When I started this project, I was going to write what I
called the comprehensive guide for the new mother. The
book was going to cover all topics relating to motherhood:
pregnancy, labor and delivery, recovery, and surviving being
at home. I began writing this book when my firstborn son was a
baby. That was fourteen years ago. At that time I had looked for a
manual to help prepare me for motherhood and all that it entails. I
couldn’t find it. Of course, these days there are thousands of books
available on the subject.
As I wrote mine, I tended to spend more time on some topics
than on others. It turned out that I wasn’t interested in writing the
comprehensive guide after all. I felt that I had some great tips for
being in the hospital and tips for labor and delivery, but I seemed
to spend more time on what happens after you have a baby. As I
wrote more, I tended to write about the “motherhood experience,”
and specifically as it relates to women of my generation.
I do not presume to speak for all women. We each have different
thoughts and feelings regarding this experience we call motherhood.
The fact remains, though, that much about caring for babies
has not changed. Taking care of a baby these days is not very different
from taking care of one years ago. Taking care of school-aged
children is another matter; that is very different. The women of my
generation needed solutions — and I realized that I wanted at least
some of those solutions to come from the women who’ve successfully
done this before us.
The “baby” topics I’ve covered are the ones that seem most
essential to me: scheduling, getting the baby to sleep through the
night, and dealing with the negative feelings about mothering that
so few people talk about. The other baby-related discussion topics
are all the nitty-gritty practical tips for the hospital and making it
through those first few months. These are all the tips I
wished I’d been fully equipped with before I ever made my first
trip to a delivery room.
This experience of motherhood can be a lonely one. Women
are afraid to broach many of the subjects on their minds for fear
of being labeled a “bad” mother. Feeding on demand. Negative
feelings about the new baby. Lack of sleep. Naptimes. Housework.
To work or not to work? It can all prove overwhelming.
What women today want the most, I believe, is answers.
This generation of mothers is so busy that they want to know
what works and they are not afraid to try new things. New
mothers want to flourish in their lives. Many may want to continue
in their careers. All certainly want to continue to look and
feel good, and they all want to continue to have good relationships
with their spouses. I felt women needed a few tried and
true tips and some direction to do more than survive this life
stage called motherhood.
In order to uncover these tips, I interviewed hundreds of
women and (some) men from the East Coast to the West Coast.
I asked questions of anyone who would talk to me — friends
and friends of friends, neighbors, family members, my mother,
my mother-in-law, my mother’s friends, women on playgrounds,
and strangers on planes. Their insights as well as my
personal experiences and research are in this book, along with
a dash of humor — because we all know that humor can be that
spoonful of sugar that makes the medicine go down, even if it
is not easy.
Excerpted from IT GETS EASIER!... And Other Lies We Tell New Mothers by Claudine Wolk. Copyright © 2008, 2009 by Claudine Wolk. Published by AMACOM Books, a division of American Management Association, New York, NY. Used with permission. All rights reserved. http://www.amacombooks.org.