What’s Right for Me? Making Decisions in Pregnancy and Birth
by Sara Wickham
[2002, United Kingdom: AIMS, 76 pages, paperback booklet.]
[Review first published in Midwifery Today Issue 67, Autumn 2003, © 2003, Midwifery Today, Inc. Review by Cher Mikkola.]
Everyone has the right to choose, but is there always an opportunity to fully exercise that right? Let’s face it, the answer is no. But we can still be informed about the possibilities and aware of the areas in which we indeed have power and can use self-knowledge to the best advantage. Author Sara Wickham, long a midwife and childbirth researcher, offers women the skills to think through and identify their needs and feelings, patterns of thought and priorities; examine options; and choose the tools they need to make satisfying and empowering choices.
She respectfully leads the reader through the process of exploring one’s birth philosophy by asking a series of questions—a far more effective tool than preaching. She presents types of authoritative knowledge and sources of information and asks readers to rate them according to personal value, helping them clarify for themselves what they may base their opinions and choices on. A chapter about interventions follows this pattern: description, issues raised and questions to ask. A tool she calls BRAN analysis helps the reader make responsible, self-informed decisions under pressure—a common scenario in the Western birth environment. Overall, Sara encourages women to think not in terms of “going against” authority, but “going for” oneself. This very empowering little book should be in every woman’s hands, no matter what age, social standing, education or set of birth circumstances she is in!
Reviewer Cher Mikkola is a contributing editor at Midwifery Today magazine and a freelance writer, editor and proofreader who specializes in the field of birth.