Cartoon by Mick Stevens, originally published in The New Yorker Magazine, 03/15/2010
I was delighted to run across a piece in this week's issue of New York Magazine, exploring the growing phenomenon of parents using technology to document/communicate the birth of their children in real time. It's practically de rigueur these days to Tweet one's labor or blog one's birth story -- now it seems people are going so far as to text their next of kin even as they give birth via c-section! I find all of this fascinating, and I think you will too, so check out the article.
Fittingly, the piece was written by Tina Cassidy, author of Birth: The Surprising History of How We are Born, a book that came out in 2006 and that I devoured months ago and have been meaning to post about ever since. I loved this fantastically researched and imminently readable title and I know it would appeal to anyone who has even a passing interest in how we all arrive here on Planet Earth. As much as I've read and investigated books in the birth + pregnancy + labor genre, I had never gotten my hands on a straight-up scholarly analysis of the history of birth customs and practices. It was a very illuminating and often entertaining read that certainly put a lot of perspective on the current state of affairs and the culture of birth that we inhabit right now. I highly recommend it.
After I tore through the book I gave my copy to my friend Jen, who also enjoyed it and consequently discovered that Cassidy maintains a blog, on which she posted her own remarkable story of the birth of her second child ( a home VBAC that occurred in 2007). The amazing thing is that Cassidy wrote her birth story on her blog in serial form over the course of weeks, posting a series of 36 short posts that go into exciting, interesting, and just downright compelling detail about her pregnancy and birth journey so the whole thing reads like bit of a cliffhanger for birth junkies. It is brilliant. Compounding the awesomeness is the comment thread attached to the posts, which include juicy feedback from friends, fans, and most endearingly Cassidy's own mother, who, shall we say was not very keen on the whole idea of home birth throughout her daughter's pregnancy. Their back-and-forth is priceless, and actually very moving.
I thought you would enjoy it so much that I decided to link to Cassidy's epic birth chronicle as Birth Story of the Week. The format is a little unconventional, but you will thank me if you read it :)