who is seeking authentic and authoritative information on the best possible ways to bring their baby into the world, has got to keep Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering on the bed stand through all of their reproductive years.
Excerpts from review at nourished.com.au by Joanne Hay
If you’re looking for a comprehensive book about birth Gentle Birthing, Gentle Mothering is it. Some 27 essays about the many facets of birth, Sarah J Buckley’s manifesto contains the answer to almost any quandary you or your support people may have about the choices your birthing and mothering brings. Its value as a resource is immeasurable because you can copy one or two articles at a time to give to your family, midwife or doctor if need be. Each article is well researched and referenced and Sarah points to many avenues of further learning in her excellent resources section.
Chapter 13 “Undisturbed Birth – Mother Nature’s Blueprint for Safety, Ease and Ecstasy” is my favourite essay and worth buying the book for. It traces the beautiful hormonal dance a naturally birthing body performs if left well alone. It also speaks about what happens if it is tripped up and trampled on by well meaning but overbearing dance partners ie. obstetricians. I whole hearted recommend this book for any women intending to birth or any person intending to support a women who is birthing. In fact, I recommend this book for any person whose deepest wish is to heal the earth because for Sarah and her contemporaries, to heal birth is to heal the earth.
Review Birthings, magazine of Homebirth Access Sydney, summer 05/6 by Jo Hunter
This beautiful book arrived in the post for me to review for Birthings magazine. Although I have not yet read the book from cover to cover I have referred to it on several occasions in the last two weeks both for professional reasons as a childbirth educator and doula, and for personal reasons as a mother of 4 children. Sarah writes so expressively, her insight and wisdom are evident throughout all of the book’s pages and she writes in easy to understand laywoman’s terms.
Ina May Gaskin has written a foreword for the book and Sarah covers such topics as gentle birth, ecstatic birth, lotus birth and she has included all four of her own children’s homebirth stories. She also covers normal birth, breech choices, homebirth, caesareans, attachment parenting, extended breastfeeding, co-sleeping and gentle discipline.
This book is a must for all conscious and involved parents and for any midwife or childbirth educators library.
Excerpt from review in Wellington Homebirth magazine, (New
Zealand) by Liz Neill, La Leche League leader, mother of five, founder of www.junglemama.co.nz
Oh my gosh, what a book! It brought tears to my eyes at times, I got angry at others, and laughed out loud in still other places. What a beautiful, uplifting, inspiring series of stories and essays.
Right from the introduction, Sarah J Buckley draws you in with warmth and reality.…With the wonderful balance of words of wisdom from a mother, backed up by her professional role as a GP, Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering offers insights into many subjects in away not usually available… Fabulous reading — I highly recommend it.
Excerpts from review in Birthwise (NZ) Sept 06 by Kass Ozturk
Sarah is one of those rare and insightful doctors who holistically integrates the medical mind with the birthing woman’s body
…Sarah’s articles are comprehensively researched, internationally published and well respected.. I thoroughly recommend flicking through this book, or even reading it cover to cover, with both my ‘midwife’ and ‘mother’ hat on. Enjoy!
Review in Mother and Baby (Australia) Feb 06
This book explores the less mainstream options for pregnancy and motherhood in a time when both states are becoming more and more medicalised. This will get you thinking about how to plan for a positive birth and looking at the benefits of attachment parenting.
Excerpts from review in New Vegetarian and Natural Health
Many women have become so afraid of Nature’s plan for labour and birth that they are literally booking in for a caesarean when there is no medical reason to justify the added risk. Dr Buckley, whose husband is also a doctor, combines medical evidence with her gentle mothering wisdom to empower women to have the best birth and parenting experience possible. This book could be valuable reading for any health-minded mother.
Review in Australian Yoga Life, July 06
Dr Sarah J Buckley, a GP and mother of four, delivers a well written, researched and referenced text. Speaking from both personal and professional perspectives, Dr Buckley provides a practical insight into a woman’s natural instinct in birthing and how women might wish to reclaim gentle birth from the sometimes over-instrumentalised, over drug-oriented and overwhelming hospital system. This book offers pragmatic advice to both women who wish to home birth and those who choose hospital birth
Review in My Child (Australia) Summer 2006/7
Aims to provide everything you need to know if you are considering or preparing for a natural birth, with an emphasis on gentleness and nurturing. Thorough, easy to read and backed by medical research.
