Tuesday, August 19, 2014

book review: Baby Love: Choosing Motherhood After a Lifetime of Ambivalence by Rebecca Walker

The backstory: After enjoying Making Babies: Stumbling Into Motherhood, I set out to find more memoirs of pregnancy and motherhood by great women writers. I stumbled upon this one at the library, and the subtitle, "Choosing Motherhood After a Lifetime of Ambivalence" seemed to fit me perfectly.

The basics: Rebecca Walker, known for her honest memoirs and her tumultuous relationship with her own mother, Alice Walker, shares her journey to motherhood in this memoir, written in journal format.

My thoughts: I read this memoir in the early weeks of my pregnancy, and I loved that Walker tells her story chronologically through journal format. For me, pregnancy was much more psychologically and emotionally challenging than physically uncomfortable, and charting Walker's similar struggles was a lifeline.

I spent much of life not wanting children. A few years into my relationship with Mr. Nomadreader, I realized our different ideas about parenthood could end our relationship. Agreeing on kids is perhaps the most important thing in a long-term relationship. After several months of pondering (without telling him), I realized I didn't want kids because I never really imagined myself in a relationship in which I would, yet here I found myself with a true partner in life, and I could. Still, many years later, as excited as I was to be pregnant, part of me remained terrified. What if I was right all those years ago? What if I wouldn't be a good parent? Walker shared some of my fear and ambivalence, and I welcomed her honest exploration of these emotions:
"I woke up this morning feeling the distance between my life now and all the people I still love but no longer know. After a lifetime filled with a seemingly endless array of choices, I’m somewhat stunned to find myself making such a definitive one. It’s thrilling to be opening the door to a new life with Glenn, but terrifying to be shutting all the other doors to all the other lives. A part of me wants to leave an escape route open, some amber from an old flame smoldering, just in case. But another part says, no, this is it, you have a child to think about now, and turns away."
Walker did not have an easy pregnancy, physically, psychologically, or in life. Her struggles were difficult to read at times, but she writes with such poignancy and grace, I was moved with sympathy rather than pity.

Favorite passage:  "You have a nomadic heart, do you not? You have learned that wherever you go that’s where you are, but gosh, you sure like getting there & meeting yourself again."

The verdict: Baby Love is a searing portrait of a difficult pregnancy. Walker explores the emotional, philosophical, cultural, and personal experiences and emotions tied up in choosing motherhood.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Length: 244 pages
Publication date:  March 22, 2007
Source: library

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy Baby Love: Choosing Motherhood After a Lifetime of Ambivalence from Amazon (Kindle edition.)

Want more? Visit Rebecca Walker's website, follow her on Instagram, and follow her on Twitter.

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1 comment:

Thank you for taking the time to comment. Happy reading!