Friday, May 21, 2010

Book Review: Brought to Earth by Birth

Book Review: Brought to Earth by Birth
By Harriette Hartigan
Motherbaby Press, 2008
ISBN 978-1-890-44642-0
93 pages, softcover, $25.95

Reviewed by Molly Remer, MSW, CCCE

Written by well-known birth photographer Harriette Hartigan, Brought to Earth by Birth is a lyrical ode to the power of birth and babies. The book feels like an extended “poem” expressed in both word and image. The emphasis of the book is the black and white photos of pregnant women, families, and newborns that grace the pages. There are several photos of women in labor and a couple of breastfeeding images. Surrounding the photos are carefully chosen quotes and gentle words.

Brought to Earth by Birth is separated into six “chapters” and contains several birth photos, but no crowning photos or any other photos that some may consider “graphic.” The book is short—under 100 pages—and some photos were familiar to me (cover images in birth publications). The concluding emphasis is on the newborn, the one who is, after all, “brought to earth by birth.”

The book would make a nice gift for a midwife, doula, or childbirth educator and is a nice “waiting room” book to browse through. It would also make an inspirational mother blessing gift. As the author states, “The experience of birth is vast. It is a diverse tapestry woven by cultural customs, shaped in personal choices, affected by biological factors, marked by political circumstances. Yet the nature of birth itself prevails in elegant design of simple complexity.” Brought to Earth by Birth is a lovely glimpse of some strands of that elegant tapestry.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.

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