BIRTH OF A FAMILY by

BIRTH OF A FAMILY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A review of pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting in light of recent trends, which also succeeds in illuminating the crotchety opinions of its Australian pediatrician author. Dr. lsbister, a staunch defender of the family unit, sees motherhood as a ""normal"" woman's triumph and Germaine Greer as the enemy. In surveying the medical and emotional issues of parenting, the roles of mother and father, or the benefits of breastfeeding, she writes authoritatively on critical aspects but burdens the text with personal statements better left unsaid: some are informed but sermonizing, some undocumented and tactless. For example, she thinks women who won't try breastfeeding should not have children, finds living-together arrangements before marriage useless, and contends that abortion-on-demand policies could lead to routine extermination of the aged and handicapped. Philosophically she prefers Fromm to Freud, and also values the writings of Spitz, Winnicott, Klein, Anna Freud, and--rarely seen in American child-care books--several Soviet authorities. But despite the reliability of much of this (available in less dogmatic books), the sloppy generalizations and hit-or-miss remarks are distracting: ""Only the disillusioned humanist who has lost her ideals and is usually divorced wants to see her daughter involved in premarital sex"" or ""Pity the poor child who has no uncle or father to boast about. No wonder he goes out and punches someone.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1978
Publisher: Hawthorn