Maternity Leave – Julie Halpern
(4 / 5)
I think any new mother would appreciate this entertaining, relatively accurate (in my experience anyway) portrayal of early motherhood.
This story commences when Annie is in labour. She has a little baby boy they call Sam, and thus begins her journey, day by day through the first few months of motherhood. The highs and lows, the grossness and the laughter..
I really enjoyed the format of this book. It is journal entries along with Facebook statuses and email correspondences between Anna and her family and friends. This made it extremely entertaining and easy to read. The chapters are set out in days, and they are quite short so its easy to put it down and pick it up again later (great for when you are busy with the kids!)
It had some extremely funny moments and I could really relate to most of it (except for the part where she gets her husband to squirt her bottom with water while she poops on the loo whilst breastfeeding her baby at the same time – I can’t say I could relate to that!). But it really had a lot of other moments where I would go “YES!!! THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT IT WAS LIKE!”.
I related to Annie SO MUCH! I felt we would have been good friends! We had such similar experiences! I too have an older cat who has shared a big chunk of my life with me. I also love Buffy and Battlestar Galactica is my FAVOURITE SERIES! I am a complete nerd too!
I have read some reviews of this book describing how it doesn’t describe motherhood accurately, and portrays Annie as borderline depressed. I don’t necessarily agree with this. Annie’s experience was so similar to my own, and I would not have classed myself as depressed. It’s hard work suddenly having a tiny person to be totally and utterly responsible for. A total culture shock, and I was not one of these magical mothers who took to it straight away. It took me MONTHS before I had a bond with my son. It is not unusual to not have an instant connection the child you suddenly have in your arms and sucking on your boobs!
The first few months are HARD. They are filled with amazing highs but incredible lows, and sleep deprivation… I enjoyed that this book didn’t skirt around this issue like others do. And the humerous approach was really refreshing. I only wish I had read this 2.5 years ago, when I was up at 3am trying to get my screaming son to latch onto my boob whilst crying my eyes out, wondering if things ever get better.
Would I recommend Maternity Leave?
Yes, I would recommend it to any new mother, and any mother-to-be, who wants a pretty accurate portrayal of some of the difficulties of having a newborn. I would actually say its good for the new dads and dads-to-be to have a read through also, to gain some understanding of just how difficult it is to be a new mother when they go back to work. Overall an enjoyable and entertaining read!
Many thanks to Pan Macmillian and author Julie Halpern for a copy of Maternity Leave to read in exchange for my honest review.
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