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More Pregnant Fun

Immaculate Deception

Let’s bring yet another helpful pregnancy book from the public library.  For 1973 this was groundbreaking.  (How about that cover?) Choices in childbirth were unheard of until probably the mid 1980’s.  Although I personally am of the opinion that drugs for childbirth has merit (actually, I will now amend that statement to include the childhood and the teen years),  I also realize my way isn’t the only choice.  Of course this is where the public library steps in– giving women lots of information and choices to discuss with a midwife, doctor or whomever they wish.

Here is the back cover:

I had my kids 18 and 20 years ago and I wouldn’t even speculate on changes and choices available now.   Changes since 1973?  Please.


31 Responses to More Pregnant Fun

  • My objection to this book would be the play on words in the title. The reference is to the Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, which holds that Mary the mother of Jesus was, from the moment of her conception in her mother’s womb, free of original sin. It does not make reference to the conception of Jesus, which Catholic believe was accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit and not by conventional intercourse between a man and a woman. The title of the book makes no sense. Why would the supposed lies told to American women about childbirth be considered “immaculate”? Weed it because the title is confusing and offensive.

    • There are lots of offensive and controversial titles in public libraries….because they serve the dynamic, diverse public. Weeding something because it is offensive to a small segment of people is called censorship.

      • Hear, hear!

      • Sorry, but Catholics don’t compromise “a small segment of people”. Margaret’s objection is appropriate — the only purpose this book’s title serves is to grab the eye. It has nothing to do with the book’s subject. That is, unless the author is angry that the Blessed Virgin was the only woman who got to experience childbirth painlessly. So it’s not censorship to say the title is stupid and offensive. However, this is an excellent teaching moment for Catholics to instruct the ignorant on the difference between the Immaculate Conception and the Incarnation. Good explanation, Margaret!

    • I wouldn’t say I’m offended by the title, but whew, you’re right, that pun doesn’t make sense on any level.

    • Wait–Mary gave birth in a stable. She wasn’t spared the fun of natural childbirth. What she got to avoid was routine sex with a human male (now THERE’s a miracle!). On the doctrinal side, Mary was conceived without sin by her parents–that’s the Immaculate Conception.

  • This lady on the front would most likely name her kids Dandelion and Evergreen.

  • I don’t see why if it’s a child*birth* book, termination should be in it. (the ‘since 1973’ comment).

    • Touchy a bit? I don’t see anyone discussing abortion and I read the back of the book and it doesn’t say it discusses it either. There have been lots of changes in the way birthing is handled since 1973, and the reason everyone is using that year is because that’s the copywrite of the book.

  • I was born in December of 1973–I’m sure there’ve been changes in my lifetime. Heck, there’d been changes in the 5.5 years between my daughters!

  • “That obstetricians know more about birth than women.”

    Yes, ALL women have a complete knowledge of childbirth.

  • My first problem with the info at the back of the book is they say ‘What is the deception?’ and then they go on to list a dozen different ways women are being deceived. Just a grammar nitpick on my part. However, this book does need to be weeded, and for much more than bad grammar.

  • In answer to: “There are lots of offensive and controversial titles in public libraries….because they serve the dynamic, diverse public. Weeding something because it is offensive to a small segment of people is called censorship.”

    It’s offensive to me not because it maligns a particular religious doctrine (which it doesn’t), but because the attempt at a pun on the name of that doctrine makes no sense, sho2ws ignorance of the doctrine and merely uses it as a catchphrase. To ignore or discard this book would not constitute censorship to me, but a choice based on the quality and credibility of the material.

    • It’s a pun, a play on words…

      There are lots of things that show ignorance of doctrine and/or malign beliefs, and we select them for inclusion in libraries ALL THE TIME. I would say that if they used the pun, they probably have a pretty good idea of what it means. There’s Madonna’s Immaculate Collection greatest hits cd….God is not Great by Christopher Hitchens. If we emptied the library of every book based on the questionable credentials of authors, we’d be left with tax forms and sale circulars that people drop into the bookdrop “on accident”.

      The book is being discarded because it’s out of date. Because someone is a bad punster doesn’t mean they don’t have credibility as an ob-gyn and don’t know their profession. If that were the case, I’d have to fire almost every doctor I’ve dealt with.

      Here’s the rub: catchy, controversial titles/incidents/debacles/scandals sell books.

      • “It’s a pun, a play on words…”

        Did it seem that I didn’t know that?

        “There are lots of things that show ignorance of doctrine and/or malign beliefs, and we select them for inclusion in libraries ALL THE TIME. ”

        Wow! “ALL THE TIME.” ??? I have never seen a title in my public library that I thought was that stupid and that poor a play on words. As for books that show ignorance of doctrine or malign beliefs in the content which is not necessarily reflected in the title, I couldn’t say, not knowing the content of all the volumes in any given library.

        But “all the time”?? Those must be interesting acquisition committee meetings.

        Sorry I said anything. As you were.

  • And don’t miss *Immaculate Deception II*, 1994, which, according to Ms. Arms’s website, has a “forward” by Christiane Northrup and another “forward” by Bethany Hays, also an MD/OB. (The word is rendered correctly in the heading, but that doesn’t excuse “forward” for me. )http://www.suzannearms.com/OurStore/books/immaculatedeception2.php

  • I find it interesting that we needed books on “natural” child birth techniques about the same time that oral contraceptives began to be used widely in American society. I think the back text reflexs the times. Remember that the women’s movement, ERA, etc. were a big part of the 1970’s. Also,it’s obvious that the hippie-commune-natural food era influenced this volume. From a weeding standpoint, the medical advice is outdated, so get rid of it!

