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Anatouskia (West Sussex)

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Stand and Deliver!: And other Brilliant Ways to Give Birth
Stand and Deliver!: And other Brilliant Ways to Give Birth
by Emma Mahony
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.19

2.0 out of 5 stars Watch out for the not-so-hidden agenda, 30 Mar 2011
When I ordered this book, I was expecting it to say more about positions for bith, as the title suggests. It isn't about the practicalities of birthing, but I don't think it's a good general 'birth book' either. I did get to the end, but it was a struggle.

The author's viewpoint, fairly blatantly expressed, is that hospital-based doctors and midwives will try to force drugs and interventions on pregnant women as a matter of course and that the only way to have a 'normal' (i.e. intervention-free) birth is to be super-assertive and/or hire an independent midwife for a few thousand pounds. My own concerns are about being pressured to have interventions that I'd rather not have and this book would make me more worried if I'd let it. However, I just don't think that this can be as universal as the author suggests. If I approach my hospital birth thinking that it's going to be a battle, that's what its likely to be.

I enjoyed the birth stories but I found the author's tone to be too confrontational to be helpful - if you're likely to worry about the motives of those connected to hospital births, it might be better to avoid this book.

The Rough Guide to Babies & Toddlers
The Rough Guide to Babies & Toddlers
by Kaz Cooke
Edition: Paperback

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the Rough Guide to pregnancy and childbirth, 30 Mar 2011
I loved the Rough Guide to pregnancy and childbirth and bought this book as soon as I got into my third trimester. There is a similar tone to this book and it is still very funny and informative without being judgemental. I'll certainly refer back to it as my baby gets older.

On the downside, I found some of the information in it to be incorrect, for example in the section on nappies, the book says that reusable nappies need to be soaked and pre-folded and that they need to be used with plastic pants. I'd done a bit of research into nappies before I bought the book and this isn't the case any more as there are lots of different types to choose from. It might have been true when the book was first published but not for the latest edition in 2009. I'm not a reusable nappy evangelist and haven't made my mind up yet, but seeing this has made me question what else in the book might be out of date. I am glad I bought it, but I won't rely on it in the same way as the Rough Guide to pregnancy and childbirth.

Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety
Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety
by Judith Warner
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not critical of any one approach - an eye opener, 16 Feb 2010
This is my first review, prompted by the previous reviewer who seems to have completely misunderstood this book. The author's argument is not that one type of mothering style is better or worse than another, but that the "choices" that women in America and similar socities are faced with are not genuine choices, freely made. Rather they are often a force of circumstances such as inadequate workplace flexibility, poor childcare provision and other social and societal pressures.

The historical thread of the book charts how expectations of mothers and motherhood have changed over time. The author states that, rather than being able to tackle social issues, mothers in recent years have been artifically divided into working and non-working camps, with many feeling pressured to provide the "perfect" childhood for their children, losing themselves completely in the process.

This is a fascinating and challenging book and a good read, which I'm not sure I can do justice to in a few paragraphs. What the author makes absolutely clear in the conclusion is that she isn't coming down in favour of one approach over another, rather she is arguing for society to change to give mothers (and fathers) genuine choices about how they care for their children.

I don't think the author needed to "tone down her feminist views" - it's her book, after all.

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