When I hold in my hands a tube of my own amniotic fluid, I am holding a tube full of raindrops. Amniotic fluid is also the juice of orange that I had for breakfast, and the milk that I poured over my cereal, and the honey I stirred into my tea. It is inside the green cells of spinach leaves and the damp flesh of apples. It is the yolk of an egg. When I look at amniotic fluid, I am looking at rain falling on orange groves. I am looking at melon fields, potatoes in wet earth, frost on pasture grasses. Whatever is in the world’s water is here in my hands.
from Having Faith
Having Faith: An Ecologist’s Journey to Motherhood
“Steingraber offers the commonest of stories—how she got pregnant, gave birth, and fed her baby—in a most uncommon way. A cross between the quirkily thorough detail of Natalie Angier’s science-writing and the passionate environmental advocacy of Rachel Carson… Parents to be or anyone concerned with environmental pollution will want to read and discuss this—and act.”
—Publishers Weekly, 9/24/01
In her electrifying book, Sandra Steingraber, brilliant writer, first-time mother, and respected biologist, explores the intimate ecology of motherhood. Full of beauty and mystery, this month-by-month story of her own pregnancy and childbirth weaves into its telling new discoveries about genetics, the intimate unfolding of embryonic organs, the architecture of the fetal brain, and the astonishing transformation of the mother’s body as it prepares to nourish and protect the new life. At the same time, Steingraber reveals the alarming extent to which environmental hazards—from industrial poisons found in amniotic fluid to the toxic contamination of breast milk—now threaten each crucial stage of infant development.
In the eyes of an ecologist, the mother’s body is the first environment, the mediator between the chemicals—both nourishing and dangerous—in our food, water, and air and her unborn child. Never before has the metamorphosis of a few cells into a baby seemed so astonishingly vivid, and never before have the environmental dangers to conception, pregnancy, and to the continuation of healthy human generations been described with such clarity and urgency. In Having Faith, poetry and science combine in both a lyrical celebration and a passionate call to arms.
Having Faith: An Ecologist’s Journey to Motherhood.
A Berkley book.
New York: The Berkley Publishing Group, 2003.
ISBN 0–425–18999–6 (pbk.)
Copyright © 2001 by Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D.
© 2002 Patmos Verlag GmbH & Co. KG
Having Faith by Sandra Steingraber
Copyright © 2001 by Sandra Steingraber
Korean language edition published by arrangement with Perseus Books and Shin Won Agency Co., Seoul.
Translation copyright © 2004 by Bada Publishing Company.
Copyright © 2009 Petrone Print