Because I have recently had baby number 2, I've spent a lot of time looking at the topics of pregnancy and birth with my three year old, and I have been sent a copy of How You Were Born to review.
It's a beautifully illustrated book, in which a couple tell their son the story of his own birth. I prefer to be very factual about such topics with my son, and this book contains plenty of information, including: waters breaking; contractions; foetal monitoring; and the delivery of the placenta. The birth in the story happens at home, but this is only mentioned once, so it could easily be used to discuss a vaginal hospital birth. There are lots of features to discuss, such as the use of a birth ball and labouring in water, and the author describes the emotions of the parents beautifully, from anticipation to welcoming their baby into the family. The illustrations are absolutely beautiful, and provide a great starting point for expanding or adapting the discussion with your child.
While the birth story in the book is beautiful and realistic, it is also quite specific, especially in terms of the order of events. When reading the book with my son I found myself saying "except at your birth X happened instead" and ""but for us, Y happened first" quite a lot. This really is where the illustrations come to the fore. I also found that some of the language a little coy, such as saying "tummy muscles" where I would have said uterus, or "between my legs" and "out of my tummy" where again I would have been more anatomical. I think this is a matter of taste though, and many people would prefer the language used.
I think this book would be a great tool for facilitating discussion about birth with a child under the age of eight, especially where their own birth was a fairly "normal" vaginal delivery, or the similar birth of a sibling is expected. This book is part of a set, in which the same family explore related themes, such as breastfeeding and pregnancy, by the same author and illustrator. I think the set would make a lovely gift for a child to use in developing their understanding in these delicate topics.
I hope somebody finds my review helpful, I always value a review of books on complicated topics for children from others. Would anybody care to comment on any that they especially recommend?