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Reclaiming Childbirth as a Rite of Passage


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About the Author

Dr Rachel Reed is a midwife, academic, author and sought-after international speaker. Her focus is childbirth physiology, care provider practice and women's rights (and rites). Rachel has published widely in journals, magazines and writes an award-winning blog, MidwifeThinking. Her first book, Why induction matters, published in 2018, is a popular resource for women and care providers. As a researcher, Rachel studies women's experiences of birth and the influence of care provider interactions. Her work is cited in evidence-based guidelines and textbooks that inform clinical practice. Rachel has designed and implemented midwifery education programs and supervises research students. She is also an experienced midwife, having attended many births in a range of settings and circumstances. Rachel is originally from the North East of England but now lives in a forest in Australia with a variety of humans and animals including her peacock, Eddie.


I have always loved the way Rachel Reed thinks and this book is an extension of her thinking. Three hundred years ago Rachel would have been the wise woman of the village and 300 years later she is calling to that village of women, where childbirth always has and always will sit at the throbbing heart. - Hannah Dahlen, Professor of Midwifery, Western Sydney University
I love so much about the wisdom shared in this book. In particular, I love that Rachel uses as her central narrative a beautiful and detailed description of the normal undisturbed physiology of birth. She describes the birth-dance shared between mother and baby, including the hormones, instinctive body processes, brain changes, sensations and feeling states. - Rhea Dempsey, childbirth educator, birth attendant, counsellor and author of Birth with confidence: savvy choices for normal birth and Beyond the birth plan: getting real about pain and power
Brilliant! Rachel has deftly woven a rich fabric of 'ancient wisdom and modern knowledge'. It is durable, it is wearable and, in usual Rachel Reed style, refuses to conform. With sound logic, she confronts and challenges us to rethink and reject erroneous assumptions and behaviours around care-providing by exploring their origins, and why we acquiesce and cling to them. - Jenny Blyth, independent birth worker, birth educator and bodyworker, film-maker and author of The down to earth birth book and Birthwork: a compassionate guide to being with birth
Reclaiming childbirth as a rite of passage is the book we have been missing. The analogy of weaving is right at the heart of this book, giving shape and structure to the threads that run through the chapters. Understanding childbirth today requires that we explore the herstory of birth and how the rites and rituals that once served us were stripped away. Rachel Reed's description of childbirth is one of the most beautiful and illuminating I have ever read, illustrated as it is by the fictional narrative thread of Eve and her birth story. This book has positivity at its core, not only listing the birth rites we have lost, but recounting the many rituals that we can reclaim and integrate into the lived experience of childbirth and postpartum. - Maddie Mahon, doula, doula trainer, birth activist, breastfeeding counsellor and author of Why doulas matter and Why mothering matters
This book weaves together ancient knowledge, herstory, science, customs, politics and the ancient art of midwifery, all of which combine to create the understory or - as Rachel aptly names it the waft and weft, that the weaving, or the experience of birthing in the modern world, happens within. Rachel weaves this all together so we can see what's going on in birth today and invites the reader to awaken to the situation. She then puts forth a call to action to all to participate in reclaiming childbirth as a rite of passage into motherhood for all women, no matter what. And her book offers all the evidence required to support this reclamation. - Jane Hardwicke Collings, founder of the School of Shamanic Womancraft, teacher of the Women's Mysteries, author of Ten moons: the inner journey of pregnancy
Reclaiming childbirth as a rite of passage is essential reading for all women, midwives, doctors and birth workers. In fact, anyone who is planning on being around women during birth needs to read this book! Dr Reed leads us through herstory with the story of Eve, weaving ancient wisdom and current research in such a divine way that makes reading this book an absolute pleasure. - Dr Clare Davison, private practice midwife and midwifery academic

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