And Now We Have Everything: On Motherhood Before I Was Ready

"What if, instead of worrying about scaring women, we told them the truth? What if we treated pregnant women like thinking adults? What if we worried less about making a bad impression?"

The truth, regardless of what impression it may leave, is exactly what Meaghan O'Connell presents in her searing memoir, And Now We Have Everything: On Motherhood Before I Was Ready. In it, she speaks with a surprising amount of candor about every aspect of early motherhood, from the moment she realized she was pregnant to the day she stopped breastfeeding, on her child's first birthday. She writes about her 40-hour labor, the failure of her birth plan, her struggles with post-partum depression, the difficulty of breastfeeding, her loss of a sex drive after birth. She discusses the impossibility of balancing her own needs as a person--and a woman--with the needs of her child. She reflects on the all-consuming love for her baby that is inextricably intertwined with a pervasive sense of dread.

"I couldn't ever figure out whether motherhood was showing me how strong I was or how weak," she writes. The answer, put simply, is both. And Now We Have Everything does not shy away from that truth, as O'Connell realizes that she is both good at mothering and not, and that the dichotomy is neither exceptional nor unacceptable. This is an unflinching and unvarnished depiction of one woman's path to motherhood, an invitation to be let in on a secret, less-than-pretty side of mothering that is full of love and angst and--ultimately--a kind of peaceful hope. --Kerry McHugh, blogger at Entomology of a Bookworm

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