The Birth Space – a doula’s guide to pregnancy, birth and beyond by Gabrielle Nancarrow. Book Review by Perth doula Ange Blizard.
Gabrielle is the author of the Birth Space and has a gift in beautifully sharing the wonder and magic that is birth, alongside aspects of realities we need to embrace with more kindness and vulnerability in the world of pregnancy, birth and postpartum.
The Birth Space is a well-articulated source of knowledge for any woman (and partner) regardless of their stage in pregnancy and motherhood. A really well-rounded written overview for all ~
Gabrielle outlines an intention to be inclusive of all family structures and acknowledges throughout the book different cultures and perspectives when it comes to the world of birthing. She encourages women to tune into their bodies and to listen deeply to what their bodies are telling them. In her words, ‘making decisions that feel right in the head and calm in your heart’. She emphasizes the importance for women to move to a place of true vulnerability as they undertake pregnancy. She highlights the importance to lean into feelings and to always be listening to intuition – it becomes heightened during pregnancy and is the greatest of teachers.
The book is a guide to explore deeper and acknowledge the maiden to mother journey we too often in the western world don’t relish enough. This book is the best! A gift I will be sharing with all the families I work with.
It’s nearing 20 years since I fell pregnant with my first daughter and reading the pages of Gabrielle’s goodness has helped me identity with aspects of my own journey as a mama on a newly profound deeper level which I’m most grateful for.
The book intertwines real stories of multiple women who share with vulnerability their experiences in the areas of pregnancy, postpartum, loss and joy in motherhood. The stories are spoken with understanding, grace and depth. There is an openness to aspects of things in the birth world that are often not spoken of enough, all the while acknowledging those things that are.
There’s a real wisdom spoken alongside knowledge and guidance from experts in different fields which is brilliantly formulated.
I expect to regularly sift my way back through the pages, seeing my highlighter streaks over text and post it tags drawing me to snippets of pure gold!
Gabrielle takes you on a full journey from conscious conception, pregnancy, birth, postpartum, matrescence and with the recognition things don’t always go as planned or expected.
Throughout the book, there is continual reassurance around what are normal experiences as women that we all go through that we shouldn’t be fearing nor neglect discussing…where and when to have a voice, when to be kind to ourselves and when to ask for help from the experts and those around us that have gone before us. There is so much beauty when women rise and support each other, encourage, nurture and gift one another with connectedness, strength, courage and knowledge.
I love that Gabrielle chose to share her own personal experiences so openly and that there are others who were brave enough to open up alongside her. These real-life experiences, along with the guidance of those who are experts bring together a book where the reader can find so much goodness in the one resource when it comes to the world of birthing and motherhood – it’s magic!
I understand Gabrielle’s desire was for all women to be seen and have the courage to step into places where our intuition guides us which is certainly something I took away from immersing in the pages of The Birth Space.
I feel as though women and their partners will be able to land in this book, feel safe and comfortable and go away with confidence and depth of knowledge they may not have already come across in exploring birth. Having an understanding overall of expectations and awareness is so important when it comes to birth. There will be takeaways relevant for everyone who reads it. The book I imagine will also open up areas and topics for people where they feel they either need to or wish to explore further that directly relates to them and their personal journey. By that I mean initiating/provoking thought around things they may have not already considered.
For example, anything from the importance of a birth plan and who they would like in their birth space and/or would they like a doula? To what is important straight after birth and what to expect in the first few weeks that follow. To, are they happy with their health care provider of choice? Is it worth exploring other options? The importance of being surrounded by the right people is emphasized.
The book gives such a good overview of everything in the birth world it will help initiate plans from the very beginning – the announcement of a pregnancy, baby names – to packing a hospital bag, to organizing a meal train to ‘what to expect in the first few days after giving birth’…and so on. It may also generate deeper conversations around rallying a village…it takes not just a village to raise a child as they say, but a village to raise a mother ~
In the book, the language used for/in pregnancy, the language of postpartum – all of the terminology used is valuable. Words in the birthing realm can seem like a different language at times, this book is like an encyclopedia – so so good!
Whilst there is a presence of clinical, medical terms and perspective, it presents in a way where the insight is so relatable for everyone. Gabrielle has such a gift of sensitivity and presents everything in a warm and kind manner.
Having an overall understanding to limit ‘surprises or uncertainty provides confidence I expect many will be grateful for.
I would encourage all those who are birth workers and mamas to be, to take the time to read the Birth Space. In Gabrielle’s words: ‘This book is for you, the birthing woman. My sincere hope is that it honours your journey, whatever that may be’…
…in amongst the chaos and the exhaustion that is motherhood is love. Motherhood isn’t easy but it is worth it.
For those couples planning to start a family, to those that already have one and are growing their family…it’s a gifted resource for sure – curl up on a comfy lounge and dive right in!
Happy Reading ~
Hi, my name is Ange Blizard from AngeMaree Collective.
I am a qualified Doula who has completed extensive training at the Doula Training Academy in Perth.
If you would like to chat all things pregnancy, birth, and motherhood, please get in touch.
I would love to connect with you!
AngeMaree Collective Doula Services
Creating safe, calm spaces
0400 860 630