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Life After Birth Paperback – 7 Aug 2008

4.0 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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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: 13.3 x 2.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 142,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

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

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
Despite the happy scene on the cover of this book, the subject matter is about the negative physical and emotional impact of birth and babycare. I was terrified to read it when five months into my pregnancy. Figes is a good writer, and her description of the hardships that new mothers often experience is very evocative.
I had a traumatic birth in an underfunded London hospital, and the first few weeks with the baby were very difficult indeed. In that context I would agree with everything Figes says. However, like most other new mothers I have met, the situation quickly improved and now I am having fun in my new life with a wonderful baby. Figes does not put the lows in context with the highs.
If Figes were to re-write this book and include all the emotions of bliss, adoration and triumph that also come with having a baby then I would give it five stars and recommend it to everyone. As it stands, though, it is best read by health officials and government policy-makers as a way of encouraging better post-natal support.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book after my third child, wish I had had it before, I will now be passing it on to my eldest daughter who is pregnant now. It explained a lot of the emotional traumas I had gone through during pregnancy and just after the birth, you need to know that some feelings are normal after the birth and this book told me that most other mothers felt the same as I did. It made me understand the meaning of the word mother, I wish that some husbands would read it too.
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Format: Paperback
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 facts, probably for fear of upsetting a minority of mothers-to-be, and the dumbing down of conceptual and stylistic complexity, probably to "reach a wider audience". I agree with most of the points mentioned in other reviews, both appreciative and critical, but would add one other salient feature that made this the single most useful ante-natal book I read, (along with the classic "What to Expect" series): the quality of the writing! Finally a book where the author didn't feel compelled to talk down to me! I also really appreciated the references to medical/psychological research, statistics and historical/sociocultural contextualisation, which made her arguments more compelling and were a welcome reprieve from all the lowest-common-denominator "how to" litterature that dominates the parenting section of the book store. As if the fact that I was expecting implied that I no longer had a brain, or an education, or the emotional capacity to handle anything but rose-tinted oversimplifications-- As if overnight my definition of great poetry would shift from Beaudelaire to nursery rhymes!

I am not for a minute belittling the extroardinary joys of motherhood-- it's the best thing that ever happened to me. But Thank God someone prepared me for the intellectual vacuum, periodic loneliness and frequent tedium of the first few years! Thank God someone spelled out clearly some of the less obvious but perniciously recurring symptoms of Post Partem, so I didn't panic or blame the wrong causes.
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