Home Site Map
Writings Home Page

Special Indian Edition of “Baby and childcare” released

Mary Morgan, wife of Dr Benjamin Spock, tours India to bring the book closer to Indian people

Dr Nitin Pandey


The twinkle in her eyes and the warmth in her memories reveal the deep love and admiration she has for the man who spent the last 20 years of his life with her. The man, who the world held in awe as a highly respected child specialist, politician, an anti -war campaigner, an Olympic Rowing Gold Medalist, whose book 'Baby and Child Care' was the second best-selling book in the world, next only to the Bible and the man, who she always referred to as a 'sailor pretending to be a pediatrician'. As Mary Morgan flipped through the photographs of her late husband, Dr Benjamin Spock her passion and desire to carry forwards his work became apparent. 'Within a few days after his death in 1998, he came in my dream, lifted all the papers from his desk and put them on my lap' recollects Mary. Dr Spook loved sailing. For 20 years both he and his wife lived on a sailboat called “Turtle” for 20 years. They did not own a house. In an interesting incident, one of the twins who visited them asked her husband if he was the “real” Dr Spock, to which he replied “Yes, I am”. “If you are the real Dr Spock” said the kid “then where is your spaceship?” On being told that he did not own a spaceship, the child turned towards his brother and said “See, I told you. He is not the real Dr Spock” !

Mary Morgan
Mary Morgan, wife of Dr Spock, with Baby & Child Care Indian Edition

Benjamin McLane Spock (1903 - 1998), known as Ben to his friends and Dr Spock to the world, was an American Pediatrician, whose book 'Baby & Child Care', first published in 1946, revolutionized the concept of child care worldwide. In the 40’s parents were advised to 'discipline' their children & not to hug or cuddle them and to let them cry, in order to prepare them to face the 'hard' world. Breast feeding was considered inferior to the bottle. Spock’s book stressed on caring and love and understanding the needs of the individual child and changed the way even Pediatricians were taught. Such was the demand for the book that it has now been published in 49 languages and over 50 million copies have been sold. The seventh edition came out a few weeks after Dr Spock's death in 1998. Mary worked hard to find a new co-editor for the book, interviewing numerous doctors. She recollects 'As i was interviewing Dr Robert Needleman over a dinner meet, he got a phone call and immediately excused himself, saying he had to rush home as he always reads to his daughter before she sleeps! That is what made me hire him. If a person can skip a job interview just for his daughter, he must really care for children'. With Needlman’s help the 8th and the 9th Edition were bought out. For the first time an India specific edition was bought out, to cater to the specific needs of the people in the Indian subcontinent and Indian expatriates abroad. The Indian edition was launched on 1st Nov 2012 in Delhi and since then Mary has been travelling to different Indian cities to publicize the book.

Currently in Rishikesh to unwind herself after a grueling launch schedule, Mary emphasizes the importance of the book. According to her, would be mothers and first time mothers are bombarded with subtle and not so subtle messages from companies like Johnson & Johnson and Nestle that without their products she would not be able to look after her child properly and if she loves her children she must use their products. “In Rishikesh I saw a young mother putting heaps of Johnson & Johnson powder all over her newborn baby. A significant amount of it enters the babies lungs and causes problems in later age, yet even many doctors are ignorant about it” she says. The book covers all common and not so common issues from the pregnancy till the child is 18 years of age and correct and scientific advice in a language easy to understand. Included are topics like “Healthy sexuality in the Internet age”, which is of concern to many parents. A pediatrician in Trivandrum told her during the launch of the book there, that inspite of her being a pediatrician for 7 years, she still had to consult the book when she first gave a bath to her baby. According to Dr Meeta Bhargav, a US based Indian doctor, the book was also invaluable to her when she bought up her son, as the “textbooks are full of abnormal, and never really focus on the normal, which this book is all about’. The response to the Indian edition of the book has been terrific and the first lot of 20,000 copies has been sold in a few weeks and the second reprint is already under way. The book is also available on Flipcart and would soon also be available as an eBook.

Absorbing the winter sun in Rishikesh, Mary says that she loves to feel the force of the Ganga (not Ganges) and the mountain wind as it rushes out of the mountains. Facing the river, she gets inspired to write. This is her second visit to the holy city, the first one being 4 years ago, when she spent 6 weeks in the city. “If you open yourself up, India will shape you like no other place on Earth” she says with a warm smile.

Get Updates Get SMS Updates
Add to Google Receive SMS Updates

Please comment on the article

Your Name:
Your E mail:

Abusive, inappropriate or offensive comments are likely to be edited or deleted.

Read comments

From: Stellar work there evyonree. I'll keep on reading.
Stellar work there evyonree. I'll keep on reading.

From: H. S. Deo
Brought up my babies without the book but that doesn't mean that we can do without it. It is better to be informed.