In Search of the Perfect Birth details the journey of Elizabeth McKeown through the births of her three children, from the first, which took place in a hospital, to the third, which took place at home, unassisted. Her middle child's birth was an attempt at a midwife-assisted home birth, but turned into a hospital birth, and left her fearful, questioning her body's ability to give birth.
Elizabeth's is a story that needs to be told; One that details the experiences of so many women in “the system” of medical childbirth; their pain and birth trauma, their shame, and their desire for someone to trust in their ability to give birth. It is also a story of triumph, where even those who feel as if their bodies cannot function normally, go on to prove the system wrong, and give birth without intervention.
I appreciate that Elizabeth doesn't rely solely on personal experiences to explain why women choose unassisted birth. Throughout her story, she addresses common myths and scare tactics within the medical community, and backs up her claims with reputable sources.
At a couple of points in the book, Elizabeth gives her advice to women who are planning an unassisted birth. Because of her bad experiences, she recommends that women mostly stay away from online birth communities. While I understand her words of caution, and empathize with her experiences, I disagree that online communities are not helpful. I found unassisted birth communities online to be one of my biggest sources of support while planning my own unassisted home birth.
In Search of the Perfect Birth seems to be written mainly for those who are contemplating an unassisted birth of their own, or for anyone who is interested in alternative birth choices and birth stories. Even with all of the factual information and resources, the majority of this book consists of Elizabeth's personal birth stories.
I must admit that this book is obviously a bit amateur, and could have used more professional editing for grammar and style. Unfortunately, that is the case with many self-published books, like this one. Even so, I think this book is an enjoyable read in the hands of anyone who is interested in natural childbirth.
Available on Kindle or paperback at Amazon.com:
**Note: I received this book as a free review copy and was not compensated in any way for the writing of this review.