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Cover image for And now we have everything : on motherhood before I was ready
Format:
Title:
And now we have everything : on motherhood before I was ready
Other title(s):
On motherhood before I was ready
ISBN:
9780316393843
Edition:
First edition.
Publication:
New York : Little Brown and Company, 2018.
Physical Description:
v, 230 pages ; 22 cm
Contents:
Baby fever -- Holding patterns (1 to 41.5) -- A birth story -- Sleepless nights -- A certain kind of mammal -- Slacker parent -- Maternal instincts -- Dry spell -- Extra room (1 to 26).
Summary:
O'Connell is a smart twentysomething who treats her pregnancy like a new project, researching and planning. She envisions a natural birth and a year of wholesome breast feeding. But things do not go as she expects. Life throws curveballs, and after 40 hours of contractions, she opts for a C-section. She manages to nurse for a year but resents her baby's control over her body. This is not a book about the wonders of motherhood but about the tension between culturally inherited ideals and the realities of lived, bodily experience.
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Library
Call Number
Status
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306.8743 O'Connell
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306.8743 O'CONNELL 2018
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306.874 O'Connell 2018
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Summary

Summary

Operating Instructions for the Millennial set: a fiercely honest account of becoming a mother before you're "ready."

If you feel totally alienated by the cutesy, sanctimonious tone of the "motherhood industrial complex," this is the book for you.

After getting accidentally pregnant in her twenties, Meaghan O'Connell realized that brutally honest, agenda-less resources on the emotional and existential impact of motherhood were nowhere to be found. In And Now We Have Everything , she offers a brave new perspective on the transition into motherhood. With her dark humor and a hair-trigger B.S. detector, Meaghan addresses the pervasive imposter syndrome that comes with unplanned pregnancy, the second adolescence of a changing postpartum body, the myth that giving birth is a "magical" experience, the problem of sex post-baby, the strange push to make 'mom friends', and the fascinating weirdness of stepping into a new, not-yet-comfortable identity.

Addressing the fears and anxieties of Millennial women in an unflinchingly frank, funny, and visceral way, Meaghan fills a void in the discussion on motherhood, identity, what it means to be ready.


Author Notes

Meaghan O'Connell 's work has appeared in New York Magazine, The Awl, and Longreads, where she is a contributor. Previously, she has been a columnist for The Cut, a co-editor of The Billfold, and an early employee at the tech startups Tumblr and Kickstarter. And Now We Have Everything is her first book. She lives with her family in Portland, OR.


Reviews 3

Kirkus Review

Navigating the ups and downs of being a new mother.O'Connell and her partner, Dustin, were contemplating marriage, but the idea of having a child was the farthest thing from both their minds. They had careers to advance, books to write, and other things to do with their lives; there was no time for a kid. Then she got pregnant. Like many soon-to-be moms, O'Connell read everything she could find on pregnancy, childbirth, and breast-feeding, but nothing prepared her for the actual events as they unfolded. In this compact narrative, the author begins slowly, telling her backstory and working through the "wow, I'm pregnant" stage of telling her friends and adjusting to her body as it changed over the months. She incorporates humor and honesty, but this part of the story will feel overly familiar to many readers. Then the prose shifts as she recounts the birth itself. Suddenly, the writing becomes more visceral and dynamic, and she shares the very intimate details of what it was like to spend 40 hours in labor. The author's engaging tone continues with her discussions of the real feelings she had about her body after pregnancy, her trials with breast-feeding, the resentment she felt toward Dustin, who seemed to be a better parent than she was, and the lack of sexual desire she experienced for months after the birth. For current mothers, the author's story will resonate deeply. For any woman contemplating having a child, O'Connell provides an accurate depiction of what it can feel like to be a new mom, both physically and emotionally. For men who want to know and understand what being a mother is like, this book should prove useful.A well-written book that provides refreshingly candid insight into the physical and emotional changes that take place during pregnancy and early motherhood, times that are both "traumatic [and] transcendent."


