From practicing psychologist and noted memoirist Slater (Prozac Diary, 1998, etc.), an unflinchingly honest and evocative account of her decision to have a baby—and its consequences.
Happily married, fulfilled by her writing and practice, enjoying the emotional stability her regimen of drugs provides, Slater is ambivalent about becoming pregnant. Her husband Jacob has always wanted a child, but she is wary of maternity. Estranged from her own unstable and vituperative mother, Slater worries that her own mental illness will prevent her from being a good parent. She fears her medications might harm the fetus, but when she stops taking them, all her symptoms return. The progesterone flooding her body in the first trimester, she learns, can bizarrely affect a woman’s brain. Prescribed a mix of lithium, Prozac, and Klonopin, she feels more stable but is still apprehensive about her underlying condition and the medications’ potential effects. Amniocentesis and two ultrasounds are reassuring, though Slater remains concerned about possible postpartum depression. As she records the usual physical milestones of pregnancy, she also confesses her irrational fears: that Jacob is smitten with an artist who makes mobiles from car tires, that perhaps she should be “an aunt” to the baby and live in a different part of the house. Her labor is long, and she has to undergo a Cesarean. Slater feels proud that she doesn’t suffer any postpartum depression, but she takes a few weeks to bond with daughter Eva. When she does, she falls as deeply in love as most mothers do and appreciates that “like so much in life, being a mother is entirely undramatic, filled with small pleasures and multiple inconveniences that only over weeks and months leave marks of any significance.”
Thoughtful and unsentimental, with just a few well-earned warm and fuzzy moments, and particularly encouraging for those taking similar medication who are contemplating pregnancy.