Friday, January 11, 2008

Mothering the New Mother

I finished this one first this year. Unfortunately, with one thing and another, I haven't gotten around to the review until now, and I had to return the book almost a week ago. So here's what I remember, without reference to the book itself.

This book should be on the reading list for every new parent. I wish the state was required to send you a copy along with your first child's birth certificate, or something. No, that's not good enough, because it might get lost in the paperwork and you might miss it during those critical first days.

Anyway. Obviously, I highly recommend this book. It just contains so much vital information that I think many pregnant women can't really absorb, but that brand-new mothers really need to have available. For example, it talks about the vast range of normal feelings after birth, with the reassuring reminder that whatever you're feeling, others have felt it before. It has a guide to help you figure out how to get help and how to not feel bad about needing help. (And you will need help.) It has lists of great resources for new moms on all sorts of topics, and includes a great discussion of staying at home, staying at work, and all the choices in between. It also, vitally, reminds us that "the postpartum adjustment period" can last for much longer than we tend to think, and that however long it takes you, THAT'S OKAY.

The book's biggest strength, similar to The Breastfeeding Cafe or What Mothers Do, is that it contains many real-life stories of different women's struggles and triumphs in the postpartum period. These stories really make the issues come to life and ultimately help the reader connect to the facts that the author is trying to convey.

Again, a must-read for all new parents, but especially new mothers. Maybe, if you're visiting one in the near future, you can take it to them?

Someday, they'll thank you.

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