Jan 8, 2011

A Child is Born

by Lennart Nilsson

Can you tell what my subject of interest is right now? I'm not yet reading the pregnancy books, sticking to my TBR shelves for a while, but I've been looking back at titles I read the first time 'round (but didn't write about) and recalling what I can of them. This is one I'd thought of sharing with my daughter (except my library doesn't have it), if just for the images. She's quite curious about how the baby grows and what it looks like at each stage of development: does it have fingernails yet? eyelashes? can it suck its thumb?)

 A Child is Born delivers just that. Honestly, I don't remember much of the text at all; I know it was chock full of information on everything from conception to infertility treatments and labor. What I remember most is the stunning pictures. This is a visual book, full of amazing images of what the baby looks like while it's growing inside the mother's womb, from the first division of cells to near full-term when you can recognize facial features. From the date of publication though, I'd assume that a lot of the textual information in this book could be seriously out-of-date, so if you're going to check it out, I'd recommend doing so mainly to appreciate the photography.

Unfortunately there's a disturbing note to that, too. Reading around online I found quite a few negative reviews (on Amazon, so how much can I trust that?) that said Nilssen's photographs (at least in the first edition), taken before sophisticated imaging technology was possible, are not of fetuses in the womb but of aborted babies (or those that were going to be). Do you find that disturbing? That this book, which comes across as a celebration of the miracle of birth is based largely on photos taken of dead fetuses? Conversely, his stunning photographs have been used by pro-lifers to support their cause. Apparently when the book first came out, people were amazed at how human a fetus looked at early stages of development, and it was wildly popular. Some of the pictures were even sent into outer space.

You can read a little more about the book here.

Hopefully someone else finds the topic interesting, as I feel I'll be blogging about a lot of pregnancy and baby-related books for a while!

Rating: 3/5 ........ 216 pages, 1986

anyone else read this book? what is your opinion on it?


nat @book, line, and sinker said...

first of all, congrats to you!

i haven't read any books of this nature-we don't have kiddos--but know when my sister was pregnant that she was a big fan. she often sent me links to websites that had detailed photos of what the baby looked like at a particular point.

as for the aborted fetuses rumor, it would be upsetting but seems implausible that fetuses would look like that after termination.

Jeane said...

Yes, I questioned that, too- how likely would an aborted fetus look so perfect? So I don't know if those are rumors or not.

Caspette said...

I think if it was fact it would be out there as a really fact (hope that made sense).

My blog is definately taking on a baby theme now since my son was born. LOL

Jeane said...

Caspette- I think you're right. I could not find any original source material to back up those statements, so I'm kinda skeptical about it.