02 Jan

Book Review: Becoming A Mother, by Kate Mosse

Becoming A Mother by Kate Mosse has been sitting on my shelf for months, and I finally got round to reading it. Part pregnancy-manual and part memoir, this is a sensitively written and comprehensive book in which the author reflects on her own experiences from prior to conception, to the early days of motherhood, and has invited other women to contribute their stories as well.

For the most part, Mosse has a strong, no-nonsense, feminist approach which I found I could easily relate to, including the mixed feelings about being pregnant and motherhood in general, and particularly her resistance to the notion that “all babies could be perfect if only women took more care.” [p.xv] Threads of historical, anthropological and medical information are wound through the book, set in the foil of women’s real lived experiences. My copy is the 2002 edition, but I notice that it has been republished at the end of 2013 and would expect quite a lot of the technical information and statistics to have been updated; but even taking account of this, I found the book useful. I would particularly like to hope that the pages about NCT have been revised to take account of the stronger emphasis on working within the evidence base, although it’s always hard to know whether this slight shift has been picked up by public perception.

Talking of evidence, my main criticism of the book is the frequent recommendation of homeopathic or naturopathic remedies for various ailments, and especially Mosse’s insistence that acupuncture is a “cast-iron way of getting labour going,” (p.307), a statement for which there is absolutely no scientific support.

Nonetheless, with that as a caveat, I would happily give this to my most sceptical of pregnant friends, as frankly there are very few pregnancy books out there that don’t dip into the woo now and then. This at least gives an excellent qualitative account of the experience of pregnancy and a lot of practical information for the mother-to-be to consider.

Views expressed here are my own, and do not represent the views of NCT.