May 23, 2010

After the Baby's Birth . . . A Woman's Way to Wellness

After the Baby's Birth . . . A Woman's Way to Wellness: A Complete Guide for Postpartum Women by Robin Lim

I have a very clear memory of my first "postpartum visit". I was only 3 1/2 (my mother was visiting this weekend and I asked her to help me date this memory). We went to visit a friend of my mother's who had just had a baby. I remember that we had to be quiet because she was resting. My mother explained to me that she needed lots of rest so she could make milk for her baby (who was very new.) It's amazing to me that I remember this occasion so clearly - I do have other clear memories from about that age, but most of my distinct memories date from when I was 5 or older.

Anyway, I think this is the first book I've ever read specifically about the postpartum period. But it's a topic I feel I know a lot about by osmosis and experience. And from that experience, this book seemed incredibly naive to me. Here's a quote: "What to you may seem like a giant problem actually may be a tiny obstacle." (Referring to breastfeeding.) Sure, that's possible. It's also possible that it really is a giant problem, or that it will continue being a giant problem until you gain some real knowledge, skills, and experience.

Oddly, the section I liked most is the part at the end about difficult postpartums: after miscarriage, after abortion, after placing a child for adoption, with a baby who dies or has significant health issues. Somehow the naivete there seems light and real, whereas in much of the rest of the book, it just reads as denial to me.

I do like the very complete and clear instructions for postpartum exercises including gentle, yogic and other energetic style moving meditations. And I learned a new term: milk fever (see Apparently, what Ms. Lim means by this is not what most people mean by this (mastitis in humans, calcium deficiency in cows/sheep/etc). But an interesting obscure fact!

May 11, 2010


Mamatoto: a Celebration of Birth by Carroll Dunham and the Body Shop Team.

I read this because it's mentioned in one of my Birthing From Within resources; it is a lovely coffee-table book. And there are many interesting tidbits of cross-cultural information in it. Unfortunately, it is not annotated - i.e., there is no way to go find out more about any of these tidbits easily.

My favorite feature of the book are the "black pages" at the end of each chapter - with a note about something you don't want to know - a fact about birth that is not happy, shiny, or lovely in any way.

May 1, 2010

Unconditional Parenting

Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason by Alfie Kohn.

I had very mixed reactions to this book. On the one hand, I agree with the philosophy he's explaining and justifying with research. On the other hand, he's dogmatic, and directive. I don't respond well to dogmatic and directive. And it seems kind of counter to his argument, besides.

I feel given the courage of my convictions, though. I informed my son this week that I'm not giving out rewards for things he ought to do anyway. And I can see other gradual changes I might make in my own parenting choices.