Bookclub

Mamas on Bedrest: Could you have an Orgasmic Birth?

February 27th, 2013

Hello Mamas!

Our bookclub read for March is Orgasmic Birth: Your Guide to a Safe, Satisfying and Pleasurable Birth Experience.

Orgasmic Birth book-coverAs Mamas on Bedrest, many of you may be undergoing very “medical” pregnancies and births. Several of you have recounted to me individually and to the community on Facebook that you feel like you are missing out on the pregnancy experience. You are not out and about having people asking you how you are doing, making that extra effort to help you out or offering you that unsolicited advice. Because you encountered a complication during your pregnancy, you may have had more than the routine number of ultrasounds, fetal heart monitoring, Non-stress tests and other medical procedures.

Pregnancy is supposed to be a natural occurrence. Women throughout time have given birth. The Orgasmic Birth movement is about women reclaiming their birth experiences from the hyper medicalized model that we have today. According to proponents, “childbirth is a natural process to be enjoyed and cherished.” 

Is that possible for a Mama on Bedrest? Can we, despite our complications and rocky road to motherhood have a “natural childbirth” and experience all of the joys and exuberance of childbirth? According to authors Debra Pascali-Bonaro, the producer of the film by the same name and author Elizabeth Davis, this is indeed the case. They lay out their case for natural birth in this book, as well as provide tools and guidance so that women can design a birth plan that is best for them.

I have not read this book, and I am anxious to see for myself what the Orgasmic Birth Movement is all about. As always, we’ll review the book the third week of the month. Happy reading and I’ll look forward to your comments.

Mamas on Bedrest: Bumptabulous, A Book Review

February 20th, 2013

Bumptabulousbookcoverpreview-doBumptabulous is a compilation of stories  from “20 laugh out loud moms who describe their pregnancies, revealing the secretly-guarded details of their conceptions, the great and gross about pregnancy, the truths about childbirth and how their lives changed once their little womb-hijacker finally came out.”

I received a copy of Bumptabulous from Author/editor Alina Rutkowska just before the Christmas holidays. The book had just been released and she asked if I’d give it a read. I love getting books from authors and sharing them with Mamas on Bedrest, so I was thrilled at the opportunity. Admittedly, it has taken me a couple of months to get to the book, but I settled in this weekend and read the book in a couple of short sittings.

The book is an easy read and each story is well written. The mamas do share some pretty intimate stuff that I think a “newbie mama to be” will be grateful. For me, and I realize that I regard pregnancy through the lens of bed rest, I had in the back of my mind, “How would Mamas on Bedrest feel about this book?”  As a supporter of a community of women for whom a large part of the pregnancy experience is hijacked, some of these stories feel pretty flat with me. I am thinking of having one or two of the mamas give it a read and give their take to see if I’m just jaded, but overall I came away with “so what”? I did like the story about Erin’s hemorrhoids, that did make me laugh. And I found Rachel’s story of getting pregnant when she thought she couldn’t and wrestling with whether or not to abort was moving. But overall, I just wasn’t as moved as I had hoped I would be.

While I understand that the crux of the book is to be a lighthearted, virtual “mama’s night out with the girls” chat about life before, during and after baby, for a book, I would have liked a bit more substance. And what about a former “Mama on Bedrest”? I would have liked a nod in our direction. It is hard for me to believe that none of the women Alina knows was on bed rest. Everywhere I go, everywhere I speak, I meet women who come up to me and say, “Where were you “X” years ago when I was on bed rest?” While I am not sure how the editor chose her subjects for the book, I think that it would have been nice to have included a high risk mama-just like she included a mama who had been infertile-in the book. And believe it or not, bed rest mamas do have some funny stories, too! It might have been nice for a mama on bed rest to share her conception, what her pregnancy was like before bed rest, how she coped while on bed rest, how she and her partner bonded while she was on bed rest and funny stories before, during and after her pregnancy and childbirth.  I’m not saying include a hard luck story. But a bit more of the, “we encountered ____. Initially we were blown away, but once we got used to the idea, got in a rhythm, we went with it” type of thing.

I’m going to pass this book on and get some other perspectives. Like I said, I look at everything through the lens of Mamas on Bedrest, so I may have a skewed view. I am going to ask both a mama on bed rest to read the book and comment as well as my niece in law who is 1st time pregnant (and uncomplicated so far Thank God!!) to weigh in. I definitely think that additional perspective is needed before I flat out say “Yay or nay”.

Mamas on Bedrest: “Gone Girl” Girl (and Guy) Gone Crazy!

