Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A must read Book on pregnancy & first year of child development

A few days back, I received a book from a writer friend of mine, titled-Letters to my Baby.

Sangeeta Bhargava is an Indian writer, who is at present living in UK.

She writes short stories, novels & books.

In her own words-

Letters to my Baby

My first book is a week-by-week guide to pregnancy and the first year of a baby's life. Written in the form of letters from a mother to her baby, the book is a missive from a mother who has ‘been there’ and is now offering help and support to other women embarking on the same voyage.

Anjali, the baby in this book, can be anybody’s baby. Her mother Sujata is not a super mom who effortlessly lulls her baby to sleep by singing a famous lullaby, but a mother who at times is distraught that her little one kept her up all night. She is not a perfect mother. We see her making mistakes, we watch her cope and we clap with her as Anjali reaches her first birthday. The book not only deals with issues like morning sickness, stretch marks, bonding and producing enough breast milk, but also answers questions like - why birthdays are celebrated with a cake or why girls are dressed in pink and boys in blue.

Thus the book provides concise, easy to understand and up-to-date information and guidance on pregnancy as well as baby care. The first letter which begins this magical journey is shown below.....

Dear Baby,

I found out this morning that I’m going to be your mamma. I’m writing this – my first letter to you - to tell you that I love you, even though at the moment you are no bigger than the nail on my little finger.

I am dying to share this wonderful news with your father who is at work at the moment. His name is Nikhil and we got married about two years ago. Now, how should I break this news to him, huh? Should I sit down on a chair knitting a wee little bootee like they do in the movies or should I just say, ‘Guess what, I’m pregnant!’

Well, all this fantasising was of no use because what happened was an anticlimax. As soon as Nikhil came home, I felt queasy and had to rush to the bathroom. Your papa was concerned but much to my dismay, enlightenment came to him too soon. ‘Hang on,’ he said. ‘You missed your period, now you’re vomiting. It could only mean….’ Then seeing the look on my face, his eyes lit up instantly. ‘Yes, I’m going to be a dad! My baby’s going to have a baby,’ he exclaimed, as he locked me in a tight embrace.

Oh baby, I’m longing to see you, touch you, hold you, but I have to wait for almost nine long months before I can do that!

Well, I better go to bed now. All this excitement has made me tired.

Good night my little one,

Your loving mamma.

Some quotes she got-

"Letters to my Baby is the Indian version of Dr. Spock’s book." – Shri Kapil Sibal, Union Minister of Science and Technology.

"I have been waiting for a long time for a book like this to come out." – Dr. Simonie Dey, Gynaecologist, Allahabad.


This is the foreword by Dr. Varuna Pathak, Gynaecologist, Pathak Hospital, Bhopal and Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Gandhi Medical College, Bhopal.

I feel Letters to my Baby is a 'must' for all mothers and I would even go as far as to say that its indispensable. The best part is that, it is neither another obstetrics/paediatrics textbook, nor is it just another novel.

Going through the first half of the book, Sujata's Pregnancy, I actually relived every day of my pregnancy. It is a perfect amalgamation of scientific facts and emotions. The author has managed to cover practically everything. I am sure no one could have done it better.

The second half of the book, Anjali's First Year, is as informative and as close to a mother's heart as the first half. Although I am a doctor myself, who has been working with pregnant women and first time mothers for the past six years before becoming a mother myself, I only knew the technical and theoretical aspects of motherhood. But there were so many minor issues that I had no idea about. I had to keep asking my mother, mother-in-law, sister, friends and even maidservants! Now I feel that if I had this book with me when I became a mother, I would not have to bother so many people.

The book is indeed an invaluable bedside companion for all new mothers and mothers-to-be.
Here's another great review from Yamini P, at India Varta.

Book notes from a mother

Yamini P

Those who have seen the movie ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ may never forget the way Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol find their long-lost love. Sana Saeed (Anjali), who played Shah Rukh’s daughter, reunits them through a series of letters written by her mother Rani Mukherji.

In the same format, Sangeeta Bhargava, a London-based writer has written a book titled, ‘Letters to my Baby’ which consists of letters written by a mother Sujata to her daughter Anjali on how she was born. It recounts the journey of Anjali from conception to her first birthday. In the pref ace of the book Sangeeta has said, ‘‘Anjali, the baby in the book, can be anyone’s baby. Her mother Sujata is not a film heroine who lulls her baby to sleep by singing lullabies. She herself carries out mistakes, copes with it, and claps with Anjali as she celebrates her first birthday.’’ The book is divided into two parts — Sujata’a pregnancy and Anjali’s first year. The letters were written from the day when Sujata realised that she had conceived. Then the author gives a narrative description of the various weeks following to the birth of Anjali and later moves through her first year.

The letters clear various myths surrounding pregnancy and offer tips on how to cope up with the changes happening in the mother’s body. After each letter, a brief note on pregnancy-related terms are also given.

The letters conclude with Anjali’s birthday party where she stole the show by making tentative steps towards her ‘nana’. The book also has an appendix which include exercises, baby notes and other pregnancyrelated terms. Accompanying the letters are illustrations done by Sharmila Chaudhary also.

Apart from medical aids, the book offers you a comprehensive outlook on the emotional needs of mother and child. The book written by a mother to all the mothers in the form of heart-warming letters is intended to celebrate and keep alive the spirit of motherhood.

This is just one side of her writing. I would like to add something more....maybe next time!

Please visit her website-though it is on my blogroll-



Post a Comment