Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Rethinking the 9 Months

Over on Babble, Ceridwen Morris reviews Annie Murphy Paul's new book Origins: How the nine months before birth shapes the rest of our lives. Full disclosure: I am the mother who cursed upon hearing the news of the book (see the lede). But, I have to say, after reading the review (and talking to Ceridwen about it), I'm intrigued. As Ceridwen points out, modern pregnancy with it's focus on risk pits fetus against mom "and you can guess who’s the innocent one." And yet, she writes of Paul's book:

...between the data on phthalates and thalidomide, and around the edges of tragic stories about Holocaust survivors and flu pandemics, a strangely positive story emerges, a story about mothers and fetuses engaged in a highly synchronized and extremely responsive physiological rapport. Gestation, it turns out, is not the mother "hosting the perfect parasite," as once was believed. Instead, it’s a time when vital information is passed from mother to fetus, what Paul calls "biological postcards from the world outside." These stories “make up a mix of influences as individual and idiosyncratic as the mother herself."

So good to see a new door on the mother load of mother guilt finally opening and letting in some fresh, non-toxic air.

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