From the moment a woman thinks about motherhood, she must make choices for, and about, her child. She chooses to try to conceive or continue an unexpected pregnancy. She decides to leave her job to care for her baby or enroll him in daycare. Each day, there are new and agonizing choices that a mother must make, although she rarely knows what the results will be.
Lori Duffy Foster
Each relationship, each interaction with others, molds us in ways that are both ordinary and sublime. We weave those experiences, old and new, into our concepts of self, and we change. We alter the ways in which we interact with others based on these ever-evolving perceptions of the people we are and the people we are becoming.
When she realizes that she will not be able to use her own eggs, she questions the importance of having a genetic connection to her child. This process breeds anxiety, which she quells through Qigong sessions, but every decision feels huge as she finds herself in charge of choosing her future child’s genetics.
The flow of these short stories, flash fiction pieces, and poems is smooth. Even though the pieces were written across decades, they were brought together in an order that makes them feel as if they were written in a much shorter timespan with an intentional stream of subjects. The seamlessness of the stories allows each piece to build on the one before, leaving the collection stronger as a whole.
O’Connell’s account of her transformation into a first-time mother and, consequently, a better feminist is an honest and intimate addition to the new mother literary genre, written with endearing intimacy, big laughs, and tremendous heart. She dares to ask, “What if, instead of worrying about scaring pregnant women, people told them the truth? What if pregnant women were treated like thinking adults? What if everyone worried less about giving women a bad impression of motherhood?”
Motherhood and middle age, so often intertwined for women, create the most complex of invisibility cloaks. In the perception of many, they often serve to erase competency, intelligence, sexuality, and desirability even as they lead to heightened societal judgment on parenting, working, and spousing. …Harrington is not shy about breaking down the bullshit. She delights in the perfectly punctuated profanity, yet another way to flout old-fashioned ideas about what women should sound like and what words belong in our mouths.
We publish reviews that explore literary work—fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry—about any form of motherhood. This includes both newly-released work and older books that we consider to be important to the genre. Read more here.