Forget about the baby for just one minute; what about you?
New motherhood changes everything. Few women are prepared for the radical shifts in identity, emotional intensity and relations with friends, family and the father of their child. In this fully revised and updated edition of the classic book that first bust the conspiracy of silence surrounding the upheaval of new motherhood, Kate Figes draws on medical and historical research, the invention of 'good' motherhood as well as personal testimony to reassure new mothers everywhere that they are not only normal if they find things difficult, but also doing fine.
Phenomena like postnatal changes and adjustment to motherhood are conspicuously absent from the truckload of information and advice new mothers receive. Figes (Because of Her Sex), mother of two, bravely blazes a trail to challenge the codified construct of make-nice new motherhood. She uses interviews, statistics, historical data and personal experience to explore this difficult, exhilarating and often traumatic transition. Via chapters on "Health After Birth," "Working and the 'Good' Mother," "Exhaustion," "Relations with the Father," "Sex and Sensuality" and "Friends and the Outside World," she debunks myths and reassures and commiserates with new mothers. An appendix outlines common health problems. Maintaining that motherhood is the best thing that ever happened to her, Figes describes the radical physical and emotional changes new moms face. Her discussions of sleep deprivation, love for the child, range of severity in postpartum depression, anger at the loss of control in life, common sources of tension between new parents, deepening intimacy with the father and the history of the mother's role will interest and resonate with all mothers of young children. Though largely successful, Figes goes astray when, cutting new moms some slack, she is dismissive and judgmental about modern, child-centered parenting practices (e.g., she states that frequently sharing a bed with your child is a sign of "subtle sexual abuse"). Occasional extreme views, combined with sometimes overreaching historical comparisons and the awkward title, undercut her overall purpose. However, reading with a freshly sharpened eye, new mothers will find much comfort in this informative book.