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I've been managing to read a large number of books recently - mainly while nursing my nursling to sleep and after she has fallen asleep. I generally don't read work-related stuff because I don't want to commit myself to remembering the contents, which has led to some very interesting and wide ranging reading. I am completely off fiction now, interestingly enough. I have also found myself quite disenchanted with New Age/Alternative Medicine. This started once I fell pregnant; but even before, I'd been drawn to the very "anatomically grounded" path of Rolfing instead of aromatherapy, which can be on the woolly end of things. I am finding it much harder to believe, especially when the same misconceptions about quantum physics are trotted out again and again. What I am sure of is that there is a mind-body link, and that the approach of Christian Science, who postulate that people who really, truly want to get better, WILL by the power of thought, is far too crude to do this link justice. Worst of all, it places the blame squarely on the person who has contracted the disease.

It's a bit like all those exhortations to "just relax" when you are trying to conceive. I found an appalling example of this "psychology" in a recent Observer interview of Barbara Taylor Bradford. In this interview, the writer discusses Taylor Bradford's infertility, and explains it by an analysis of the interaction between Taylor Bradford and her husband. Subtext: If they'd had therapy, they would have conceived. This is quite frankly insulting to anybody who's ever been in that situation, yet it is these folk beliefs which are bolstered by New Ageists who are too confident in the power of mind over matter. It makes you wonder why Ricky Gervais always elegantly skirts the topic when interviewers mentioned that he and his long-term partner are, as you say, "without issue". I have a sneaking suspicion that Gervais may be shielding fertility issues from the press, but then it is not my business whether Gervais and his partner decide to have children or not.

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Percival

December 2010

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