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March 26, 1997

Motherhood and Mental Health

Author Affiliations

Washington University School of Medicine St Louis, Mo

JAMA. 1997;277(12):1008-1009. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03540360076039

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I had hoped to find this veritable tome on motherhood and mental health to be informative, but I hadn't anticipated that it would be entertaining as well. From the very first page Motherhood and Mental Health is full of fascinating and fun facts that held me captivated.

What utterly engaged me was the rich historical background applied throughout the book, providing both perspective and a warehouse of vividly illustrative trivia. For example, in the first chapter, a section on infertility describes the history of artificial insemination, which is known to have begun in the horse industry in the 14th century, when Arabs stole semen from championship horses to impregnate their mares; later sheiks used the reverse tactic to fertilize mares of the enemy with inferior semen. This chapter proceeds to the history of artificial insemination in humans (dating to the late 1700s), in vitro fertilization (first attempt in mammals,