Madriella students are required to select one elective reading book that deals with birth from a cultural perspective that is different from the reader.

Many of our students struggle with finding a book to meet this category so we make several suggestions in our book list.

Today we would like to highlight what we feel is one of the best books on this list, Birth As You Please by Amancaya Xristina.

From the page:

Twenty-one birth-giving people from around the world unite their voices in Birth As You Please to share their birth stories and portraits in order to inspire, empower and advocate for the right to choose how and if to give birth: where, when, and with whom. In this book, the diversity of the birth-giving experience is portrayed through colors and words, and art is used as a medium that elevates human existence and immortalizes the essence of motherhood. Birth As You Please features the stories of each of the mothers, as interviewed by Amancaya Xristina, both written in their own language and translated into English. Accompanying each story is a breathtaking portrait made by the author herself, representative of the birth giver’s story. This is a book celebrating the process of motherhood, pregnancy, and one’s entry into life. It showcases birth-givers from different cultures as they carry their children into this world. The book also explores cultural questions of what the best method of birth is, and advocates for a mother’s right to choose how her baby will enter the world.

“Being an artist and a social entrepreneur, I found in my motherhood journey the inspiration to contribute to the higher cause of mother’s well-being. I created Birth As You Please because I sense the urgency of adding ideas and research to the dialogue around how birth can be more humane and how birthing people all around the world, in many different cultures. can inspire each other to rediscover their life-giving capabilities. I grew up in Athens, Greece. I started painting at the age of 23, when I was living in Mexico City. I am now living in the city of La Paz, in Bolivia. For the last three years, I have been painting pregnancy portraits in my limited time while raising my little three-year-old son and working at a women’s rights organization. Birth, as You Please, is my passion. There has always been a deeper need inside me to create something that is meaningful and connected to a deeper cause.” – Amancaya Xristina

This book can be purchased very affordably as a kindle book (if you do not have a kindle, you can get the “Kindle for PC” app for free!

But it is also a beautiful art book and it would look great in the waiting room of a birthing center, holistic health center, or Doula collective. You can pick up a hard or soft cover copy at

We would like to thank Amancaya Xristina for reaching out to us to share this fantastic work.