Booklist Review

I was wanting something I didn't want to want, O'Connell writes of what she felt after learning she was pregnant. And so begins a book about her tug of war between intellect and emotion in the subsequent months of pregnancy and early motherhood. O'Connell is a smart twentysomething who treats her pregnancy like a new project, researching and planning. She envisions a natural birth and a year of wholesome breast feeding. But things do not go as she expects. Life throws curveballs, and after 40 hours of contractions, she opts for a C-section. She manages to nurse for a year but resents her baby's control over her body. This is not a book about the wonders of motherhood but about the tension between culturally inherited ideals and the realities of lived, bodily experience. What if we treated pregnant women like thinking adults? What if we worried less about making a bad impression? O'Connell asks. Describing motherhood with brutal honesty and a sharp wit, And Now We Have Everything does just this. The result is a delight.--Taft, Maggie Copyright 2018 Booklist


New York Review of Books Review

LAST STORIES, by William Trevor. (Viking, $26.) The great Irish writer, who died in 2016 at the age of 88, captured turning points in individual lives with powerful slyness. This seemingly quiet but ultimately volcanic collection is his final gift to us, and it is filled with plots sprung from human feeling. FASCISM: A Warning, by Madeleine Albright with Bill Woodward. (Harper/HarperCollins, $27.99.) Albright draws on her long experience in government service and as an educator to warn about a new rise of fascism around the world. She is hopeful that this threat can be overcome, but only, she says, if we recognize history's lessons and never take democracy for granted. MOTHERHOOD, by Sheila Heti. (Holt, $27.) The narrator of Heti's provocative new novel, a childless writer in her late 30s - like Heti herself - is preoccupied with a single question: whether to have a child. Her dilemma prompts her to consult friends, psychics, her conscience and a version of the I Ching. INTO THE RAGING SEA: Thirty-Three Mariners, One Megastorm, and the Sinking of the El Faro, by Rachel Slade. (Ecco/HarperCollins, $27.99.) Pieced together from texts, emails and black box recordings, this is a tense, moment-by-moment account of the 2015 sinking of the cargo ship El Faro during Hurricane Joaquin. SEE WHAT CAN BE DONE: Essays, Criticism, and Commentary, by Lorrie Moore. (Knopf, $29.95.) The first essay collection by this gifted fiction writer features incisive pieces about topics like Alice Munro, John Cheever, "The Wire," Dawn Powell and Don DeLillo, all of it subject to Moore's usual loving attention and quirky perspective. CAN DEMOCRACY SURVIVE GLOBAL CAPITALISM? by Robert Kuttner. (Norton, $27.95.) Kuttner returns to the argument he's been making with increasing alarm for the past three decades: Countries need to have autonomy to control their economies, otherwise they'll be crushed by the whims of the free market. THE GIRL WHO SMILED BEADS: A Story Of War and What Comes After, by Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil. (Crown, $26.) As a 6-year-old refugee of the Rwandan genocide, Wamariya crisscrossed Africa with her sister, enduring poverty and violence. She recounts her path to America lyrically and analytically. AND NOW WE HAVE EVERYTHING: On Motherhood Before I Was Ready, by Meaghan O'Connell. (Little, Brown, $26.) This honest, neurotic, searingly funny memoir of pregnancy and childbirth is a welcome antidote in the panicked-expectant-mothers canon - though its gripping narrative will appeal to nonparents, too. WHITE HOUSES, by Amy Bloom. (Random House, $27.) A psychologically astute novel that celebrates the intimate relationship of Eleanor Roosevelt and the A.P. reporter Lorena Hickok. The full reviews of these and other recent books are on the web: nytimes.com/books


Table of Contents

Baby Feverp. 3
Holding Patterns (1 to 41.5)p. 36
A Birth Storyp. 70
Sleepless Nightsp. 114
A Certain Kind of Mammalp. 129
Slacker Parentp. 147
Maternal Instinctsp. 163
Dry Spellp. 179
Extra Room (1 to 26)p. 200
Acknowledgmentsp. 227