When I was pregnant, I noticed a funny phenomenon…

Some other mothers, even those who were trying to be nice, would often regale me with “horror” stories about parenthood—from saggy boobs to sleepless nights to temper tantrums. They were probably just trying to be amusing. But I was like, um, dude, did you not notice my giant belly?


After hearing one too many of these stories, I did what any mature 31-year-old would do. I called my mom.

“Will you please tell me some of the good things about becoming a mother?” I asked her, my chin wobbling. “Some of the lovely little moments?”

Happily, she launched into a reverie about how sweet newborn babies are and how you experience beautiful everyday moments with your child that people don’t often talk about and how her three children are the joys of her life…

Then she gave me an amazing book: Great with Child by Beth Ann Fennelly. After learning that her friend was expecting a baby, Beth Ann decided to write her friend a letter every day of her pregnancy. She published the letters — all about motherhood, marriage and life in general — in this book, and they’re warm, wise and absolutely wonderful.

Since Beth Ann is a poet, her writing is often lyrical. One of my favorite lines: “Has your belly button popped out? Ah, the pregnant belly button: the knot of an overblown balloon, its puckered mouth holding back too much air, the cheeks stretched thin with the effort.”

Reading Great with Child renewed my HUGE excitement for Toby’s arrival. I was so grateful for this funny, lovely book about motherhood — it calmed my nerves during my pregnancy, at a moment when I really needed reassurance. It reminded me that motherhood is beautiful and wonderful (which it really is!). I’d highly recommend the book to all pregnant women (especially fellow worriers) — it’s basically a 220-page pep talk!

I’m curious: Which books did you read when you were pregnant? I’d love to hear your recommendations. And did you feel like other moms told horror stories, or were people more ginger around you? xoxo

P.S. Belly shots and pregnancy hair and my mom when she was pregnant in Paris.