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The Sciences

Best Books For First Time Parents

The IntersectionBy Sheril KirshenbaumMay 29, 2009 8:56 PM


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This morning I interviewed artist Kate Kretz who has a cameo in my next book. After a very interesting discussion on topic, our conversation shifted to motherhood. Kate's a new mom and as I recently mentioned here, many of my friends are now pregnant and/or first time parents. I'm always looking for great reading recommendations to pass along. Kate suggested The Mask Of Motherhood: How Becoming a Mother Changes Our Lives and Why We Never Talk About It by Susan Maushart. I haven't read it, but here is Amazon's review:

Everything changes when a woman becomes a mother, but society--particularly women themselves--often colludes to deny this simple truism. In The Mask of Motherhood, author Susan Maushart (a nationally syndicated columnist in Australia and the mother of three children) explores the effect childbearing has upon women. In the process, she removes the veils of serenity and satisfaction to reveal what she holds to be the truth: the early years of motherhood are physically difficult and can be emotionally devastating. New mothers increasingly enter full-scale identity crises, few women have sufficient information about child-rearing realities, and, as Maushart writes, "the realities of parenthood and especially motherhood are kept carefully shrouded in silence, misinformation, and outright lies." The book comprises seven essay-style chapters. In "Falling: The Experience of Pregnancy," Maushart discusses wrongful notions about morning sickness, the mixed messages about pregnancy weight gain, and the "mask" of stoicism pregnant women feel compelled to wear. In "Laboring Under Delusions," Maushart exposes the changes 30 years have brought in childbirth, and the contemporary woman's need for self-control in all things, including birth. In "Superwoman and Stuporman," Maushart disabuses readers of the myth of what she calls, "pseudo-egalitarian family life." The Mask of Motherhood is extensively researched, convincing, and deeply insightful. --Ericka Lutz

Does sound interesting and I'm curious if readers have come across the title. Further, what else might you recommend in terms of terrific books for first time parents? Let's get a list going. Comment thread is open to your suggestions...


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