  • I actually did a lot of reading about natural childbirth before the birth of my daughter last year, and I actually kind of enjoyed learning about what birth experiences were like for my grandmother in the early 50’s, my mother in the late 70’s, compared to what I was reading in the current literature, but I still got a nasty chill when I saw that book. Speaking from personal experience, there are much more up-to-date books out there.

  • When I think back on the 1970s and I try to think of things I miss, I strain hard. I’ve often thought of the younger versions of musicians like James Taylor and Jackson Browne, but they’ve gotten better with time, so then my mind wanders to Earth Mothers–the women who had lots of kids while growing a garden, baking bread, making candles, handstitching quilts, etc., etc.. But this book is a prime example of the Earth Mother and the 70s gone over the edge.

  • That childbirth is inherently dangerous and painful is no deception. Somebody needs to study some medical history, considering in particular how anesthesia came to be used in childbirth. Hint: doctors were quite edgy about it, often for rather doctrinaire reasons, but the women’s movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries pushed, strongly, for “twilight births” that were less dangerous.

    It’s completely true, pregnancy-as-pathology had gone overboard by the time of this book’s writing, but honestly…. Sometime read letters from women to their pregnant daughters around the 1830s and 1840s. They’re extremely poignant. Those women knew what the odds were.

  • “. . . birth is dangerous, risky, painful and terrifying.” (I’ll say, especially for those being born!)

  • This book reminds me of the documentary “The Business of Being Born” produced by Ricki Lake. All the ideas seem like crazy hippy notions at first, but after an in depth look it some of it seems downright sensible. That having been said, if there’s a 2008 documentary on the subject there must be more current books than this one on the subject.

  • @ISRW – the women’s movement of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries pushed for medicated births NOT because they were less dangerous, but rather because the drugs (including twilight sleep) reduced or eliminated the pain of childbirth experienced or remembered by the birthing women.

    Privileged women (mostly white) pushed (har) for this in reaction to the hundreds of years of christian church doctrine that said woman deserved the pain of childbirth because Eve nabbed the fruit.

    It’s possible the suggestion that one should study history could be applied to more people than you thought.

    • You’re thinking somehow that because I used the words “less dangerous” in a comments field on a Web site, I was explicitly denying that those women were concerned about pain too? To suggest that they weren’t worried about both is a bit strange….

      Our book, the starting point here is our book to be culled, which addresses itself to a sort of caricature of doctors as “the man.” It may well be that church doctrine was some sort of root cause of doctors’ attitudes toward pain in childbirth, but that’s not what those doctors were saying at the time. What they said was largely that pain during childbirth might play a useful role in some sense — that masking it could increase risk to the infant. No sin of Eve necessary in order for a 19th or early 20th-century doc to be nervous about that. They had their own, doctorly ideas about the nature of pain, and didn’t require a thread tied back to religious doctrine to talk about it in journals and so on.

  • When I first glanced at the cover, I thought “What happened to the second half?” Is it really shaped like that?

    • Yep, it really is shaped like that… One of my pet peeves is trying shelve odd shaped books…

  • @Angela “That is, unless the author is angry that the Blessed Virgin was the only woman who got to experience childbirth painlessly.”

    As far as I know, that is not part of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. I’m not sure I ever heard any comment on her experience of childbirth. The scripture is fairly straightforward: “She brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes . . .”

    And from someone else: “Privileged women (mostly white) pushed (har) for this in reaction to the hundreds of years of christian church doctrine that said woman deserved the pain of childbirth because Eve nabbed the fruit.” I would take issue with that, especially the flippant “because Eve nabbed the fruit.” Although Eve was first, blame for man’s outcast state has usually been spread across both genders. “In Adam’s fall, we sinned all.” In the scripture, Adam takes responsibility, although he does explain that Eve offered him the fruit.

    I am not a scriptural literalist. (Just sayin’.) And I retract my earlier statement that the book should be weeded because the title is offensive. Although I did mean it was offensive because it was a meaningless and unnecessary and not very good play on words. Weed it because it’s outdated, the title is confusing and meaningless, and the book is evidently hard to put on a shelf.

  • Mary having Jesus is not the Immaculate Conception.

  • It might be a play on words, but it’s a clever one and rather bold for 1973, I think.
    If we start weeding because something is offensive to some while having historical if not practical value- now *that* is regression.
    Jumping Jesus, people.

  • I’d love to read (or own) this book. It looks like an interesting and unique historical reference for feminism and birth culture in the U.S. The cover and title scream “70’s”, which is also interesting, and when I read the title I knew exactly what the book would be about, so for me the title works just fine. It also implies a sense of controversy, which is appropriate to the subject matter.

    I furthermore completely agree with the poster above who said that removing a book from a library because some find it offensive is censorship — obviously. And for those who claim the contents of this book could harm children, have you read it? That’s why books like this exist, to inform people about their options and demystify the subject it treats, namely childbirth. It seems that those who would criticize the content of this book without actually reading it are the same individuals who could benefit most from the information it presents.