THE MOTHER PUZZLE by Judith D. Schwartz


A New Generation Reckons with Motherhood
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 Young women building careers, nurturing relationships, and toying with the idea of having babies will find their conflicts described empathetically and analyzed astutely here. Schwartz is a freelance writer facing the dilemmas she probes. She's informed herself by reading widely in the appropriate feminist and family literature (Ehrenreich, Chesler, Louv, and Skolnik, et al.) and by interviewing dozens of her peers, but she also brings to the discussion a sensitive and personal point of view. Not the least of the paradoxical questions she and her post- baby-boom generation confront are the ones raised by the sexual revolution and the control of conception. If being a woman means being able to have a baby, but that ability is thwarted by swallowing a pill every morning, am I still a woman? If I have modeled my life on father's professionalism and rebelled against mother's domesticity, do I suddenly become my mother when I have a baby? Schwartz also describes the sense of ``physical chaos'' that pregnancy brings to a generation that prides itself on being physically fit; and the ``infant illiteracy'' caused by the deterioration of support systems like extended families, networks of neighboring mothers and grandmothers, ``sewing circles,'' and midwives. Here also are insights on the fear of infertility, the tyranny of technology, and the transformation of relationships when a baby is born. Not every young woman born after the 60's will face motherhood thinking about such daunting questions, but those who do will find that Schwartz articulates their confusion well and with feeling. (First serial to Glamour and New Woman)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-671-76768-2
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1993