Customer Reviews: The Mask of Motherhood: How Becoming a Mother Changes Our Lives and Why We Never Talk About It
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on March 8, 2007
After having my first child I remember feeling so unprepared, scared, alone and sad. When I reached out to other mothers for support, the majority of them acted as though the way I felt was unusual and strange. I felt like I must be the most terrible, unloving mother in the world. After that I retreated back into my shell and continued to spiral downward (it didn't help that I had a colicky, high-needs baby). A year or so later, a friend recommended this book to me. By that time I had pretty much figured out that all mothers wear a "mask" but I sure as heck wasn't going to let any woman I cared about find out the way I had: months of isolation and self-loathing. Now whenever one of my female friends or family has a child, I buy a gift for the baby, and this book for the mother. I only wish someone had given it to me after I had my firstborn so I would have known that this wasn't an obstacle that I was facing alone.
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on November 6, 2003
I'm sure there are mothers out there who had a blissful pregnancy, delivery, breastfeeding experience, and LOVE every second of staying at home with their children-or working and still taking primary responsibility for the children.
However, for the other 99% of us, this book lets us know that our negative feelings do not make us bad mothers, and are in fact, quite common (if not the norm). I've given this book to every one of my friends who is considering motherhood. I am not attempting to disuade them, but to let them know that if they have negative feelings about the experience of motherhood and birth, they are not bad women or mothers, as our prevailing cultural myths would have them believe.
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on August 20, 2008
As a woman who is deciding whether or not to have a child, I was attracted to the title of this book as one that would perhaps balance out the messages I'm getting from friends, family, and the media--all promoting motherhood. At first I was worried the book would feel dated, as it was published in 1999, so I hesitated to buy it. I am so glad that I did. What Maushart did for me is acknowledge that all the options for mothers--working out of home part-time, working out of home full-time, staying at home--are fraught with complexity and sacrifices. But, surprisingly, the book is not a downer. I now have more empathy for my mom-friends who represent the gamut of choices, and I feel affirmed in my struggle to make this decision for myself. Moreover, Maushart points to the ways in which the quandary for moms stems from cultural, not personal, factors, such as the "structural inequality" of marriage and values internalized from childhood. So, no longer is this decision pitting me against friends, employers, and loved ones (or myself, for that matter). Whether we know it or not, we are all in this together. A must-read for everyone: men, women, children, parents, the childfree, the childless, and the undecided.
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on January 9, 2012
I was literally getting ready to make a doctors appointment to be tested for bipolar 2 disorder. I started doing some research about how hard it is to be a mother and this book came up on amazon. I read reviews, which were mostly positive and purchased. It was like she wrote the book for me. EVERYTHING I was feeling from breastfeeding woes to husbands lack of help was addressed. I was older when I had my children and had a career before. The overall theme of my life is guilt. I hated maternity leave and counted the days until I returned back to work. I felt this was the only thing in my life that had not been turned upside down. I was me. And I missed me. I have been fighting with my husband over household duties, childcare etc. Although there isn't a "ideas" section in this book for overcoming these problems, she includes a ton of statistics to reassure me that I was not only "alone" in my thinking but was in a huge boat with other mothers. The Mask of Motherhood simply means almost all mothers wear a mask, acting as if motherhood is this hobby like taking up sewing or yoga.
But under the mask is a scared-guilt ridden, stressed and emotionally fragile woman who, like me, wonders what the hell did I get myself into and then the feeling horrible for thinking it. The bottom line is, I love my children and husband. I am a control freak who needs to delegate more responsibilites. I started this year with a new mind set and thanks to this book, I am sure a happier life.
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on January 30, 2002
I began reading the Mask of Motherhood with some trepidation, fearing it was going to be a book-long rant against motherhood, as some of the other reviewers suggest. Instead, I loved it. Motherhood for women of Gen-X and beyond is complex beyond belief. Ms. Maushart reveals the aspects of motherhood that most women will not share - starting with pregnancy and going right through the marriage relationship. She speaks with gripping honesty, backs up her claims with some research and dares women to tell the truth. She is not intent on bemoaning motherhood; rather, she wants the truth about it to be openly & honestly discussed so that women are not blindsided by it (as I was). In the end, this will make us all better mothers and better women.
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on December 20, 2012
This book helped me through that unbelievably difficult adjustment to my life as a mom. I had my daughter at age 36 and was not expecting how terribly hard it would be to give up my old "self," adjust my relationship with my husband, and adapt to life as we now know it. I was completely prepared for sleepless nights, potty training, all that - but was wholly shocked by what motherhood did to my personality and my rich inner world. Goodbye, ego! I was shocked and angry - This book helped me feel normal and that things would eventually be OK. And they were. I highly recommend this book to any mother, but especially to those who feel alone as they struggle to meet our culture's expectations for how new moms are supposed to feel and act.
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on September 4, 2002
I just finished this book and found it to be incredibly thought-provoking and honest. I think that this should be required reading for anyone, man or woman, who is considering the life-altering decision of parenthood. I don't presently have children and feel so much more educated about making a real decision one way or the other having read this book. I HIGHLY recommend it.
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on January 31, 2011
as a new mom, the book really saved me. but let me be clear - it is written for a well educated audience. yes, that's condescending, but it's true. if you have not read much academic literature you might miss the point (as some of the bad reviews). for example, she does not dislike being a mom and she is not anti-breastfeeding. totally missed the point! her take on motherhood can seem negative (as the bad reviews say) but i don't think it's meant to be negative at all - and that's not how it affected me. for me, it gave context and permission for me to struggle. i love my kids more than life itself and i adore being a mom, AND, it is hard work. and at the beginning it was quite shocking. this book gave me permission to both love my kids and my life as a mom but also to have difficulty. this book helped me not feel alone. before i had a network of mom friends this book allowed me to know that other moms had the exact same experiences as me. this book really changed my life!!! i give it to all my pregnant friends. i also highly recommend "What Mothers Do" by Naomi Stadlen.
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on October 29, 2003
I bought this book while I was pregnant with No.1. The first time I attempted to read it I was put off by Chapter 1 and put it away for another day. Thirteen months later and now pregnant with No.2 I picked it up again and just can't put it down. Now that I am a mother it seems so much more relevant and I find myself nodding in agreement with almost every page. It's a relief to know that I'm not alone when I feel like it's all too hard and it wasn't meant to be like this! I thoroughly recommend this book to new mums in their mid-30s who have realised they've lost "control" of their lives.
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on November 16, 2004
Yes. I am happy to have found this book and read it. The struggle that women have when becoming a mother and the feelings that are expressed about that struggle are interesting as well as honest in this book. It was nice to help me understand what my wife has gone through, why she may feel the way she does at times, and gave me encouragement to remember her feelings during certain issues. I would also recomend that every woman read the mans point of view in a delightful novella "Drivetime: Finding a Way Home."
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