And Now We Have Everything
And Now We Have Everything: On Motherhood Before I Was Ready has a simple premise: Meaghan is 29, engaged, and she gets pregnant. She decides to keep the unplanned pregnancy — she has a stable life, a partner she’s planning on marrying — but none of her friends really have babies yet and she doesn’t know quite what to expect.
As the book blurb reads (love a good blurb), “she realized that the book she needed -- a brutally honest, agenda-free reckoning with the emotional and existential impact of motherhood -- didn't exist. So she decided to write it herself.” O’Connell writes frankly about pregnancy, about her birth, about being a new mom. There’s nothing dramatic (well, her birth story is dramatic — it was published in Longreads, you can read it here), and it’s very much the story of a regular life. But that’s what makes it so powerful.
As Mary Laura Philpott writes in Lithub in an essay about why we need memoirs about regular lives, “O’Connell isn’t playing a birth story for shock value or sympathy here, nor is she doing the written equivalent of shoving cute baby pictures into strangers’ faces. She’s cracking open her experience, analyzing the pieces, and gluing the resulting discoveries back together with perspective and artistry. To do so is an act of generosity, and I’m grateful for it, just as I’m grateful for other memoirs about relatively mundane thing.”
I was riveted by O’Connell’s story, and the honesty with which she tells it. It’s type of book I’m going to tell all my friends to read before they have babies one day.
In an interview, she explains, “in the end, there’s no big revelation, it’s more like, things were hard. And now they’re not so hard. And that’s how it is. But that’s not really the story we tell about having a baby or being a parent.”
A must-read memoir. Rating: ★★★★★
Get it here: https://amzn.to/2tMMTrd