January 30th, 2013

Gone Girl: A Novel  by Gillian Flynn is truly a walk on the wild side! While this story is listed as a suspense thriller, I found that it is a stroll through some seriously psychotic minds. That being said, I still would recommend that you read the book. It is truly a brain teaser and a great mental work out.

The story is about Amy and Nick Dunne, a hip thirty something couple who met in New York and got married in the mid 2000’s. Things were good until the bust in 2008 when both of them lost their writing jobs. After flopping around for a few months, Nick receives a call from his sister that his parents are failing. Unilaterally, Nick decides that he and Amy will move to his hometown in Missouri to care for his parents and to live a simpler life.

It wasn’t an easy adjustment to mid-western life for born and bred New Yorker Amy . But she embraces some of the “simpler” things in life and tries to make do. However, unbeknownst to anyone until well into the story, Amy saw Nick with his young mistress one evening, one of his students from the local community college, and this set off a series of events that give the most vivid illustration of “a woman scorned” that I have ever seen.

Amy is meticulous in her planning and execution of her revenge on Nick. She spends 12-18 months planning and getting everything just right before hatching a scheme that nearly put her husband behind bars for life for her disappearance! But even kookier, after discovering this scheme and confronting Amy with it upon her return, Nick and Amy stay together and actually have a child together. Personally, I’m scared to think of a child that is the product of these two dangerous minds, but it is the child that ultimately binds Nick and Amy together for life.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, Amy was a freaking nut case! The lengths that she went to in order to “torture” Nick are diabolical and the woman has no scruples, using anything and anyone that will further her purpose. One could argue that Amy is a product of her parents’ fame; They had suffered some 8 pregnancy losses before conceiving and giving birth to Amy. They were so overjoyed that they started a series of children’s books called, “The Amazing Amy” for which they were well known and from which they had created a fortune and very lavish life in New York. But we learn that Amy merely felt like a prototype and wanted another, more genuine type of adoration from her parents. Amy was unable to articulate exactly what she wanted and even after she returns from being “Gone”, she still holds enormous resentment towards her parents.

Nick is an “All American, Midwestern Guy”. Handsome, witty, intelligent he meets and charms Amy at trendy writer’s party one evening in New York. He soon after pisses her off by not calling her for some 8-9 months (“I lost your number” is  his excuse!).  But once they find each other again, Nick and Amy stay together, fall in love and get married. Nick prides himself on “keeping things simple”. He likes living on a pretty even keel, neither up nor down.  What we later learn is that Nick has a deep seated fear of becoming like his father-a cold hearted, self centered man who in his demented state (Nick’s father had Alzheimer’s) is loathed by most of those around him and charged to take care of him.  Nick returns to Missouri to live a life that is simple and unencumbered, yet Amy continues to press him to be more engaging while not at all providing the encouragement he seems to need for his fragile ego. And it is this need to be seen and adored yet to have to do little to receive that adoration that leads Nick to take up with Andie, the community college co-ed.

Given that the title of the book is “Girl Gone” one can easily surmise that Amy goes missing and Nick is the prime suspect. But this is not really the main story of this story. The real story, in my opinion, is Does one over really know one’s spouse and when you know all that there is to know, can you stand the heat and live your life with this person? Both Nick and Amy confront this question surprisingly (even scarily) admit that they must stay together.

It is not clear what Ms. Flynn’s background is, but she delved deep into the minds and hearts of Nick and Amy. You want to hate them-each at differing times in the story-but in the end, I found myself asking myself, “If I were pushed in the way that these two were pushed, would I really react any differently?” And that is the brilliance of this book. I won’t say that I loved it, but it was a good read; engaging, a great plot and lots of substance. The story was a bit disturbing and I think that is what keeps me from “loving it.” However, I like the fact that Ms. Flynn really gave me a lot to think about. How far would I go to get back at someone? How far would I go if I found out that my husband had an affair behind my back? How fragile is my ego? Am I able to articulate what I need in a relationship? It’s easy to cast aspersions upon Nick and Amy, to vehemently declare “I’d never do that!” But it is as Nick says at the end of the book, you realize, sometimes, that what you want most is right in front of you. You don’t recognize it because it is cloaked in an unrecognizable or unsuspecting cover. What’s more, it may come in a form that on one level you find wholeheartedly revolting, yet it suits you to a tee. And this is the great realization that both Nick and Amy learn. And they stay together-for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. In the end, they each got the marriage and “soul mate” partner they desired, but at an enormous, “sell your soul to Satan” price.