Read Bad Mother by Ayelet Waldman and enjoyed it. It was not as inflammatory as I was expecting, especially given the reviews, most of which focus on “Rocketship,” the essay about the author’s decision to end her third pregnancy when a genetic defect is identified. I found the essay, albeit about a controversial decision, carefully thought-out and moving. On the whole I think the collection is less attention-grabbing than its title, less provocative than its reviews. Waldman, in the simplest terms, speaks honestly about the complexities of parenting, about the difficulty of living up to the ideals of motherhood held up by today’s culture.
I’ve been accused before of being overly honest about both my own struggles with motherhood and my children’s particular flaws and pecadillos. I don’t know that I could change this instinct, even if I wanted to, though I recognize there will come a time when the decision to share the stories from Grace and Whit’s lives becomes their own, rather than mine.
A sentence from Waldman’s introduction sums up her philosophy and, dare I say it, my own:
“I believe that mothers should tell the truth, even – no, especially – when the truth is difficult.”
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