Saturday, June 7, 2008
"Great with Child: Letters to a Young Mother"
By: Beth Ann Fennelly
I just finished this book. The author does a fabulous job about going beyond the nuts and bolts or sentimentality of most 'parenting' books. Some of her letters are funny, some serious. Some address answers to specific questions like labor, but a lot of the letters muse about the identity shift that a woman goes through when she becomes a mother.
It was a good read because she was writing from her heart, about what she really felt and what she really experienced. It was not a cynical/funny view of motherhood, it wasn't a manual telling you what you should and should not do. She was just writing for her, not trying to give major advice, but as I was reading I kept saying to myself "oh that is really good advice" and the thing is...most of it was things I could do for myself, I always take great care of Lacey but sometimes I push myself aside.
There were so many great parts. Here is a small sample (not the best sample from the book but still good).
"So I continue to offer what I can. What I want to say today, sweet friend, is no matter how busy you become as the mother of a newborn, make sure you read in a good book every day, even if its just for a few minutes. Of course there will be Required Reading, the baby books and magazines, and they'll help you with your questions and keep you from wondering whether you're going crazy. But find time to read good literature, too, even if a novel takes a month...it's also true that a new mother can feel like she's trapped in a pointillist painting, too overwhelmed by details to make out a pattern. The eight-pound baby makes many pounds of laundry, laundry that must be washed separately. Each pacifier that tumbles from her pucker must be sterilized. A new landscape of lotions and potions colonizes the new changing table--rash. thrush, cradle cap, and gas, each needs its own expensive remedy. The part of your brain formerly reserved for Deep Thoughts now seems hogged by choking hazards, developmental milestones, broken-English instructions for baby gadgets that are never quite ready-to-assemble. So it's easy to believe you don't have time for luxuries like showering, not to mention reading....But remember that reading provides nourishment for hungers we might not even be aware of...Reading is one of those things that seems selfish but, in the end, makes us better mothers. And by reading, we are raising children who'll love reading."