Jan 28, 2020
Labor Day: Birth Stories for the Twenty-first Century: Thirty Artful, Unvarnished, Hilarious, Harrowing, Totally True Tales
Posted by Eleanor Henderson Anna Solomon

Thirty acclaimed writers share their personal birth stories the extraordinary, the ordinary, the terrifying, the sublime, the profaneIt s an elemental, almost animalistic urge the expectant mother s hunger for birth narratives Bookstores are filled with month by month pregnancy manuals, but the shelves are virtually empty of artful, entertaining, unvarnished accounts of lThirty acclaimed writers share their personal birth stories the extraordinary, the ordinary, the terrifying, the sublime, the profaneIt s an elemental, almost animalistic urge the expectant mother s hunger for birth narratives Bookstores are filled with month by month pregnancy manuals, but the shelves are virtually empty of artful, entertaining, unvarnished accounts of labor and delivery the stories that new mothers need most Here is a book that transcends the limits of how to guides and honors the act of childbirth in the twenty first century Eleanor Henderson and Anna Solomon have gathered true birth stories by women who have made self expression their business, including Cheryl Strayed, Julia Glass, Lauren Groff, Dani Shapiro, and many other luminaries In Labor Day, you ll read about women determined to give birth naturally and others begging for epidurals women who pushed for hours and women whose labors were over practically before they d started women giving birth to twins and to ten pound babies These women give birth in the hospital, at home, in bathtubs, and, yes, even in the car Some revel in labor, some fear labor, some feel defeated by labor, some are fulfilled by it and all are amazed by it You will laugh, weep, squirm, perhaps groan in recognition, and undoubtedly gasp with surprise And then you ll call every mother or mother to be that you know and say You MUST read Labor Day.

  • Title: Labor Day: Birth Stories for the Twenty-first Century: Thirty Artful, Unvarnished, Hilarious, Harrowing, Totally True Tales
  • Author: Eleanor Henderson Anna Solomon
  • ISBN: 9780374239329
  • Page: 177
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Labor Day Birth Stories for the Twenty first Century Thirty Artful Unvarnished Hilarious Harrowing Totally True Tales Thirty acclaimed writers share their personal birth stories the extraordinary the ordinary the terrifying the sublime the profaneIt s an elemental almost animalistic urge the expectant mother s h


    For context, I should note that my response to this collection probably has a lot to do with the fact that I read two-thirds of it while repeatedly slamming my head into the emotional brick wall that is a stubborn breech baby. So in one respect, this collection was helpful because pretty much any group of birth stories, in the aggregate, will be all about how this shit doesn't go to plan. It just doesn't. It is peripherally comforting to remember that, as one's plans crumble around one's ears.On [...]


    I have an essay in this anthology, but I am rating this based on the work by my fellow contributors, women like Cheryl Strayed, Joanna Smith Rakoff, Dani Shapiro, and many, many, more. This anthology offers so many diverse birth stories, and each took my breath away: they're honest, they're harrowing, they're moving, they're funny, they're true. It's a great, necessary book!


    WHITE LADY BABY FEELINGS TIME. Still worth reading if you're pregnant or have been pregnant, but don't buy it. I got RULL tired of the incessant "the only good birth is the home/unmedicated/'natural' birth and any other birth is only worthy of lesser assholes who feed their children food with high fructose corn syrup" crap, and thus got to revel in schadenfreude when they had to face the reality that all the holier-than-thou in the world won't solve medical issues during labor and birth.

    Destinee Sutton

    So I'm six months pregnant and getting tired of reading blah prose about pregnancy and birth. I was really excited to find a book of essays about childbirth by great writers. Finally! A pregnancy book the English major in me can sink her teeth into (really the English major in me should say, "into which she can sink her teeth"). Now, I liked this book for the quality of the writing, but I'm going to say that I sort of regret reading it. If you're a pregnant lady trying to prepare for an unmedica [...]


    This was a lovely read. Just lovely. I can't help itonce I had children, I became addicted to birth stories. There really is something magical about that moment when you move from non-mother to mother. I loved this collection of stories because the stories were so personal and so full of varied emotions. Each had its own context and aftermath, and reading each was like being invited into someone's personal and sacred space. I laughed, and, yes, I cried at times.I gave it four stars vs. five (tho [...]


    Good for pregnant women who are not easily alarmed. Really nice to read birth stories penned by good, thoughtful writers.


    I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, I really appreciated hearing all the varied perspectives and experiences about birth. As a woman approaching that day soon herself, I was craving some real, honest, and uncensored accounts of what other women have been through. However, it can be very scary to hear what can go wrong, and how many unexpected things can happen no matter how much you prepare! I knew that to be true but also I will admit some of these stories caused me to have nigh [...]


    This book is one of those things that reminds you how amazing and miraculous birth is. These women honestly shared their stories of expectations and misconceptions as well as triumphs. It was interesting to read that again and again we are so hard on ourselves about natural birth and the gap in rhetoric between birthing classes and what happens in hospital. I suppose what ultimately matters is getting baby delivered safely.


    This is the book about how I was born and I love the way I was born

    Jill Gooch

    Loved it!Even though I am way past childbearing age, I still love to read about having babies. Well written, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. Thank you!


    Interesting, honest, and raw birth stories from a variety of writers.


    I just gorged on thirty birth stories, and my head is spinning. I remember the first couple of birth stories I ever heard, pregnant with my first baby. Tearing skin, stitches, blood and mess, pooping, all things I had not ever associated with these women I thought I knew. And yet, those stories helped me through the pregnancy and helped me to see both the variety and the sameness of each childbirth. These birth stories included here provide much the same reminder.Each story is different, althoug [...]

    nomadreader (Carrie D-L)

    (originally published at nomadreader)The basics: Labor Day: True Birth Stories by Today's Best Women Writers, edited by Eleanor Henderson and Anna Solomon, brings together an impressive group of contemporary female writers from a variety of genres to share their experiences giving birth. The essays are as varied as the women who write them. My thoughts: Admittedly, before I got pregnant (and even early on in my pregnancy), I shied away from birth stories. Rarely do I favor ignorance, but in this [...]


