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*Why Didn't Anyone Tell Me? True Stories of New Motherhood* by Melanie Bowden

click here for the CUK interview with author Melanie Bowden


Why Didn't Anyone Tell Me? True Stories of New Motherhood
by Melanie Bowden
156 pages Fall 2006 Paperback    

Let me say right off the bat that I have a vested interest in Why Didn’t Anyone Tell Me? True Stories of New Motherhood by Melanie Bowden. It’s not because I contributed an interview to Melanie for her collection of true stories of postpartum challenges new moms face but rarely are told about beforehand. It’s because I myself suffered through many of the issues, fears, challenges, and obstacles this book so honestly explores and exposes to the light of day - and because I swore one day I would help other mothers try to avoid some of that very same suffering.

That is why this book is so important for any new mom or mom-to-be, as well as dads, to have alongside their What to Expect books. Because nobody tells you much about what happens after you have a baby, aside from how to change a diaper or take a temperature, and author Bowden, who is also a postpartum doula and mother of two, offers up a very empowering and insightful book filled with candid stories that can make that transitory time a little easier and less intimidating.

We learn about women who suffered through severe postpartum depression, extreme exhaustion, rough labor and even problems arising from C-section surgeries and breastfeeding, as well as those who experienced the fear and anxiety of not being able to take their babies home from the hospital right away. But this book goes beyond just a bunch of women telling “horror stories,” because all the stories are filled with an underlying strength and even joy. These women are survivors who had little resources going into new motherhood, yet found the needed resources via the help of friends, family, the Internet, support groups, and many times other mothers who had “been there, done that.”

Because so many of today’s parenting books focus on pregnancy, Why Didn’t Anyone Tell Me? breaks new ground by focusing instead on what happens afterwards, when a mom is left to struggle with conflicts ranging from single motherhood, colicky babies, difficult relatives, shaky marriages, and even long held emotional messages that often make mothers feel invisible and powerless. Bowden, and the brave ladies who told it like it is, want to clear the air about motherhood. It’s joy, fear, happiness, excitement, chaos and despair all mixed together. And the more we talk about it, the easier it makes it for new moms to know what is coming, and how they can handle it to the best of their abilities.

Being a first-time mom is hard enough. Books like this make it all that much easier.

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  Marie D. Jones/2006 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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