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Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

In the Spirit of Homebirth

Modern Women, An Ancient Choice

by Bronwyn Preece

Book cover for In the Spirit of Homebirth
Book cover for In the Spirit of HomebirthBook cover for In the Spirit of Homebirth

Inspired by Ina May Gaskin's Spiritual Midwifery, In the Spirit of Homebirth is a rich collection of diverse birth stories that celebrate the beauty and power inherent in the sacred act of giving birth: a much-needed and desired addition to the growing market of books on natural birth.

The collection, edited by Bronwyn Preece, gives voice to those often overlooked in birthing books, including stories from indigenous families, and families from diverse socio-economic classes, religions, and urban and rural lifestyles. Also unique are the additional stories from witnesses to birth: partners describe their awe, children write sweetly of siblings' arrivals and midwives and doulas recount their experiences aiding women in their journeys. Included as landmarks amongst the stories are testaments to birth traditions such as blessing ways and umbilical cord and placenta practices.

From days of labor, to babies born so quickly support did not make it in time; from water births at home, to transfers to the hospital; from planned pregnancies to unexpected ones; from tales of tears to tales of euphoria—the eclectic stories brought together here share one theme: they capture an intent to birth at home that comes out of a deep love for and belief in the human body and spirit. These amazing voices rise to a clarion call—women of all descents reclaiming a birthright: to give birth, and to be birthed, as they choose. It is an ancient choice made now by modern women. These stories, delightful and empowering, find the new within the old.

Book cover for In the Spirit of Homebirth
Book cover for In the Spirit of HomebirthBook cover for In the Spirit of Homebirth

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“This is the kind of book one hopes will keep getting reprinted and updated for as long as it takes for home birthing to be seen as not only possible but as healthy and completely normal.”

“Beyond inspiring!”

“This is a richly grassroots book, the kind that is honestly hard to find anymore . . . It has a quietness about it that I appreciate, and my hope is that it will inspire more communities to reclaim their traditional practices around birth and ancestral connections.”

“A kaleidoscopic perspective on the experience.”

“This edited volume of modern BC birthing stories will be a compelling read for anyone with a personal or professional interest in the rich drama of childbirth.”

blog — January 20

Roe v. Wade at 50: Download a free copy of The New Handbook for a Post-Roe America

“The overturning of Roe is the perfect time for every supporter of abortion rights to examine their own commitment to the cause and to discover how they, too, can meet this moment. … Thinking local will be key in a post-Roe environment in which more than ever access to abortion is determined by one’s geography.”

—Robin Marty, author of Handbook for a Post-Roe America, for New York Times Opinion

get the healthcare you need — by any means necessary


January 22, 2023 marks fifty years since the passage of the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade (1973), and seven months since it was unceremoniously overturned by our current Supreme Court justices. In the months since the Court declared that the federal government cannot mandate states to allow pregnant people to end their pregnancies, we have grappled with the consequences of this decision, strengthening existing abortion networks and funds and establishing new ones to help serve the now-significant portion of the US population that doesn’t have direct access to abortion.

In a recent interview with Truthout, Handbook for a Post-Roe America author Robin Marty stressed the importance of sharing information about self-managed abortion whenever possible. Marty says, “Technology is the biggest way of pushing it: websites, emails, Twitter, all of these electronic disseminations.” However, these methods of accessing information are not available to everyone, particularly those without reliable internet access or those who fear reprisal should a family member or partner gain access to their search history. “We need to make this easy,” Marty said. “There’s an easy way for people to be able to access medication. There’s an easy way for people to be able to perform their own abortions. This is not difficult. And the fact that the government is blocking them from it, that is cruelty. It’s nothing short of cruelty.”

That’s why we’re making DRM-free (easily shareable) copies of The New Handbook for a Post-Roe America available to download for free from our website through Monday, January 23rd. Download a copy for yourself or send it to a friend, family member, or anyone else who might one day need to terminate a pregnancy.

The New Handbook for a Post-Roe America is a comprehensive and user-friendly manual for understanding and navigating recent cataclysmic changes to reproductive rights law, to help you get the health care you need — by any means necessary. Activist and writer Robin Marty guides readers through a post-Roe America, offers waying to fight back, including: how to acquire financial support, how to use existing networks and create new ones, and how to, when required, work outside existing legal systems. She details how to plan for your own emergencies, how to start organizing, what to know about self-managed abortion care with pills and/or herbs, and how to avoid surveillance. The only guidebook of its kind, The New Handbook for a Post-Roe America includes new chapters that cover the needs and tools available for pregnant people across the country.

This second edition features extensively updated information on abortion legality and access in the United States, and approximately one hundred pages of new content, covering such topics as independent alternatives to Planned Parenthood, "auntie networks," taxpayer-funded abortions, and using social media wisely in the age of surveillance.

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WINNER OF THE 2022 NOBEL PRIZE IN LITERATURE 

Now a major motion picture directed by Audrey Diwan

Translated by Tanya Leslie

In 1963, Annie Ernaux, 23 and unattached, realizes she is pregnant. Shame arises in her like a plague: Understanding that her pregnancy will mark her and her family as social failures, she knows she cannot keep that child.

This is the story, written forty years later, of a trauma Ernaux never overcame. In a France where abortion was illegal, she attempted, in vain, to self-administer the abortion with a knitting needle. Fearful and desperate, she finally located an abortionist, and ends up in a hospital emergency ward where she nearly dies.

In Happening, Ernaux sifts through her memories and her journal entries dating from those days. Clearly, cleanly, she gleans the meanings of her experience.

Inextricably connected to issues of autonomy, privacy, and sexuality, the abortion debate remains home base for the culture wars in America. Yet, there is more common ground than meets the eye in favor of choice. Sarah Erdreich’s Generation Roe delves into phenomena such as "abortion-recovery counseling," "crisis pregnancy centers," and the infamous anti-choice "black children are an endangered species" billboards. It tells the stories of those who risk their lives to pursue careers in this stigmatized field. And it outlines the outrageous legislative battles that are being waged against abortion rights all over the country. With an inspiring spirit and a forward-looking approach, Erdreich holds abortion up, unabashedly, as a moral and fundamental human right.  

Edited by Barbara Seaman and Laura Eldridge

Science journalist Barbara Seaman (1935-2008) spent the last forty years of her life on the front lines as a women's health advocate. Throughout her career, she was also a tireless supporter of other women's voices. Here she brings together an essential collection of essays, interviews, and commentary by leading activists, writers, doctors, and sociologists on topics ranging across reproductive rights, sex and orgasm, activism, motherhood and birth control. The more than two hundred contributors include Jennifer Baumgardner, Susan Brownmiller, Phyllis Chesler, Angela Davis, Barbara Ehrenreich, Germaine Greer, Shulamith Firestone, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Erica Jong, Molly Haskell, Shere Hite, Susie Orbach, Judith Rossner, Alix Kates Shulman, Gloria Steinem, Sojourner Truth, Rebecca Walker, Naomi Wolf, and many others.

Bronwyn Preece

Writer and improvisational performance artist BRONWYN PREECE wrote the children's books Gulf Islands Alphabet and the upcoming Off-the-Grid Kid. The pioneer of earthBODYment, an eco-somatic approach to exploring connections between mind, body, and earth, she also performs and gives workshops around the world. In 2000 she helped establish a land cooperative in the Gulf Islands of British Columbia, where she lives today.