Jan 12, 2011

Past Due

A Story of Disability, Pregnancy and Birth
by Anne Finger

Even though I read it some years ago, I still remember how this book took me by surprise. When I picked it up I just thought it was about a woman dealing with a long pregnancy, having a child born past the due date, but there's so much more than than. It's about a woman disabled by polio who is a strong feminist, worked in an abortion clinic and is an advocate for disability rights. She finds herself with a possibly risky pregnancy. Her story dealt with a lot more political issues than I'd considered before regarding women and birth choice. Making the author's decisions even more complicated are the facts that she has bad memories of hospital experiences as a child when doctors tried to correct her limp. She wants to have a home birth but things don't go well and she ends up in the hospital with scary complications and the possibility of a baby with brain damage. I don't know which part was harder to read, about her difficulties being pregnant with a physical disability, or the heartwrenching weeks she spent in the hospital watching her baby get poked, prodded and tested in the neo-natal intensive care unit, never sure from one day to the next if he would be okay. Past Due is one of those books that's very hard to put down, but I don't know if I'd recommend it for a first-time mom to read (like I did!) It can be very intense.

I read this one (from the library) before being aware of the author's other works. Now I want to read her more recent book, Elegy for a Disease, which is about her childhood experiences.

Rating: 4/5 ....... 203 pages, 1990

More opinions at:
Baxter Sez 
Library Thing
Literature Arts and Medicine Database
anyone else?


Anonymous said...

Wow, I think I'm glad I didn't read this one when I was pregnant. It sounds like a tough one to read now, 11 years later.

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) said...

Wow, that sounds like a great book. Stuff with babies is always really hard for me to read though.