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Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives Paperback – July 5, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
I was incredibly excited to read Origins. I'm currently pregnant and love reading and researching all of the odd things that happen, all the dictates given by doctors, and I'm fascinated by the history of pregnancy and childbirth. I was the first one in my library to check this out (mainly because the tech services people moved this book to the front of the line for me and gave it to me as soon as they were done).
Unfortunatly, Annie Murphy Hall falls far short of my expectations. Her book is 8 parts memoir, 1 part historical overview, 1 part interview recollections. I really don't care about her shopping trips to Whole Foods while she was pregnant. I am curious about the mercury in fish debate. Guess which got more print?
Furthermore, she is way too reliant on quotes. It was like reading a freshman's first research paper. She also falls into the same trap that drives me crazy when journalists write about science (though not all journalists)--she cites information found in newspapers and news magazines with the same level of credibility as a scholarly journal.
In short, I REALLY wanted to like this book. I love the topic and enjoyed hearing the author's interviews on NPR. But I heard far too much about her pregnancy and far too little about how pregnancy effects us before we're even born.
However, what bothered me most was her narrow-minded and somewhat blinded approach. She is an upper-class white woman who is educated and has access to top-of-the line pre-natal care, something which she seems to rub in constantly in her book. She can not separate her research from her own pregnancy, and her bias is made even more evident by her intentionality in doing everything she possibly can to avoid anything potentially harmful to her child. She describes meandering through the isles of Whole Foods, going to yoga classes and meditations, taking her folate and avoiding mercury-rich fish, tossing all of the BPA plastics out of her kitchen, avoiding any and all medications etc, in order to have the smartest and healthiest child she can. But she can not escape her own hypocrisy. She launches into the history of gender prediction, and seems to glorify the ultrasound as an actual window into her womb to see and "know" her unborn baby. Her unwillingness to question the process of ultrasound and its safety is entirely absent. Ironic for a book about how a fetus' experience in utero can have lasting impact. The truth is, though we believe ultrasounds to be safe, we truly don't know whether they are safe.Read more ›
I understand that it's an easier read to blend her own experience as a soon-to-be mother; but as she shares her life with us, I am often reminded of her privilege as a Upper-West-Side New Yorker that allows her to make choices (often purely emotional) to ensure the health of her child while many mothers in the US (and even within New York City) can't afford to make. What's troubling about this aspect of the writing - for example - is that she'll clear her kitchen of BPA plastic products because she moved by one researcher's findings on BPA.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A really engaging and useful read. The author cites study after study supporting topics about how conditions in the womb affect offspring, now and for subsequent generations.Published 1 month ago by mm1234
I love this book! A fascinating read! I read it before I got pregnant and I am glad I did. I think it could have been stressful while pregnant, but prior to pregnancy it was just... Read morePublished 2 months ago by A. Ashley
Ordered this book years ago and just recently read it during my first pregnancy. Scientific data with the author's personal experience was a perfect read.Published 2 months ago by Sarah Cox
This is a critical time of life: the first trimester of pregnancy may be the MOST influential part of your whole life. Amazing. Thank you Annie!Published 5 months ago by John Chamberlain
This book provides a great perspective for anyone who is pregnant or trying to get pregnant. It is heavily scientifically based, which I appreciate. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Daphne
I bought this book for a pediatrician friend of mine in Russia. I thought it would be interesting for him. Certainly women will benefit from reading it.Published 8 months ago by John Martin
Pregnant women need this information so that they can up the ante in their own self care, and save their future children from diseases and emotional turmoil that they themselves... Read morePublished 8 months ago by RitaK