The intensity of the "primal, physiological, and social" changes and "spiritual impulses" unleashed by birthing defy easy description. But women need to try sharing these mysterious and sometimes horrifying experiences with each other, and especially with prospective mothers.
"[If I had told you], you wouldn't have had children," one contributor's mother told her. Those who imagine themselves blissfully nursing, framed by the natural light of a window like in the paintings, feel betrayed when they encounter such realities as tender, chapped nipples, and other complications.
"It was a pain nobody, no woman had ever told me about. It was as if I had entered this secret society that really knew the truth, but wouldn't tell until you knew it too," another contributor reports. "I can handle the requisite pain . . . but fear [from not knowing what to expect, this] unnecessary terror and fear: that's not fair."
It is the same for other developments, both physical and emotional, which leave a new mother confused. As a corrective, and as a celebration of motherhood, the contributors to With Child explore the literal and ethereal aspects from conception to the empty nest, from the "sorrow of travail" to the joy of feeling the baby's skin next to one's own. [publisher blurb]