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Child of Mine: Original Essays on Becoming a Mother Paperback – November 10, 1998

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Editorial Reviews Review

Take away the pink glow of diaper commercials and what is motherhood in the '90s about, anyway? In this collection of original essays, thirty-five writers, including Naomi Wolf, Susan Cheever, and Mona Simpson, talk about their expectations and experiences of new motherhood. The writers range widely in age, race, and cultural background, and so does the tone of their essays--from heart-wrenching to thoughtful to laugh-out-loud hysterically funny. What they have in common is their strength of voice. This is an excellent choice for those interested in parenting issues, as well as those interested in good literary writing. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Every mother loves nothing better than to share stories with other mothers about their children, especially about the birth and the first days spent discovering this utterly dependent?and utterly independent?little creature. And who better to swap stories with than women who write and are thus capable of articulating thoughts and feelings that for most of us simply come out as a gush: "It's so wonderful!" Wonderful indeed are these stories from topnotch talent ranging from Naomi Wolf to Mona Simpson to Allegra Goodman, thoughtfully selected and edited by novelist and nonfiction author Kline. From Marcelle Clements's poignant, slightly panicked cry, "What are onesies?" to Wolf's dawning realization in the midst of a sojourn in Italy that she is pregnant to wrenching accounts by Ericka Lutz ("Thumbelina: The Complexities of Having a Pretty Little Girl"), about a baby needlessly induced, and Abigail Stone ("Bye Bye Baby: On Mother Guilt and Poverty"), this is a splendid collection. Highly recommended.?Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Delta; Reprint edition (November 10, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385333021
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385333023
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,573,801 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
I SO wish I had found this book years ago. It is the freshest, most intelligent, and best-written book about what it's like to be new mother that I have ever read. Don't get the impression that this collection of essays is strictly for women who "did the career thing" before they had children. This is an honest and touching examination from some of the most articulate women around...of all ages and career levels. I have three sons (including 6-year-old twins) and although I was excited and felt "chosen" that I was blessed with such an honor, it was without question the scariest and most difficult thing I have ever done. Unfortunately there seems to be a whole culture of people who recoil at the gritty details of bearing and raising infants--you're supposed to have a positive attitude and a smile on your face at all times. Even the (sometimes) profound pain of labor has become a hackneyed Hollywood comedy staple, when you think about it. Sugar-coating the reality of what women go through physically and emotionally when they bear children is simply another form of the tremendous cultural pressure on women in this country. That this book enthralled me years after I had babies at home is an indication of how deep my feelings are to this an independent person, I felt the loss of control over my life, our finances, and my dreams at my very core...even though pregnancy was a choice I had made. Reading this book was like finally being able to breathe after years of not being able to articulate what was happening to me. Every single essay in this book focuses on the extraordinary adventure motherhood is, and how it's an ongoing, joyful process that molds a mother in unexpected and wonderful ways. A great mood-lifter for anyone with a small infant at home. I can't give it enough of a recommendation.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 3, 1997
Format: Hardcover
While not intended for the purpose, this book might work better than a condom in reducing population growth. Reading Child of Mine is sure to give any woman pause before becoming pregnant, because the contributors hold nothing back in their accounts of their early experiences as mothers. Sleep deprivation, cracked nipples, near insanity -- it's all there. The more pleasant aspects of motherhood are depicted as well, but as any "experienced" parent will tell you, the first year in particular is the most grueling, the boot camp of parenting, if you will. Too often I felt that these writer-mothers' stories lacked perspective, some sort of retrospective comments to indicate that after the kid hits 18 months or so, things get much easier. But perhaps that's the point. In that first year or so we don't have perspective. We are trapped in a baby-care and -concern time warp from which there seems no immediate escape.

The authors have followed editor Kline's directive to capture their first-year experiences, and the resulting collection of essays takes us from conception forward through the new-mother adventure. While mothers may find that no one of the scenarios exactly describes their own experience, collectively, they describe a sort of Everymom to whom we all can relate. Piece together this woman's breastfeeding experience, that woman's socioeconomic circumstances, another woman's level of attachment, and most moms will be able to find a mothering experience with which to identify.

Child of Mine is a nice complement to the other baby-and-child nonfiction on the shelves.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 13, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I am perhaps in the unusual situation that I read this book when I was pregnant with my first child and then again after I had her. When I was pregnant, my reaction was that many women in the book were extremely negative, ungrateful, and downright weird about the children they were blessed with. Then, lo and behold, after about a week with my newborn, as I cried buckets during fits of sleep-deprived postpartum depression, painfully tried to nurse with engorged breasts and wondered whether I was going insane, I remembered the book and checked it out of the library again. Reading it again was such a comfort. So many books ignore or gloss over those overwhelming, exhausting first few months with a newborn. This book tells it like it is from women who have not let time fade their memories. Yes, it does get better, and my daughter is a joy. But this book is highly recommended for any new mother who has difficulty adjusting to her new role. She needs to know she is not ! ! alone.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By LZ on June 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is an absolutely wonderful collection of first-time-mother experiences, and I've given this book as a gift to many of my new-mom friends. I ordered this as part of a batch of mommy books from Amazon without thinking too much (impulse buy), but it quickly became my much so that I bought a few extra copies as loaners and gifts so I'd always have my own on hand. Much to my delight, I found an essay by Sarah Bird, my favorite writer, but almost every story is meaningful and relevant. This group of writers brings you into the community of mothers, across age, race, and income. The introduction is also worth reading, because it explains how first time mothers really hunger to find out whether their experiences are unique and isolating, or universal. We want to read other accounts not so much to benchmark ourselves but to reassure ourselves that the sometimes overwhelming and exhilarating feelings of first-time motherhood are normal and shared.
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