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A Reading Vocation

"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton

This is where I chronicle my reading life.  I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.


Book 72/100: Do I Want To Be a Mom - A Woman's Guide to the Decision of a Lifetime by Diana Dell and Suzan Erem

Do I Want to Be A Mom?: A Woman's Guide to the Decision of a Lifetime - Diana Dell, Suzan Erem

In my ongoing quest to wrap my head around the idea of parenthood, I keep hoping for that one book that will give me all the answers. This is not that book.


The description makes it look like it will be a treasure trove for women considering the titular question: Do I Want to Be a Mom? It promises to cover questions like, "How will children affect my career/finances/sex life/relationship/etc." It is very comprehensive in terms of the questions it covers, but this "breadth rather than depth" approach ultimately leads to a disappointing read in which very complex, nuanced issues get only a one or two-page treatment. What space the responses do get is mainly just quotes from women interviewed about their experiences, some of which seem tangential to the actual question. While I love the collective wisdom of women as much as the next feminist, this book did not give me the type of solid information such questions warrant. Research exists on many of these questions (I know because I've come across it in other books), and yet the book hardly ever offers any of it. At the very least, I feel that many of the questions should have further reading resources appended -- whole books are written about balancing your relationship with your spouse with adding a child to the family, or choosing to remain child-free, or pursuing a career with children. But rather than offer these resources to women who desire to know more about a topic than this book's "skim-the-surface" approach, there is a generic "resources" section at the back that doesn't tie the resources to specific questions in the book.


Finally, the book seemed to be written with a slight bias toward the choice to remain child-free. Both the authors leaned in this direction; although one of the women was a mother, she found it to be a poor fit and so doesn't live with or actively "mother" her own child. So as far as editorial voice is concerned, there is no perspective from a woman who fully embraces motherhood, which seems an important point of view to include.

The book seems to be written for women who like the idea of motherhood but need a reality check that it's not all giggles and snuggles. For women who have already given the issue some serious thought, this volume has very little to offer.