When I was pregnant a friend of my mother gave me a book called "The New Childbirth" by Erna Wright. Published first in 1964 it looked it's age and I didn't take much notice, politely saying thank you and putting it on my pile of books to read at some point before the baby arrived.
As soon as I looked at it more closely I realised it was right up my alley. From the sixties it may be, but Erna Wright (early developer of the NCT and student of the Lamaze method) was a pioneer in enabling women to take control of their birth experience. In particular she believed, and taught, that women could control pain and fear and ease their childbearing considerably. She was a knowledge is key girl, like me, and although many of her methods now seem overly complicated (I still don't understand her breathing method diagrams!) the basic approach is sound.
I found it unexpectedly inspirational. It also sat very well with my growing desire to have a low meds low intervention birth. Erna Wright believed that repetitive practise of the control techniques used during birth allowed the woman to go through labour in a more relaxed and instinctive manner. Much like the reasoning behind hypnobirthing today (more of that in another post).
I can't imagine how revolutionary her teachings must have been at a time when women were barely told what doctors were doing to them during childbirth, let alone given a choice in the matter.
Comeing soon...the mighty Ina May Gaskin! One post will definitely not be enough...