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Life After Birth [Paperback]

Kate Figes
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
RRP: 13.99
Price: 11.19 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

7 Aug 2008

Forget about the baby for just one minute; what about you?

New motherhood changes everything. Few women are prepared for the radical shifts in identity, emotional intensity and relations with friends, family and the father of their child. In this fully revised and updated edition of the classic book that first bust the conspiracy of silence surrounding the upheaval of new motherhood, Kate Figes draws on medical and historical research, the invention of 'good' motherhood as well as personal testimony to reassure new mothers everywhere that they are not only normal if they find things difficult, but also doing fine.

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Life After Birth + A Life's Work + Making Babies: Stumbling into Motherhood
Price For All Three: 24.67

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Virago; Reprint edition (7 Aug 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844084663
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844084661
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 13.3 x 20.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 251,658 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


The complete manual of the terrors, exhaustion and passionate emotions of the post-partum existence. A classic (THE TIMES)

A sanctuary of revelation about the bafflingly contradictory experience of becoming and being a mother . . . In places I laughed aloud in relieved recognition (Rebecca Abrams, INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY)

[I] salute Kate Figes's sensitive book which, admirably, helps redress the balance between the plethora of pregnancy manuals and the ridiculous paucity of advice on how to cope after (Leonie Miller, MAIL ON SUNDAY)

Book Description

* Fully revised and updated, LIFE AFTER BIRTH takes a hard-hitting look at the reality - physical, emotional, social and sexual - of becoming a mother

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Having read the other nine reviews of this book, I can only assume that if we vary between one and five stars then we vary greatly in the way giving birth has affected us. I only wish I could have read this book during the first difficult weeks of having my daughter instead of four months into it, when post natal depression was still affecting me greatly. The book pulls no punches about what motherhood does to you - from a life of complete individualism to one of complete control by a tiny human! This is the only book that tells it like it is FOR SOME WOMEN - not everyone is going to feel the way Kate Figes explains yet I cannot believe that MOST women don't feel some sense of loss when they give themselves up to motherhood. This book is a self-help manual to any woman who experienced a traumatic birth and who is finding motherhood nothing like the romantic image we might have had during our pregnancies - it reassures us that it is not bad to feel negative thoughts about what we have given up and it allows us to weep quietly when we relive the difficult moments of childbirth and the days and weeks afterwards that were very bleak. The positive thoughts we can take from the book is that other women have & will continue to go through what we are experiencing and that we can begin to enjoy our babies eventually - yes, there is life after birth!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By K. Wood
I found this book irritating and wish I had not been enticed by the encouraging introduction. Apart from the relentless negativity about motherhood I found that the information seemed to be the author's views presented as facts. So instead of saying "I believe" to make a point she would state her views as if they were applicable to all people. There were so many generalisations.She also tended to focus on views that supported her own experiences. For example, when talkng about women going back to work she wanted to reduce the supposed guilt women feel (noble) but used stay at home mothers as the scapegoat,implying that they are selfish and wanting to keep their children to themselves. She did not seem to consider that women might find it stressful trying to do two jobs at once and choose to focus on motherhood even if they will struggle financially or find it a bit repetitive. I felt this was looking down upon the various choices women want to make about their lives.
When talking about relationships, she makes a highly annoying statement as fact about the passion in all relationships fizzling out and couples beginning to fantasise about other people. Again this is a huge assumption and I felt like telling her to "speak for herself." There are other examples of these generalisations.
I enjoyed the quotes from the various mothers's experiences and wish there were more, though, again these views seem to have been chosen to back up her views. After ranting for most of each chapter, there was little actual advice, instead some patronising comment about how it would all be worth it in the end, as if women are not capable of reaching this conclusion on their own.
I think the sociological research throughout is interesting and the health problems at the end of the chapters truly helpful, but this book tried to tell me how I should think and feel and may be more damaging in the long run.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading for New Mums!!! 20 Feb 2007
By Jane I
I agree with all the previous positive amazing book.

When my baby was 8 months old I was diagnosed with Post Natal depression. I had felt low for months, was struggling on thinking it was just the stress of being new at this parenting lark. After diagnosis I picked up this book and it has made me feel so positive. The fact is when you feel low about being a mum, you feel so lonely, and books such as this which shatter the myth of motherhood reassure you that you are not the only mother feeling this way, it's just unfortunately still a taboo in our society.

If you are feeling down about being a mummy or your relationship is suffering due to your new arrival I strongly recommend this book. It will make you realise your feelings ARE normal and you WILL feel better.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This is the book I wish I had read just after the birth of my daughter 10 months ago. Unlike the vast majority of post birth books, this is not a manual. It concentrates on the physical and psychological changes that occur to a woman putting them into context.
It presents an academic approach in an easy to access format, giving historical and sociological perspective to the way that we experience the post-birth period. For example, did you know that the concept of the mother staying home to take care of a child is a construct of the 20th Century? Before that, babies were brought up by nannies or extended family members depending on the social background of the family.
I found the sections on the impact that a baby has on friends of particular relevence. It did explain some surprising things that had been going on in my life.
I was delighted to find an unvarnished account of the problems that can be experienced which also gave full weight to the delights of motherhood and fully supported a range of childcare and lifestyle options, rather than dictating one. I have already given a copy to my best friend and would recommend it to anyone considering having a child, as well as those who have just given birth.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Stadlen's view is that many mothers actively enjoy motherhood and that...
It's a work of some interest, but for me, not something I want to finish reading while pregnant. So I am in the unusual position of reviewing something I have partially read. Read more
Published 1 month ago by netochka
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest
I should have read this before having a baby! Figes is honest and relatable. This is one of the most reassuring books about motherhood and parenting I've read. Read more
Published 3 months ago by A. Murray
2.0 out of 5 stars Pretty grim read
I bought this while pregnant, and braced myself for a depressing motherhood after reading it. While I admire the 'warts and all' nature of the narrative, and the voices given to a... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Roundabout
3.0 out of 5 stars mixed feelings about it
part of this book are quite interesting, some other are depressing and would not recommend to a new mum! overall an interesting read to be taken with a pinch of salt
Published 13 months ago by Maria C
5.0 out of 5 stars Every Mother Should Read It
Great book.

Really helped me when my youngest was a baby.

You imagine you're the only one not enjoying every second of looking after your baby, that you're... Read more
Published 16 months ago by P. Phillips
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for new mums!
Cannot recommend enough for new mums, although I wouldn't read before having baby! Fantastic book which covers the emotions most women go through after having a baby, the stuff... Read more
Published 20 months ago by MISS S
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank God for this book
I had a chance to read Life After Birth before my son was born, and I cannot praise it enough. Two things irritate me in most "New Mum" litterature: the sugar-coating of hard... Read more
Published on 20 July 2010 by Nicole
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be government issue!
This is a wonderful book! I bought it for myself after seeing Kate Figes being interviewed on TV. My son was only about six weeks old at the time (he is now 10 years old! Read more
Published on 5 Jun 2010 by Jayne Austen
5.0 out of 5 stars This book saved my life
I am not being overdramatic. This booked saved my life, my sanity and gave me my confidence back. It didn't just say that what I felt after giving birth was normal, it explained... Read more
Published on 13 Nov 2009 by Maryutka
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what I needed!
As a new first time mother of a gorgeous girl I had no idea how unprepared for life after birth. The unadulterated joy and depth of love is beyond compare. Read more
Published on 26 Sep 2005 by L. Dickson
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