82 books like Make Room for Daddy

By Judith Walzer Leavitt,

Here are 82 books that Make Room for Daddy fans have personally recommended if you like Make Room for Daddy. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812

Nora Jaffary Author Of Reproduction and Its Discontents in Mexico: Childbirth and Contraception from 1750 to 1905

From my list on unearthing abortion’s hidden history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I began gathering stories about pregnancy and its avoidance in Mexican archives twenty-five years ago when I was working on my dissertation on religious history. This topic fascinated me because it was central to the preoccupations of so many women I knew, and it seemed to present a link to past generations. But as I researched, I also realized that radical differences existed between the experiences and attitudes of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Mexican women and the concerns, practices, and understandings of my own period that I had assumed were timeless and unchanging. For me, this was a liberating discovery. 

Nora's book list on unearthing abortion’s hidden history

Nora Jaffary Why did Nora love this book?

This book is one of the reasons why I became a historian.

Ulrich uncovered the nearly illegible diary of an eighteenth-century midwife in Maine and included excerpts of the original at the start of each chapter. When I read the excerpts, I thought: How could these possibly be significant and what do they mean, anyway?

And then, like a detective, a gifted mind-reader, and a learned botanist all rolled into one, Ulrich unpacked each entry, weaving each snippet into the fabric of a wide textile of social history that includes reproductive history, gender and marital relations, local economies, political conflicts, and religion.

Abortion and abortifacients play a marginal role in the story Ulrich tells, but the history of midwifery and reproductive health are central to it. 

By Laurel Thatcher Ulrich,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked A Midwife's Tale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

PULITZER PRIZE WINNER • Drawing on the diaries of one woman in eighteenth-century Maine, "A truly talented historian unravels the fascinating life of a community that is so foreign, and yet so similar to our own" (The New York Times Book Review).

Between 1785 and 1812 a midwife and healer named Martha Ballard kept a diary that recorded her arduous work (in 27 years she attended 816 births) as well as her domestic life in Hallowell, Maine. On the basis of that diary, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich gives us an intimate and densely imagined portrait, not only of the industrious and…


Book cover of Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife

Wendy Kline Author Of Coming Home: How Midwives Changed Birth

From my list on the history of childbirth.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a history professor at Purdue University and the author of several articles and three books that focus on controversies surrounding women’s reproductive health. I have also appeared on national television and radio, most recently on the PBS documentary, American Experience (the Eugenics Crusade), as well as the Vox/Netflix documentary “sex, explained.”

Wendy's book list on the history of childbirth

Wendy Kline Why did Wendy love this book?

I could not put this book down. Vincent is a licensed home birth midwife in California, and Baby Catcher represents her accounts of many of her clients’ births. Her stories capture the diversity of experiences, the fears and joys of each mother who has opted for an out-of-hospital birth, and the beauty of bringing new life into the world. I have assigned this book in college courses and students love it; they come out angry at how broken our system is when it comes to maternity care.

By Peggy Vincent,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Baby Catcher as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A former nurse chronicles her journey into midwifery, from her dissatisfaction with formulaic delivery room procedures in the 1960s to her eventual career as a "baby catcher," and chronicles her diverse birth experiences, the women she has encountered along the way, and role of midwifery in the Unit


Book cover of Birth Matters: A Midwife's Manifesta

Wendy Kline Author Of Coming Home: How Midwives Changed Birth

From my list on the history of childbirth.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a history professor at Purdue University and the author of several articles and three books that focus on controversies surrounding women’s reproductive health. I have also appeared on national television and radio, most recently on the PBS documentary, American Experience (the Eugenics Crusade), as well as the Vox/Netflix documentary “sex, explained.”

Wendy's book list on the history of childbirth

Wendy Kline Why did Wendy love this book?

Ina May Gaskin is one of the most influential midwives in the United States, whose birth manuals are widely read. This, her most recent publication, speaks to the importance of empowering women, valuing birth, and providing and supporting women’s choice of birthplace. It is smart, very readable, draws on scientific evidence, and makes you think.

