Mama Books: MotherKind


posted by Amy

A few months after giving birth, I was still trying to figure out how to balance caring for my first baby and for my four-year-old stepson. I found myself wandering around a bookstore in a sleep-deprived haze, looking for some escapist reading. What did I choose? Well, a novel about a new mama walking around in a sleep-deprived haze, trying to figure out how to balance caring for her new baby son and her two stepsons, not to mention her dying mother. Escapist reading. Yeah, right.

MotherKind by Jayne Anne Phillips, a book I chose almost entirely because of its title and cover photo of off-white baby blankets, describes "Mother Shock," as Andrea Buchanan has so rightly called it in her book of that name, perfectly. MotherKind was obviously anything but escapist fiction, but I didn't regret my choice. Phillips tells the story of the first year of motherhood more honestly and beautifully than almost anything I've come across.

I still go back and reread MotherKind at least once a year, especially during those times when my dual roles as stepmama and mama leave me feeling like the only one living this kind of life. In fact, Sheri and I even thought of naming mamazine.com "mamakind," until someone pointed out to to us that we'd get a whole lotta hits from people looking for the mother of all joints.

Read an interview with Jayne Anne Phillips.