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Life with Lavendar in London town

Monday, 20 December 2010

My Mother Wears Combat Boots

Today I discovered the existence of this book:


I want to read it immediately.

At an estimate, I've read about 70-80 books on the subject of motherhood, pregnancy, birth et al. I started about 5 years ago when a close friend in Australia had her first baby. I wanted to try and get an insight into what she was experiencing.  I ransacked my local library and Oxfam; hoovering up information much the same way a catfish hoovers an aquarium.

Since becoming pregnant myself, I've gorged again on the written word. But much of what I've read is so bland. I feels as if these books are addressing mothers as a faceless, homogenous group. I find that they don't really acknowledge the Person behind the Pregnancy or Parenting and are very Prescriptive.

A few books however have stood out for me. Ones that made me laugh, made me think or seared images into my brain indelibly. Making Babies by Anne Enright which has the best description I've come across as to how it feels to be pregnant. Rebecca Walker's Baby Love; Emma Tom's Attack of the Fifty Foot Hormones; Minus Nine to One by Jools Oliver, Life After Birth by Kate Figes and the one whose title or author I can't remember but whose description of tearing during her vaginal birth and subsequent experience of a fistula made me keep my legs shut for several years. I appreciated her brutal honesty even though it made me wince.

What's apparent is that pregnancy memoirs are more my thing than the Week One, Week Two, Week Three variety.  These have their place and are useful but I prefer people's stories. Even though we humans have been pro-creating forever, it's still a unique experience everytime. Memoirs remind us of this.

That's why I like them.

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