Monday, August 26, 2013

The Second Nine Months

It might have seemed like an odd choice of reading material when I was first admitted to Bunbury Hospital, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  It's always a sign of a good book when you're disappointed that the end is nigh.  A nurse remarked that perhaps it wasn't helpful for me to be reading a book that is essentially one woman's rather negative memoir about becoming a mother, but I explained it was what I needed to hear.  I'd already read far too many Facebook statuses and heard countless women say how rewarding motherhood was, how it fulfilled and completed them, how they'd never want their old life back.  They might mention a few cons here and there, but would hastily add, "Oh, but it's so worth it!" on the end.  That was essentially why I was in hospital; I DIDN'T think it was worth it!  I wanted my old life back desperately.  I was relieved that one woman finally had the guts to tell the truth.  Before I became a mum, I loathed hearing mums moan and complain about their kids all the time.  Now I understood.

The Second Nine Months is Vicki Glembocki's memoir of the first nine months of her eldest daughter Blair's life.  Who is Vicki Glembocki you ask?  She's a writer for Philadelphia Magazine and a columnist for the Reader's Digest and it shows in her writing.  It's punchy, witty and had me in stitches despite being in hospital for postnatal depression.

I loved this book because she dared to voice what I'm guessing many mothers yearn to but keep silent for fear of criticism from other mums.  She writes about her experiences in a mother's group where the talk focused on which brands of baby gear are the best but the women never got below the surface in REALLY getting to know each other.  It was only when one of the mothers dared to confess that she'd shaken her daughter a little too hard in frustration that she wasn't sleeping that the first risk of deepening relationships was taken.  And Vicki wrote that she reassured this mother that she wasn't alone in having these thoughts.   I'm glad she admitted she felt resentful of her daughter from keeping her from checking her email because I often feel the same - a simple thing that I used to be able to do so often and uninterrupted is now a treat.  I could relate to her desire to go back to work (well, I don't really want to go back to my old job, I just want some time to myself or to have adult conversation), her jealousy of other mothers who appear to be doing just fine, her anger at the absolute tripe spouted by many parenting books, and the isolation that motherhood brings.

At times I felt she overstepped the mark of truthfulness and was too negative.  I wondered how her daughter would feel if she read this book years later - at times it sounded like her mother really hated her.  I felt like I didn't want to relate to this book TOO much because I still want to give thanks to God in every situation without grumbling and complaining.  Somehow there needs to be a balance between not making out that motherhood is all roses, yet still acknowledging there are enormous blessings in becoming a mother.

I loved this book because it made me feel like I wasn't alone in having the thoughts I was having.  It's a good book to give to a new mum like myself who feels like she is floundering in unchartered waters.


Iris Flavia said...

I understand, Sarah.
At first I thought I´m a bit morbid to read about the subject "death" so "kinda" much.
But it helped me more than the silence others put on the subject.
In the (g)olden days things were put down clearly by their name and that was natural, I guess (as was staying with your loved one to the end, which now is not the rule anymore).
Making clear you´re not near at all to hating, like the author comes through, is relieving, too.
I have no idea of what you go through, but I guess I can compare.
Great there are books like that out there!
Hope you get along well xx

Vicki said...

Thanks for reading my book! I'm glad it made you laugh when you needed to.