Navigating the ups and downs of being a new mother.
O’Connell and her partner, Dustin, were contemplating marriage, but the idea of having a child was the farthest thing from both their minds. They had careers to advance, books to write, and other things to do with their lives; there was no time for a kid. Then she got pregnant. Like many soon-to-be moms, O’Connell read everything she could find on pregnancy, childbirth, and breast-feeding, but nothing prepared her for the actual events as they unfolded. In this compact narrative, the author begins slowly, telling her backstory and working through the “wow, I’m pregnant” stage of telling her friends and adjusting to her body as it changed over the months. She incorporates humor and honesty, but this part of the story will feel overly familiar to many readers. Then the prose shifts as she recounts the birth itself. Suddenly, the writing becomes more visceral and dynamic, and she shares the very intimate details of what it was like to spend 40 hours in labor. The author’s engaging tone continues with her discussions of the real feelings she had about her body after pregnancy, her trials with breast-feeding, the resentment she felt toward Dustin, who seemed to be a better parent than she was, and the lack of sexual desire she experienced for months after the birth. For current mothers, the author’s story will resonate deeply. For any woman contemplating having a child, O’Connell provides an accurate depiction of what it can feel like to be a new mom, both physically and emotionally. For men who want to know and understand what being a mother is like, this book should prove useful.
A well-written book that provides refreshingly candid insight into the physical and emotional changes that take place during pregnancy and early motherhood, times that are both “traumatic [and] transcendent.”