Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth From the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank

I’ve just received a copy of Randi Hutter Epstein’s new book Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth From the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank. I’ve been so busy I’ve only had a chance to skim the book briefly but it looks fascinating. I’m pleased to say that Randi devoted an entire chapter to unassisted childbirth! I can’t say that the chapter is entirely complimentary but she does have some good things to say about UC, and I’m thrilled that a mainstream writer has at least acknowledged that the concept exists! Randi has been a friend of mine since she first interviewed me for the 2002 article she wrote about unassisted childbirth for the New York Times. In 2007, Randi flew to Boulder (with bagels in hand) to interview me for the book. I wish her all the best with it! Below is a review of the book written by The Green Doula. To purchase of copy of the book visit RandiHutterEpstein.com.

Every once in a while I come across one of those books that I can absolutely not put down. To be quite frank, in the past, those books have been in the likes of historical fiction or Harry Potter (my literary guilty pleasure). Though I have come across several books about birth which I have found very informative, I had never felt the extreme urge to carry such a book with me everywhere I went till I finished its 300 pages in one weekend. That changed this weekend.

Author Randi Hutter Epstein, M.D. has unknowingly recruited me as her new enthusiastic fan. In her new book, Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth From the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank, Epstein weaves together a collection of well researched historical facts, fads, and tales into a very eye opening chronological history of Western birthing and women’s health care. I am often asked, “If the Midwifery Model is the ideal model, why are hospital births so popular? Didn’t obstetricians help make birthing easier at the turn of the century?”. This book answers those such questions and more in a shear way that neither left, right or middle wing can deny. This is not a book that dives into the history of midwifery. It is a definite eye opener bound to captivate its reader on the history of obstetrics and the unfortunate altered perception of “mainstream” birth today. I even believe that the male audience will find this book just as enjoyable/shocking as Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel. There are a lot of interesting parallels between the two books (I coincidentally started reading Guns, Germs, and Steel first till I saw this book in B&N on Thursday night). It will be clear after reading this we must fight harder for better birth choices ones based on respect and time based models such as midwifery. The case is undeniable. Why continue to let the legacy of characters like the J.P. Morgan and James Marion Sims reign (read their back stories in this book) over the ancient wisdom and traditions of woman’s past when it comes to our most cherish power and gift as women? Why continue with the sabotage?

This is definitely not a how to book or what to expect book, it is a full on historical book. But unlike our society, Epstein does not leave the important facts out (no matter how hard they are to swallow). She puts them front and center. I do feel that this book should be read by women and men alike to fully understand the foundation in which women’s health care (under the Western Model) was constructed under. This book will empower you to ask questions that you may have never even thought to ask and answer some questions that have been lingering for generations.

Epstein, a medical journalist for the New York Times, Washington Post, and more, has a refreshing talent for conveying weighty facts in a humorous digestible manner. She will also leave you with your jaw on the floor as a side effect of disbelief. Next time you walk by the Who Knew Section at Barnes and Nobles or are browsing on Amazon.com, pick up this compelling, powerful thought provoking must read.

Posted on January 17, 2010 and filed under unassisted childbirth.