International Doula Month - Book Club : Rebecca Schiller, Your No Guilt Pregnancy Plan

Throughout May I will be doing mini review / recommendations on books that I have found to be excellent as a mother and new doula. These books focus on; pregnancy, the antenatal process, the postnatal days and weeks, birth, labour, baby sleep, breastfeeding, maternal mental health, why having a doula is worthwhile, how to overcome a traumatic birth and more. 

Starting us off is Rebecca Schiller's, Your No Guilt Pregnancy Plan. I met Rebecca (CEO of Birthrights charity, and experienced doula) at the Doula UK Conference a few months ago, joining a workshop on traumatic birth. When I tracked her down afterwards, even though she had been speaking to people constantly and we were in that busy environment, she took a moment to ask me if I had had a traumatic birth, it seemed with the full intention of listening to me if I needed. I was blown away by her stillness and kindness. 

This book is a great achievement, not only because of the accessible, intelligent, collection of important information for pregnant women and new mothers, but it also gives you that little bit of Rebecca's non-judgemental, kind voice to take home with you.

You can read it in one go, or you can use it effectively as a reference book as things pop up for you. It includes information on risk and some of the things we are fearful of in pregnancy, without scaremongering or belittling those fears.

Having read a fair few books when I was pregnant, and researching online, I found quite a lot of books a bit patronising. It must be a tricky balance to strike; having enough information for a total beginner and not excluding the old hands at the same time. I would say if you've had no babies or five babies you would still get something from this book. However, I've not had five babies so I could be wrong. 

Does this book have an agenda? I was reading the comments section the other day on an Instagram picture (the exact one escapes me now) and the discussion was about the NCT and how some people thought the NCT had an agenda and others thought doulas had an agenda. Some people were arguing (from their corner of doula or NCT practitioner) that neither had an agenda. It was mainly comments section craziness, but my reaction (in my head), was that we've all got an agenda - no one is totally unbiased (and also, isn't there a better use of our energy than factions of women loving/baby cuddling groups sniping?).

The best that I think we can hope for is that the agenda is to support a person to help themselves, to find help around them and to have the best possible experience of a moment in life to the joy and strength of others in the world. I think this book does that.

Some of my favourite parts are; 

  • Your human rights in birth, one of Rebecca's expertise and perhaps this on its own is worth publishing without anything else. We can make change by having and using our voices. 
  • how is breastmilk made 
  • what to do if you think you have low supply of breast milk
  • acceptance of co-sleeping as an option and suggestions on how to do it safely
  • putting together your birth plan - cleverly referencing sections of the book to make sure you have all your options 
  • putting together a newborn plan - so important and completely overlooked so much of the time

One negative, this book has only served increased my fangirl status to embarrassing levels. Sorry Rebecca, you're just great.