Frederick Leboyer, author of ‘Birth Without Violence’ died recently at the beautiful age of 98. This post is entirely inspired by his wonderful gift to the world written in the 1970’s.
When Erica and I spoke about getting pregnant there were some very misperceived perceptions I had about birth. The movies I had seen throughout my childhood and 20’s made it out to be a terrifyingly painful, almost violent experience for the mother and the baby. Was this really what it had to be?
With Erica’s guidance I was handed Frederick Leboyer’s book ‘Birth Without Violence.’ It’s not a long book, actually it’s quite short but it was definitely one of, if not the most influential book I read about birth.
‘Birth Without Violence’ was the first book to express that babies are born complete human beings with the ability to experience a full range of emotions. First published in 1974, it revolutionized the way we perceive the process of birth, urging us to consider the birth from the infant’s point of view. So powerful to do so and continues to challenge the current industrialised birthing system that has become our societies norm.
“Why must a child emerge from the quiet darkness of the womb into a blaze of blinding light and loud voices? Why must an infant take its first breath in terror, hanging upside down as its vulnerable spine is jerked straight? Why must the infant be separated from its mother after spending nine months inside her nourishing body?” Wow, so many questions were raised. So many new concepts to consider for this soon to be father!
This book definitely put my views of birth into a new light. How did I want our baby to enter the world? What did I want her first experiences to be? They are very powerful questions and ones that we as parents have full control of (in most cases). I totally took a step back and put myself in my baby’s shoes and by-gosh did I want it to be very different from the movies I had seen and my initial understanding about birth.
For any father wishing to take a deeper look at birth options for their incoming child, I would highly recommend reading this book. It is definitely part of the reason why, i can 100% confirm that myself and Erica gave our little human a most warm, beautiful and non-confronting entry into this big wild and often misunderstood world.
You can purchase the book here: