on January 22, 2003
This is a beautiful book, a way back into that vivid time for parents of children no longer infants, and a companion to the newly pregnant, the heavily pregnant, and the sleep-deprived after a midnight feeding.
In their introduction, Kovacic and Barrett claim that "a well-crafted poem, story, or essay can unlock the secrets that science and society never reveal." The collection includes some well-known writers - Rita Dove, Sylvia Plath, A.S.Byatt and Margaret Atwood - but most of them, to me, are new discoveries, and writers I will now look for in other places.
The book is divided into sections, named for a piece included in each: First Stirrings, Notes from the Delivery Room, The Welcoming, and Now That I Am Forever with Child. While some pieces provoke tears of sentiment or joy, the authors included do not shy away from the scary, ugly, ironic, humorous, and sorrowful. Most newly expectant couples tend to rush out and buy the What to Expect type books, the ones detailing physical symptoms of mother and baby, all the things that can go wrong, what you should feel when, and why you should avoid sugar (well, okay, you should). This book opens up the vast new emotional territory that lies ahead for parents. I would have loved to have it as a pregnant woman, and I love reading it now.