Quick, easy and interesting
I found Nurturing New Families extremely easy to read, in fact it took me only about four hours to read from cover to cover. For some reason I thought it would be broken down into sections based on who the reader is (Doula, grandparent, sister, friend, partner) rather than the needs of the family being supported. Obviously (and thankfully; because that would have been a terrible and unhelpful format!) I was wrong. <br /><br /> Aside from Chapter 4 (Partners, Grandparents, Friends and Family), which contains specific things to think about for those particular people who will be supporting a new family, the chapters are arranged based on the situation of the new family themselves. Everything from supporting a mother who has had a caesarean section to a visually impaired mother; a family with older children to a family with a dog, is covered here. There are some circumstances covered which require special considerations that I would never even have thought of before, but they are dealt with succinctly alongside all of the things you would expect to find. <br /><br /> And succinct is a good word for this book. Up to and including the references at the very end it is only 187 pages long. For a book setting out all of the many and varied ways in which a new family will need help in the early days and weeks, that is pretty short! <br /><br /> Despite this there are only a few places, for me, that I actually feel the length impacts on the ability of the author to deal with what I see as some important issues. For instance, after Chapter 4 (mentioned above) it almost seemed as if partners disappeared from the scene altogether. This may be entirely because, since the partner will likely be going back to work shortly after the baby has been born, the person supporting the family will be mainly working with the mother and so she is necessarily the focus. Alternatively, the phrase used a couple of times to describe the role of a Doula is "mothering the mother", I love this phrase, and no doubt at all that caring for a new mother is extremely valuable and something which has been sadly neglected in recent decades. On the other hand, the title of this book is 'Nurturing New Families" and not 'Nurturing New Mothers', and this did lead me to believe that there would be slightly more information available on how to help partners and grandparents adjust to their new roles than there actually was. I finished reading the book with the vague apprehension that, if the partner was at home, I wouldn't actually find much in this book to refer to in relation to helping him/her. <br /><br /> However, were I ever to finally take the leap into Doula-hood I can certainly imagine this taking a very prominent place on my book shelf. It's like a very in depth crib-sheet. I'm certain it will compliment Doula training very well. I can imagine speaking to a new client and immediately thinking "right, so they have a toddler, a history of postnatal depression and a cat" and knowing exactly which page to turn to for a reminder of what I will need to take special care and attention over and where to look for more information. <br /><br /> That is, of course, if I ever do become a Postnatal Doula. Because Kemeny is very realistic about what this will entail and what qualities you should have as a person for this to be the right path for you. Chapter 9 is dedicated to those reading the book who are considering doing this as a job. It certainly did give me an awful lot to think about before I consider taking the next steps and I'm very grateful to have read it before committing myself to a training course. I'm sure that chapter in particular will be very well thumbed over the next few weeks.