Author and illustrator, Kelly Mochel, recently donated a copy of her wonderful children's book, We're Having a Homebirth!! to the peaceful parenting library. I have to admit that we took the book on a 'test drive' (literally - on a road trip to visit a birthing friend and her family!) before adding it to the lending shelf for others. Mochel's engaging book is perfect for children prepping for an upcoming homebirth experience.
Various subjects are covered with natural ease and clarity - how the baby grows inside, the role of the midwife, what to expect on birthing day, being good labor support for mom, noises and moves she may make, placenta delivery, cord clamping, and breastfeeding. I especially appreciate the manner in which each image and description highlights the normalcy of birth and the immediate post-partum period. (Truly, my favorite may be the freshly born, newly latched baby at mom's breast with a "gulp, gulp, gulp, gulp, gulp" dialog).
Mochel's illustrations are simple, colorful, and easy for young viewers to grasp, but still "real." Mom goes from swiveling her hips and sitting backwards on a chair in a tshirt and socks, to soaking in the tub and hanging on dad - au naturale. A fair number (most?) homebirthing mothers are going to be sans clothes at some point in the birth process, and I am thankful that Mochel did not shy away from the reality and naturalness of this.
The text is fun for little listeners and simple enough for beginning readers to work through on their own as well. While I'm not trained in children's literature, it seems We're Having a Homebirth!! is especially geared to kids from about age 3-8. However, the images are laid out clearly and make for easy ad-libbing for younger toddlers (my two year old stays engaged by pointing out the activities we see taking place rather than always reading word-for-word the text).
The book is a perfect size for little hands, and as a small paperback, it is thin and light enough to stick in your purse to take along to read at the park or on the subway (we can't be the only family who reads birth books on the metro...).
Mochel's book began as a grassroots effort to empower homebirthing families with a children's book addressing birth in a familiar fashion. After birthing her first daughter, Lucia, in New Zealand, Mochel realized there that, "families enjoy a much healthier birthing culture than we have in the states." It was then that she appreciated just how much room there is for improvement in the U.S. in terms of our overall approach to birth.
When Mochel was pregnant with her second daughter in Colorado, educating and preparing Lucia for their upcoming homebirth was of the utmost importance. Mochel tells me, "I was shocked to find a real lack of resources for families like ours, so with a background in graphic design, I set out to make one. I wanted it to be very simple, affordable, colorful and 'contemporary' (it's not just hippies that give birth at home!)." Today, Mochel is thrilled to provide a resource that fills this gap in the homebirthing community and she is honored to be a small part of the lives of so many families during the very special time that surrounds their birthing day.
If homebirth is going to be a part of your family, I highly recommend adding this text to your children's book collection. It may just become the new staple in my gift bag to second (and third, and forth...) time birthing moms! :)
To learn more or order your copy, visit the Homebirth Children's Book site. Books available for shipping to international locations.
**We're Having a Homebirth!! book give-away coming soon...
Check back for details to enter.**