By Ina May Gaskin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Birth Matters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Upbeat and informative, Gaskin asserts that the way in which women become mothers is a women's rights issue, and it is perhaps the act that most powerfully exhibits what it is to be instinctually human. Birth Matters is a spirited manifesta showing us how to trust women, value birth, and reconcile modern life with a process as old as our species. Renowned for her practice's exemplary results and low intervention rates, Ina May Gaskin has gained international notoriety for promoting natural birth. She is a much-beloved leader of a movement that seeks to stop the hyper-medicalization of birth-which has lead…


Book cover of Call the Midwife

Sylvia Vetta Author Of Food of Love: Cooking Up a Life Across Gender, Class and Race

From my list on memoirs which help us understand the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

For The Oxford Times, I wrote the lives of 120 inspirational people from five continents. My 3 novels are inspired by real lives including the charity founder Nancy Mudenyo Hunt and the artist Qu Leilei, the hero of Andy Cohen’s film Beijing Spring. Stories of 30 not-famous choir members in I Love you All show that we are each unique. My memoir has a particular purpose. I dug deep into my life and my husband Atam’s to reveal the intersection of gender class and race—the barriers that shaped my life and how Atam and I tried to transcend them.

Sylvia's book list on memoirs which help us understand the world

Sylvia Vetta Why did Sylvia love this book?

I was born in my parent’s house which, like all in our area, had no central heating. That was the reality of giving birth in the forties and fifties in England. Jennifer’s memoir of midwifery in working-class Poplar, in the docklands of London, gave rise to one of the most popular TV series. The BBC has taken the story beyond Jennifer’s memoir but the tone is the same. The TV series, like the book, tackles difficult social, cultural, and economic issues, with insight, compassion, and humour. I aimed to tackle issues of class, gender, and race in my memoir in a similar tone.

By Jennifer Worth,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Call the Midwife as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The highest-rated drama in BBC history, Call the Midwife will delight fans of Downton Abbey

Viewers everywhere have fallen in love with this candid look at post-war London. In the 1950s, twenty-two-year-old Jenny Lee leaves her comfortable home to move into a convent and become a midwife in London's East End slums. While delivering babies all over the city, Jenny encounters a colorful cast of women—from the plucky, warm-hearted nuns with whom she lives, to the woman with twenty-four children who can't speak English, to the prostitutes of the city's seedier side.

An unfortgettable story of motherhood, the bravery of…


Book cover of Birth as an American Rite of Passage

Ann W. Duncan Author Of Sacred Pregnancy: Birth, Motherhood, and the Quest for Spiritual Community

From my list on exploring the spirituality of pregnancy and birth.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became a mother while a graduate student. Bombarded by societal expectations and advice on pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood, I quickly combined this life experience with my scholarly interests and wrote a dissertation on Christian women and childbirth. I later began to explore expressions of religion and spirituality outside of traditional religion – a topic that found expression in my book Sacred Pregnancy. I am a professor of American Studies and Religion at Goucher College in Baltimore, MD and have a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of Virginia. I hope you enjoy these books as much as I have!

Ann's book list on exploring the spirituality of pregnancy and birth

Ann W. Duncan Why did Ann love this book?

This book is a classic and essential reading for anyone interested in the evolution of thinking and practicing of childbirth in the United States. 

More than that, it makes a compelling argument that birth should be seen as an American rite of passage. Through a history of the development of current norms and rituals of childbirth as a medicalized procedure and comparison of that paradigm to more holistic treatments of pregnancy and birth, Davis-Floyd opens the door to thoughtful and sustained attention to the support and options we provide birthing people moving forward.

By Robbie Davis-Floyd,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Birth as an American Rite of Passage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This classic book, first published in 1992 and again in 2003, has inspired three generations of childbearing people, birth activists and researchers, and birth practitioners-midwives, doulas, nurses, and obstetricians-to take a fresh look at the "standard procedures" that are routinely used to "manage" American childbirth. It was the first book to identify these non-evidence-based obstetric interventions as rituals that enact and transmit the core values of the American technocracy, thereby answering the pressing question of why these interventions continue to be performed despite all evidence to the contrary. This third edition brings together Davis-Floyd's insights into the intense ritualization of…


Book cover of Imagery, Ritual, and Birth: Ontology between the Sacred and the Secular

Ann W. Duncan Author Of Sacred Pregnancy: Birth, Motherhood, and the Quest for Spiritual Community

From my list on exploring the spirituality of pregnancy and birth.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became a mother while a graduate student. Bombarded by societal expectations and advice on pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood, I quickly combined this life experience with my scholarly interests and wrote a dissertation on Christian women and childbirth. I later began to explore expressions of religion and spirituality outside of traditional religion – a topic that found expression in my book Sacred Pregnancy. I am a professor of American Studies and Religion at Goucher College in Baltimore, MD and have a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of Virginia. I hope you enjoy these books as much as I have!

