As a librarian, I instinctively want to read about whatever I’m experiencing in life. I found that reading about motherhood, weather it be in fiction, memoir and manuals, really helped me make sense of the changes going on in my life. I’m hoping to write a series of posts about motherhood in books but am starting with novels about becoming a mother, all of which are about women making the adjustment to motherhood. They all feature women who are getting used to their new identity as a parent and dealing with the difficulties it brings. This post contains affiliate links.
Night Waking is a great mystery story as well as a reflection on the difficulties of balancing child rearing with a career. While the youngest child in the book is a toddler, his mother Anna is still struggling to find some balance, partly because he doesn’t sleep and partly because they are living on a remote island.
Albert’s brutal honestly about new motherhood makes this a very reassuring read for anyone who isn’t finding new parenthood to be a bed of roses. She is open about adoring her baby but also relishing time away from him. Ari has a lot of guilt around having had a C section and feels that breastfeeding is important which could potentially trigger guilt for some readers.
Go to Sleep recounts the struggles of Rachel, who has just had a baby, making her into a single mother. As novels for new mothers go, this is one of my favourites. Walsh’s writing is always raw and this story is no different. It will ring true to anyone who has experienced the sleep deprivation of having a baby and the sense of almost losing your mind that it brings.
While Motherhood isn’t the sole focus on this story, Elina’s struggle to get her head around the difficult birth she experienced will be familiar for many people. She finds it hard to reconcile herself as a mother with the woman and artist she was before.
Rebecca Stone struggles to adjust to live as a mother and hires a black nanny who helps her navigate the world of parenthood. The two women develop a bond and when the nanny dies in childbirth, Rebecca adopts her baby. She soon finds that the world treats her black child and her white child very differently.
While this book is about birth rather than motherhood I am including it because it’s the sort of novel for new mothers I would have liked to read just after becoming a mother. Eren’s novel covers only the time span of the character’s labour and delivery and is a very moving read for those who have recently experienced birth.
It’s interesting that there is a common theme of sleep deprivation and exhaustion in most of these novels about becoming a mother. I think that, while we all experience motherhood differently, how tired we are is something that all mothers can relate to!
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