The Year after Childbirth: Surviving & Enjoying the First Year of Motherhood // Review

Article excerpt


I had a normal and easy pregnancy, followed by a difficult and high risk birth which ended in a cesarean section. Thanks to medical intervention, my son was born safely, but I still felt like a failure because the birth didn't go as I had planned. Those feelings weren't acknowledged by my medical practitioners-instead they kept telling me to be glad my baby was healthy and alive.

In The Year After Childbirth, Sheila Kitzinger acknowledges that women like me have to deal with the emotional effects of a difficult birth. Often choices weren't available or offered during the birth, she says, leaving some women feeling as though they've been raped instead of given life.

Kitzinger, a midwife and leading writer on pregnancy and childbirth, deals with topics either ignored or covered only briefly in baby-care books-body changes, pelvic floor, bladder and vagina, a good maternal diet, and feelings about your baby, your partner and yourself

The mother of five daughters, Kitzinger uses her own practical knowledge of mothering as well as examples of others. For instance, she encourages women to exercise, but only includes exercises that can be done with baby because she says, "telling mothers that they should do regular exercises to be fit and healthy is a sure recipe to make them feel guilty and inadequate."

In Mothering the New Mother, Sally Placksin takes the approach women shouldn't-and can't-cope with a new baby all alone. Placksin, an American radio documentary producer and mother of two, uses her own experience as a starting point. After discovering the concept of a doula-a sort of mother for a new mother-Placksin decided to use her research skills to pull together resources and information for other new mothers. …