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A Journal of Pregnancy and Birth

by Carole Maso

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 1-58243-088-8
Publisher: Counterpoint

The diary of Maso’s (Defiance, 1998, etc.) pregnancy.

In her 40s, Maso decides to have a baby. Her record of pregnancy begins with the observation that everything “is enlarged” by it—her hunger, her breasts, and her emotions. She is terrified that she will lose the baby. At a farm, she lifts heavy pumpkins and is ambivalent about her every gesture: will schlepping squash trigger a miscarriage? But should she become an invalid for nine months? Maso mentally compares the possibly-knocked-up 15-year-old who checks her panties for menstrual blood every 20 minutes, hoping for a sign of her period, with the definitely-pregnant-but-might-miscarry 40-year-old who makes the same inspection with far different hopes. After the first trimester is over, Maso relaxes a bit. She envisions sending nutrients to her daughter through her placenta (“Placenta is the Latin word for cake, which is pretty great”). She loves her swelled shape—more “like a beached whale than a person.” She plays happily with her nieces and nephews, who are amazed that she can have a baby without being married, and she has a spiritual awakening: “The Lord is with thee. . . . Never have I understood these words as I understand them now.” But in the eighth month, things begin to go wrong: the baby stops moving, and Maso’s doctor induces labor, not sure little Rose will make it. But Rose is born. Maso gives us only a glimpse of life with Rose: she resents La Leche’s insistence that she breastfeed her child, and her relationship with her partner is predictably strained by the introduction of a newborn. But these are minor complications in the face of what she has gained: a new life.

A remarkable exploration of pregnancy.