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The Continuum Concept: In Search Of Happiness Lost (Classics in Human Development) Paperback – January 22, 1986
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Top Customer Reviews
I was very worried about being a mom when I was pregnant with my little girl. Everything I had seen about motherhood looked so commercial and high tech, and miserable. I didn't know how my personality would fit with being a mom. I read this book during my last trimester for the first time, and all of the sudden everything kind of made sense, and I didn't feel like I needed to worry so much anymore. All I needed was my baby, my arms, my breast, and my instincts. Knowing this was felt very liberating. And the idea of continuing to be an adult--doing adult things and carrying on with my life--but now with my baby at my hip observing me, just made a lot of sense.
After reading this book, and others like it, I decided to carry my baby ('babywearing") through my little girl's babyhood, and cosleep etc. My little girl is 4 years old now. We still go through all of the normal difficulties of a young human being coming into her own emotions etc., but all of the really frustrating moments are offset by a very strong and very deep bond that we have, which always bring us back to that harmony we felt as a mother and baby. I really believe that the strength of our bond is due in part to the fact that I carried her so much, and slept beside her, and had her in contact with me through the bulk of her babyhood. Carrying my baby during her babyhood was such a beautiful and special experience. I wouldn't trade it for the world.
Carrying our babies only makes sense. We're primates after all. And it's in our DNA to be carried as an infant. It seems that sometimes the simplest and most obvious solution is also the most right one.
The only criticism I have of the book, is that it unfolds this beautiful vision of motherhood, but is pretty short on details as to how to actually make that work in modern day life. Which is fine--it's not a parenting book per se. In the end I felt like it was important not to get obsessed with the idea of having someone to tell you exactly how to do everything. But instead to learn to listen to my instincts and figure the rest out on my own.
But a word of advice to expecting moms who are serious about implementing babywearing... I bought a ton of different carriers to help in babywearing and tried them all... slings, wraps, ergo, moby, bjorn, mai tai, babyhawk...etc. And I found some I really loved and used all of the time. But here is the thing... If you plan on trying to carry your baby most of the time, like Jean Liedloff recommends in this book. YOU ARE GOING TO NEED TO BE CAREFUL OF YOUR BACK!
I was a seriously dedicated babywearer-- but I will be honest. My back and neck went out about every 3-4 months carrying my baby as much as I did.
BUT...there was a couple of reasons for it (which I learned in the process). And if you do it right, you don't have to ruin your back. Once I figured this out my back has stopped going out and is completely fine. They are:
1. You need to stop using the baby carriers as soon as the baby is strong enough to hold it's head up, and grip a little with it's legs on your hip. The slings, and wraps and ergos are great, because they help you hold the young "floppy" baby so you can stabilize that little floppy body with one hand instead of two. So you at least have one hand free, maybe two. BUT-- don't get stuck on them. No matter how good they are--they will concentrate all of that dead weight on specific areas of your back and neck. And the static strain WILL eventually do a number to your back. Once the baby is stronger and better at clinging-- you need to cut loose from the carrier, and just hold that baby with your hip and arm. Your arms are going to have to get a lot stronger and trust me--THEY WILL GET SUPER STRONG. But you've got to cut out the carrier, and just adapt without it. When you are using just your arms--it's crazy--but the weight distribution into your arms, and the more natural way you shift their weight around-- you're back doesn't get a beating at all. Just your arm muscles. And they adapt and get super strong, so it's not such a big deal anymore. YOU NEED TO DITCH THE (beloved) CARRIERS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
2. You need to develop proper back posture. Period. One of the main reasons that these beautiful mamas in these indigenous cultures can do all of this stuff with a baby on their hip--is because they have this very old-world perfect (and beautiful) posture. You need to read a book called "8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back" by Esther Gokhale. She is super highly recommended. Her work follows indigenous cultures and shows how their almost zero incidence of back issues stems mainly from their absolutely perfect posture. The problem, however, is that none of us know what perfect posture even is anymore, because none of us see it. READ HER BOOK. It's awesome. And will change your life back-wise.
I have observed the behavior that Liedloff talks about for myself in non-Western societies and it's true that the children I see in South America and Africa seem to be the happiest, most well-adjusted children that I have seen anywhere. From my own experience there I had, without thinking, incorporated a few of their practices into my babies lives. What I am sad to say is that I didn't do it enough with my daughter and now I am afraid that she's too old for them to work, but I'm trying. I am also doing it with my son who is almost seven months and I have seen a difference in his behavior. He was never an unhappy child, just one that didn't like to be put down-ever! Before I read this book people told me I was holding him too much. I and my husband ignored them, but I felt that twinge of guilt that happens when you go against what society and your peers tell you. Now I know I was correct in my actions and my feelings. As I type this he's happily asleep on my lap and can sleep through anything and everything. I do everything with him and I do mean everything and he is the calmest, most well adjusted baby I know, and people tell us that all the time. My daughter was not held as much and now that she's at the stage where's she's trying to be independent it may be too late for her, but we'll keep trying.
Get this now before you have a baby. Or even if you do. I hope it's never too late.