    I have to agree with an earlier reviewer who wrote that this book had a "sameness" for him, and that "this collection has put its finger on the concerns and experiences of well-educated, well-informed, married, intentionally pregnant women writers of New York Times notable books who seek out midwifery care and who have caesarians at a noticeably lower rate than the norm, which is to be expected as an artifact of economic/access privilege." In some ways, this book has a range of birth stories: si [...]


    It's really interesting to read birth stories. I love how a birth story is almost always so much more than just the birth of a child: it's the story of the couple's relationship at the time, it's the story of their fertility journey, it's the story of their parents. People who have more than one child usually end up having their birth stories blend together. This book contains well written, intriguing stories. That part is really wonderful and we need lots of those.What bothered me about some of [...]

    Ellen Keim

    This is a collection of well-written essays by women writers about their experiences with pregnancy, labor and birth. If you've had this experience yourself you will find this book fascinating, but I would definitely not recommend it for someone who has yet to go through it, especially if she is pregnant. Not all of these birth stories are harrowing, but almost all of them make labor and delivery sound extremely difficult and often fraught with unseen dangers. A lot of these stories are by women [...]

    Sarah Benson

    So much writing about pregnancy and birth is kind of blah. These stories were refreshingly honest, funny, insightful, and well-written. Most of them touch on much more than just "birth"-- also discussing the transition to motherhood, expectations, anxieties, family dynamics, and relationships. Might read this again, and would (or rather, will) recommend to friends. That being said, the collection is meant to represent a diverse spectrum of stories, and I thought the editors only did an okay job [...]

    Literary Mama

    Pregnancy and childbirth provide a glimpse of ourselves at our most elemental. There is no room for inauthenticity or the masks of politeness that we wear daily. There is only the experience—a ride that grips, lifts us into a mighty paw, and takes us to a destination guaranteed to be unknown. Control is never more glaringly absent than in these life-rending moments when things are given and others are taken away. Labor Day, a collection of birth narratives from 30 women writers, captures the r [...]

    Hayley DeRoche

    This book is part wonderful and part trigger-warning-y. Like most collections of stories from various authors, there were stories that were hits and misses to me. Some shone, others I scratched my head over, wondering why they had bothered to contribute at all if *that* was what they were going to turn in. Some stories were inspiring, others had outcomes nobody who's pregnant wants to think about, particularly when they turn up unexpectedly on the page. As a collection, I give it a high rating, [...]


    Well-written stories, but I have to say that I would *not* recommend this for a pregnant mom. There are some stories of births that had tragic outcomes. I believe that one needs to try to stay in a good headspace when preparing to give birth (I had two unmedicated births and I had to stay optimistic in order to keep my nerve up to do it) and some of these stories would definitely not help in that endeavor. That said, my youngest is three and we don't plan on any more, so I could appreciate these [...]


    I think this book came at the perfect time in my life: after having one child and considering having another next year or the year after. Every essay is beautifully written and poignant, and each one gave me a lot to think about. I also reflected on my son's birth and thought about what might happen during a future birth. Life is so precarious and precious, and this collection is an illustration of the many ways we fall down and get back up when we produce that life.


    Some good birth stories, but really just started running together after awhile. Has a good range of stories though, from natural births to inductions to c-sections. If you want to go into birth with eyes completely wide open, it's a good read; otherwise some of the stories might feel frustrating to a pregnant woman (many of the women want natural births, and end up with multiple interventions).

    Crystal Mcgowan

    After having 2 relatively smooth births (the first in one of the hospitals described by several of these writers,) and now preparing for my third, reading this was a good reminder that so much is out of our control. Well-written and relatable stories. I especially enjoyed Heidi Julavits and Gina Zucker's writing.


    I liked most of the stories in this book, but I would have appreciated more of the "I would like as many drugs as possible, please." variety. Most of the births here were, or were intended to be non medicated, and the authors were pretty judgy about epidurals and c sections. Like the use of them was a failure. That part I didn't like, but many of the stories were quite touching.

    Stacey Lorimer

    This book was amazing and wonderful. The voice of each author carries along joys and fears and expectations that I share as I think about my future pregnancy(ies). I'm reading this as my husband and I make the plans to start our family and it is wonderful to read so many mothers' experiences and honest emotions. Loved every word of it.

    Celeste Fairchild

    I was drawn into this after encountering some of the included essays on Slate (and I think Salon?) -- notably Cheryl Strayed, Lauren Groff, and Marie Lee. The rest of the collection didn't disappoint, and it seems like every possible variety of birth story (or western birth story, at least) is represented here. Moreover, it's plain gorgeous writing.


    Oh, a book written exactly for me? Well, I cannot resist but to give you 5 stars then, book.Fans of birth stories will obviously gobble this up. Even more so if you are a fan of literary memoir. More than one contributor seems to have named a child after Willa Cather, if that gives you a sense of what kind of moms and stories we are dealing with here. Read: May 2014, February 2016

    Jessica Hollo

    I feel like all expectant mothers should read this.Each story is a chapter, so you don't have to spend too long with it. But it good to feel that connection with other women in this time of life.Great waiting room read!


    A good book to get you prepared for what's ahead.


    This was a great book to read while pregnant. It gave me some great insight into the many many ways babies come into the world and it rarely goes according to plan.

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      Posted by:Eleanor Henderson Anna Solomon
      Published :2019-09-18T05:50:46+00:00