Since it's non-fiction and hence not a contender for a Whitney Award, I can review it. Yippee!
(To explain for readers new to my blog: I'm on the Whitney Awards Committee this year and get to judge two of the categories to decide the finalists, so my opinion of 2008 LDS fiction releases has to stay mum. You'll note on my Good Reads profile that any 2008 releases I've read this year don't have any ratings. That would be why. Nominate your favorite fiction by any LDS writer—that includes national writers as well as those in the LDS market. You have until December 31. Do it at the Whitney site.)
It was with much giddiness that I opened up my copy of the mother in me, a collection of essays, poetry, and photography entirely about motherhood, particularly the early years.
Considering what great book this is, that's a really dry (and lame) description. In short, the book is amazing. And it's not a little pamphlet-length ditty. It's 256 pages of (hardback!) awesomeness.
This is a compilation by the staff at Segullah, which is a literary journal for LDS women, including some names you'll likely recognize (like the famous C Jane). These ladies can write.
They're also all mothers. Every one of them has been in the trenches. Each has a different story to tell.
What I found so wonderful is that every essay and poem has a unique blend of being both unique and universal at the same time. Any woman who's been pregnant, given birth, been up in the wee sma's of the morning with colic, nursed a newborn, wondered if she's really up to this motherhood thing, or been so tired she couldn't see straight, can relate to these women and their experiences.
I've never juggled a stroller in Manhattan. I didn't have problems nursing. I never had a C-section. But the essays by women who did those things and more resonated with me anyway.
I love how not one of the writers whitewashes motherhood as some perfect fantasy life. It's real. You see the love, the patience, and the boundless joy mixed right in with the fatigue, the frustration, and the impatience.
You read of times where a mother is a brain cell away from losing her mind completely . . . and the moments that make every last sleepless night worth it.
In short, the mundane and the divine interlock in a beautiful way.
If you haven't bought your share of books for gifts yet this season, put this one on your list for a mother you know (or put it on your own list for Santa to bring you). Buy it here.
Oh, and a warning: you'll probably cry. More than once. Just know that going in. It's that good.