"Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth"
Boston Women's Health Book Collective
2008, 370 pages
I'm on a roll! That stack of to-be-reviewed pregnancy/birth books on my dresser WILL decrease, if I have to review one book a day!!!
Having gotten the notice from my library that I can't renew my loan of "Our Bodies, Ourselves" for the fifth time (I don't know why!!!), this book has now moved to the forefront, as it has to be back at the library today.
I have found, rather surprisingly, that the best books get the shortest reviews from me. Why? Well, what's there to say? "I loved it - I loved it - I loved it!" Bad books get longer reviews because of all the anger I need to vent after reading them (See "From Here to Maternity" book review, for example).
With that in mind, I don't have an overwhelming amount to say about this book other than - I LOVED IT!!! It gets the highest review from me. It is a book of almost unequaled excellence, absolutely thorough in its coverage of pregnancy/birth issues, and utterly and completely evidence-based. Basically, if you are pregnant or interested in pregnancy/birth, this book is a must-have. It's definitely going on my "want" list.
Looking through the book, I remember again why I loved this book - it's just SO thorough! Anything and everything to do with pregnancy, birth, baby and postpartum is covered.
The book is supportive of natural birth while remaining balanced - it is not fanatically anti-hospital or anti-homebirth. I'd say that it would be a good book for anyone, regardless of whether one is planning a hospital or home birth.
I have two complaints about this book:
#1 - This book is supportive of all women's choices, which in my opinion is great as far as birthing options go. But as a Christian and thus someone who affirms the sanctity of human life, I am NOT okay with a mother's decision to have her in-utero baby killed because it is not perfectly healthy. This book is supportive of that decision, and I found the chapter covering that to be heart-rending. Basically, the book's attitude is "Decide to keep your non-perfect baby? Great! Decide to kill your non-perfect baby? Great!" I believe that this is irresponsible and unethical. After skipping ahead to read that chapter (which I usually do with all books, to catch the moral and ethical tone of the book), I was so sickened and saddened by the book's support for the killing of non-perfect babies that I almost didn't finish the book. I'm glad I did, because the book on the whole is excellent. But the authors need to seriously rethink their ethics on the issue of abortion. What does it say about a society which gladly sanctions the killing of all less-than-healthy babies?
#2 - After addressing the issue of the multiple social issues facing pregnant and postpartum mothers (the birth situation, single parent epidemic, etc.), the authors present their idea of what should be done to remedy the situation. I found myself disagreeing sharply with most of this chapter. Their ideas, which are mostly political in nature, involve massive governmental programs and welfare assistance, and seem to be somewhat socialist in nature. I think that we could do women a big favor not by focusing on increased governmental control and involvement in family life, but by focusing on moral reform. Having a society in which men marry women before making babies and stay married to them for life will do a lot more for women and children than funneling governmental funding into social programs to try to fix the irreparable harm done to mothers, children and families by fatherless homes or dysfunctional families.
I don't mean to get off too much on politics, but the final chapter was fairly irritating. I'll stop now, though, before I turn this into a political blog.
Barring the above two issues, I loved this book and recommend it strongly to all.