Mom, formerly Momma

April 22, 2022 | Reagan

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This Mother's Day, I'd like to acknowledge the mental health roller coaster that happens when becoming a new mom. Somewhat like a job promotion, I don't think you can truly appreciate the role of being a mom until you're actually in it. In this blog I'll take a panoramic view of motherhood and recommend books that cover everything from the brutal to the hilarious. Whether you're a Mom (formerly Momma in my case), Mommy, Mum, Mother or insert name here, I just want to say "you're amazing (and don't forget the wipes)." 

Ashbridges Bay, photo by author

The Brutal 

Motherhood is hard, brutal in fact, and there is no point in sugar-coating that fact. There are the standard gripes of motherhood including the physical toll on your body, the sleeplessness, and never getting a day off even when you get Norwalk, from your kid (twice). I have devoured books that are honest about the hardships of motherhood because it destigmatizes this turbulent time and has given me great, personal comfort and so I want to start off by sharing a couple of my top picks about the brutality of motherhood. 

Ordinary Insanity

Orindary Insanity by Sarah Menkedick

This book is for anyone looking to understand the neruobiological aftermath of giving birth and the ill-defined postpartum period. Investigating more than "baby blues" and postpartum depression, Menkedick did us proud with this well researched and plainspoken piece of nonfiction that will hopefully save a lot of women the anguish of doing it alone. For a feminist perspective on pregnancy specifically check out "Like A Mother" by Angela Garbes.

The Push

The Push by Ashley Audrain

I'm not a big fan of thrillers but this book was disturbingly powerful and will live in my memory forever. Extremely immersive, Audrain gives voice to all the little fears that can consume new mothers. Fans of "We Need to Talk About Kevin" by Lionel Shriver will enjoy this modern, fiction readalike. 


The Sentimental 

As someone who doesn't gush about the joys of motherhood (though it's the best thing I've ever done), instead I'll let these talented authors rhapsodize about the sentimental side of becoming a mom. 

Kid Gloves

Kid Gloves by Lucy Knisley

Lucy Knisley's graphic novels are a combination of touching storytelling and beautiful illustrations. I have recommended her followup graphic novel, "Go To Sleep, I Miss You" in a previous blog post and will likely sneak in more of her work in the future. Fans of the sentimental graphic novel should also read "Hello Mum" by Polly Dunbar.

Dear Mother

Dear Mother: Poems on the Hot Mess of Motherhood by Bunmi Laditan

Reading this book resulted in tears, feelings of extreme validation and unsolicited screenshots being sent to my "Cool Mums" group chat. A stark contrast to her other book, "Toddlers Are A**holes," Laditan has now made me ugly cry and nearly fall over laughing. For folks looking to explore an LGBTQ+ perspective on the 'hot mess' of motherhood, check out "Stone Fruit" by Lee Lai.


The Hilarious 

"If you don't laugh you'll cry and that's a waste of energy" was sage advice I got from a pro in my new mommy network. These books acknowledge the raw, vulgar, disgusting, hilarity that is motherhood and are definitely not for the faint of heart. 


"Idiots" by Laura Clery

I have literally laughed out loud on the TTC, at the gym, and during my kid's bath while consuming this audiobook (performed by the author herself). This book gives me Amy Schumer's Netflix Special, "Growing," vibes and I have enjoyed every minute. Also don't forget to put a hold on Schumer's new book "Arrival Stories," it's next on my to-read pile!

Mom Secrets

 "Cat and Nat's Mom Secrets" by Catherine Belknap and Natalie Telfer

Honesty from the mom trenches, reading this book made me realize motherhood can always get worse and that gave me great solace. For more hilarious moms giving the rest of us hope, pick up a copy of "Rebel Mama's Handbook for (Cool) Moms" by  Aleksandra Jassem and Nikita Stanley


If I have missed your favourite mom books please comment below and tell me whether it made you laugh or cry (because, really, we are all on the razor's edge)!