Ann's book list on exploring the spirituality of pregnancy and birth

Ann W. Duncan Why did Ann love this book?

Hennessey’s book looks directly at how birthing people use specific objects, ritual, poetry, and other aspects of material culture to infuse experiences of birth with ritual and being.

She blends theory with specific and captivating examples to develop a social ontology of birth – in other words, a description of how meaning in birth is created through these objects. What emerges is a striking case for the potential of birth for ritual and meaning and the necessary interweaving of religion, nonreligion, and a sense of the sacred.

By Anna M. Hennessey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Imagery, Ritual, and Birth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Every human being is born and has gone through a process of birth. Yet the topic of birth remains deeply underrepresented in the humanities, overshadowed by a scholarly focus on death. This book explores how imagery is used ritualistically in religious, secular, and nonreligious ways during birth, through analysis of a wide variety of art, iconography, poetry, and material culture. Objects central to the book's study include religious figurines, paintings about birth, and other items representative of pregnancy, crowning, or giving birth that have an historical or original meaning connected to religion. Contemporary artists are also creating new art in…


Book cover of Ina May's Guide to Childbirth

Robbie Davis-Floyd Author Of Birth as an American Rite of Passage

From my list on childbirth in the US from a childbirth expert.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a medical/reproductive anthropologist, and my passion for this topic stems from my own two birth experiences: one was an unnecessary cesarean which left me with PTSD, and the other was a vaginal birth at home, which left me feeling empowered—if I could do that, I could do anything! After my first birth, I started asking other women about their birth experiences, and came up with the question that guided my PhD research and became the subject of my first book, Birth as an American Rite of Passage. Given that birth is so unique for every woman, why is it treated in such standardized, non-evidence-based ways in US hospitals? 

Robbie's book list on childbirth in the US from a childbirth expert

Robbie Davis-Floyd Why did Robbie love this book?

I love this book because the first part of it is filled with wonderful birth stories that show how world-famous midwife Ina May Gaskin and her midwifery colleagues at the Farm learned how to attend births by helping the birth energy to flow untrammeled. And the second part is an excellent guide to navigating the over-medicalization of childbirth in the US. Drawing on her 30+ years of experience, Ina May shares the benefits and joys of natural childbirth by showing women how to trust in the ancient wisdom of their bodies for a healthy and fulfilling birthing experience. Based on the women-centered Midwifery Model of Care, this book gives expectant mothers comprehensive information on everything from the all-important mind-body-spirit connection to how to give birth without technological intervention.

By Ina May Gaskin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ina May's Guide to Childbirth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What you need to know to have the best birth experience for you.

Drawing upon her thirty-plus years of experience, Ina May Gaskin, the nation’s leading midwife, shares the benefits and joys of natural childbirth by showing women how to trust in the ancient wisdom of their bodies for a healthy and fulfilling birthing experience. Based on the female-centered Midwifery Model of Care, Ina May’s Guide to Natural Childbirth gives expectant mothers comprehensive information on everything from the all-important mind-body connection to how to give birth without technological intervention.

Filled with inspiring birth stories and practical advice, this invaluable resource…


Book cover of Brought to Bed: Childbearing in America, 1750-1950

Katherine Paugh Author Of The Politics of Reproduction: Race, Medicine, and Fertility in the Age of Abolition

From my list on the Dobbs decision in deep historical context.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Associate Professor of Atlantic World Women’s History at the University of Oxford. The history of race, gender, and childbearing is my passion and my profession. The Dobbs decision pissed me TF off and inspired me to write this list. I hope you enjoy these books, and never stop questioning why women’s reproductive lives are controlled so minutely and why their reproductive labour is unpaid and unacknowledged.

Katherine's book list on the Dobbs decision in deep historical context

Katherine Paugh Why did Katherine love this book?