Review at Health e-learning for lactation professionals by Denise Fisher
Sarah Buckley is a doctor and mother of four children born at home. She combines both aspects of her life, her medical knowledge and her mothering knowledge, to write a book that explores the medical role in childbirth while creating an understanding that childbirth is an intrinsic part of a woman’s life – a part that her mind and body are already programmed to achieve without intervention.
The book is a series of papers, each covering a specific topic such as epidurals, ultrasound scans, undisturbed birth, and many other aspects of normal and medicalized birth. Each paper is well referenced using evidence-based literature, and use is made of statistics to draw attention to the current state of the issue being discussed. Some women not used to this style of writing may find it intimidating, while others will find it empowering to be on an equal footing when discussing the care of their body and their baby with their health professional. The sections on breastfeeding briefly discuss the advantages of breastfeeding for both mother and baby, and emphasize that extended breastfeeding for several years is both normal and pleasurable.
I’d recommend this book to both mothers and health professionals.
Review by Joanne Hay at nourishedmagazine.com.au
While driving home from dropping kids at school I was following a talk back discussion on Radio National about the pressures of modern family living; particularly the supposed tussle between loving one’s children and loving one’s partner.
One women spoke about being in love with her husband and her children and how unusual this is amongst her friends. This was followed by a rash of callers declaring to be ‘in love’ with one’s children was a nonsense. One of the calls was from a woman who bitterly recalled her disappointment and guilt that she did not ‘fall in love’ with her child when she was born. The woman had been told she would fall in love instantly and her life would change the moment her baby was born. She has now angrily dismissed her friend’s and relatives promises of instant love and awakening, and has resigned herself to growing in her love for her daughter as time goes on, thinking this experience more realistic.
She then mentioned she had a 37 hour labour followed by a ceasarean and was dealing with severe breastfeeding pain when she met her baby.
How realistic is that?
Unfortunately its very realistic, in fact, with ceasarean rates at around 30% and other intervention involved in around 80% of births, babies are born into this kind of experience every day. It has become quite common. This, however, is not the way nature intends it. Left to birth naturally, women and babies can experience enormous love and, yes, ecstasy during the birthing process.
I have written about my experiences of birthing and early mothering in relation to nutrition before but never ventured into the experience of birth itself. Perhaps at some time I will feel able to put into words the gifts of awe and power that my three birthings bestowed upon me. For now I’ll leave it up to great women such as Sarah J Buckley.
If your looking for a comprehensive book about birth “Gentle Birthing, Gentle Mothering” is it. Some 27 essays about the many facets of birth, Sarah J Buckley’s manifesto contains the answer to almost any quandary you or your support people may have about the choices your birthing and mothering brings.
A prolific writer, Sarah has published most of the work in the book in several publications around the world over the past 10 years. I for one am glad she kept each essay intact only updating and reworking them slightly and offering them as chapters in her book. Its value as a resource is immeasurable because you can copy one or two articles at a time to give to your family, midwife or doctor if need be. Each article is well researched and referenced and Sarah points to many avenues of further learning in her excellent resources section.
Chapter 13 “Undisturbed Birth – Mother Nature’s Blueprint for Safety, Ease and Ecstasy” is my favourite essay and worth buying the book for. It traces the beautiful hormonal dance a naturally birthing body performs if left well alone. It also speaks about what happens if it is tripped up and trampled on by well meaning but overbearing dance partners ie. obstetricians.
arah tells the story of a natural birth; of what each stage of birth feels like if hormones are left to express themselves naturally, climaxing in a rush of ecstasy and love when a new human emerges and breast feeding begins. This is not “a nonsense”. This is not a fairy story. This is in fact more realistic than the stories of terror and violence most modern women tell (or don’t tell).
Sarah’s story of birth is quite realistic. This story promises to bring about great healing. This story promises that it is realistic to expect following a naturally ecstatic birth to “fall in love” with your child.
And I promise it is most definitely realistic to expect that reading Sarah’s book will bring you closer to birthing in the way nature intends. I whole hearted recommend this book for any women intending to birth or any person intending to support a women who is birthing.
In fact, I recommend this book for any person whose deepest wish is to heal the earth because for Sarah and her contemporaries, to heal birth is to heal the earth.