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StorkNet's Bookshelf
In The Newborn Year
by Elisabeth Brutto Hallett

"Our firstborn son was three weeks old when I wrote, with a feeling of mingled regret and relief, 'Fortunately, most of the intense effects are over now.' After Devon's birth, my awareness changed in ways I never anticipated. I had tried to prepare for birth and motherhood, but no book or article or friend explained all that happened in those first three weeks. Something had been left out of common knowledge--where did I fit in? Did other new parents go through changes like these? I needed to know; so when Deven was four years old, I began gathering other people's stories."

Elisabeth Hallett's collection of stories and contributions help bring quiet confusion, unspoken experiences and tumultuous emotions out of the darkness and into the light. They are shared so that new parents may find it easier to become more aware of the changes occurring in and around themselves, both small and profound, during that first year. We are able to view these events with a new lens and find the beauty and strength behind the many quiet moments and transitions we experience. Some are concerning, most are beautiful, touching, spiritual and they change our lives.

The author has so clearly addressed the elements of awareness in those first few days. Mothers she spoke with talked about the experience of being so very caught up in the present time and savoring each moment. She speaks of total absorption in the new baby and the bonding that takes place as parent and child capture each other's presence. One mother described this feeling as if she and her baby were one. Other women speak of their vivid sensations they experienced the moment they identified and connected with their infant. Other women discuss a feeling of loss or detachment when a birth wasn't as "perfect" as the plan they created. Through these stories the reader discovers the importance of allowing for the unexpected, identifying and understanding a new range of emotions, and embracing what is. These are some of the many gifts of motherhood that allow us to become whole.

Hallett includes discussion about post partum depression, loss of sexual interest, tiredness beyond exhaustion, sensory changes, visionary experiences--concerns and events that many women are afraid to ask about or discuss with each other. The reader is able to realize the possibilities of growth and change in spite of these natural but difficult experiences during the newborn year.

Each chapter covers emotional territory many new parents travel through at some time, but often forget about or never discuss. This book does more than heighten our awareness and jog our memory. It opens up a world of discussion and prepares expectant parents in a way that allows them to notice everything, prepare for unexpected gifts and lavish in a period of time that lasts forever in our hearts.

Review by Nancy Eggleston

From the back jacket:

We know so little about the first meeting between parent and newborn. We're experts by comparison on the love stories of man and woman, a million variations of by-meets-girl. But what about this other romance? How many poems and songs have celebrated the moments when the newborn relationship begins?

In recent years there has been a tremendous surge of public awareness about the mental and emotional problems mothers can experience during the year after childbirth. This recognition is life-saving and long overdue.

However we need to know that this stage of a woman's life ca also bring creative and liberating changes. In the newborn year the possibilities of breakdown and breakthrough are closely related.

Elisabeth Hallett is also the author of Stories of the Unborn Soul: The Mystery and Delight of Pre-birth Communication and Soul Trek, Meeting our Children on the Way To Birth

To Purchase:
   • In the Newborn Year at Amazon.com
   • In the Newborn Year at Amazon UK
   • In the Newborn Year at Amazon.ca (Canada)

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