It is a sign of our shocking historical amnesia regarding American women’s reproductive lives that this remarkable book is out of print. Leavitt discusses the long history of American women’s childbearing lives, moving from colonial times through the twentieth century and charting along the way women’s loss of control over their reproductive lives as they moved away from births at home, attended by friends and neighbors, and toward birth in hospitals where their freedom of choice was increasingly restricted. To understand the dark side of the ‘twilight sleep’ procedures depicted in The Crown or Mad Men, read Chapter 5 on the growing use, by the early twentieth century, of drugs that rendered women so passive that their babies could be pulled roughly from their bodies with metal instruments.

By Judith Walzer Leavitt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Brought to Bed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a comprehensive history of women and childbirth in America. Many of the basic changes that have occurred since 1750 resulted from two factors: the replacement of midwives and other female support systems by male doctors in the actual delivery process, and the movement of childbirth from the home to hospitals.


Book cover of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: The Complete Guide

Robbie Davis-Floyd Author Of Birth as an American Rite of Passage

From my list on childbirth in the US from a childbirth expert.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a medical/reproductive anthropologist, and my passion for this topic stems from my own two birth experiences: one was an unnecessary cesarean which left me with PTSD, and the other was a vaginal birth at home, which left me feeling empowered—if I could do that, I could do anything! After my first birth, I started asking other women about their birth experiences, and came up with the question that guided my PhD research and became the subject of my first book, Birth as an American Rite of Passage. Given that birth is so unique for every woman, why is it treated in such standardized, non-evidence-based ways in US hospitals? 

Robbie's book list on childbirth in the US from a childbirth expert

Robbie Davis-Floyd Why did Robbie love this book?

I love this book because it puts parents in control and because it's based on the latest medical research and recommendations. It provides the information and guidance that pregnant families need to make informed decisions that reflect their preferences, priorities, and values. Throughout, the presentation is crystal-clear, the tone is reassuring, and the voice is empowering. And the language is inclusive, reflecting today's various family configurations such as single-parent families, blended families formed by second marriages, families with gay and lesbian parents, and families formed by open adoption or surrogacy. From sensible nutrition advice to realistic birth plans, from birth doulas when desired to cesareans when needed, from reducing stress during pregnancy to caring for themselves and their babies after birth, this pregnancy guide speaks well to the needs of parents-to-be.

By Penny Simkin, Janet Whalley, Ann Keppler , Janelle Durham , April Bolding

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Parents love this book because it puts them in control; experts love it because it's based on the latest medical research and recommendations from leading health organizations. Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn provides the information and guidance you need to make informed decisions about having a safe and satisfying pregnancy, birth, and postpartum period--decisions that reflect your preferences, priorities, and values.

Unlike pregnancy guides that can overwhelm and alarm by telling you up front all the things that can possibly go wrong, this book first describes normal, healthy processes, their typical variations, and the usual care practices for monitoring them.…


Book cover of Book of Hours: Poems

Jan Richardson Author Of Sparrow: A Book of Life and Death and Life

From my list on grief when you don’t want to read about grief.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an artist, writer, and director of The Wellspring Studio, LLC. When my husband and creative partner, the singer/songwriter Garrison Doles, died unexpectedly just a few years after we were married, I found that I very much did not want to read about grief. I especially did not want to read about managing it or coping with it. Still, there were books that mysteriously found their way to me and drew me in, not with strategies for getting through the grief but with creative, poetic, artful, sometimes offbeat tellings of living with sorrow. These are some of my favorites among them.

Jan's book list on grief when you don’t want to read about grief

Jan Richardson Why did Jan love this book?

Kevin Young traces the inextricable bonds of death and love in this poetry collection that encompasses the accidental death of his father and, in the thick of that loss, the birth of his son and the beginning of his own fatherhood.

I am drawn to how he writes about the repetitions and informal rituals of grief—the necessary ones involved in the immediate aftermath of loss, and the ongoing ones that ask for our attention again and again, becoming a doorway into what still waits for us. Young is wonderfully stubborn in keeping his eyes open to the searing awfulness of losing as well as to the breathtaking, complicated wonder of life that persists.

By Kevin Young,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Book of Hours as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A decade after the sudden and tragic loss of his father, we witness the unfolding of grief. “In the night I brush / my teeth with a razor,” he tells us, in one of the collection’s piercing two-line poems. Capturing the strange silence of bereavement (“Not the storm / but the calm / that slays me”), Kevin Young acknowledges, even celebrates, life’s passages, his loss transformed and tempered in a sequence about the birth of his son: in “Crowning,” he delivers what is surely one of the most powerful birth poems written by a man, describing “her face / full…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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