Review: Growing Up Pregnant

It’s no secret that we love pretty much anything published by Pinter & Martin here at TFTMS. They’re (partly) responsible for bringing us The Positive Birth Book, which Jo reviewed back in the summer, as well as The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding – the La Leche League book that contains everything you could ever wish to know on the topic – and Breastfeeding Uncovered, by Dr Amy Brown, who we were lucky enough to interview for World Breastfeeding Week 2017.

We’re delighted that they asked us to read and review one of their new titles: Growing Up Pregnant by Deirdre Curley. (As always, we promise that this review is honest, and we are not being paid for our time.)

Initially, I wasn’t sure I’d identify with Curley’s story. She found herself pregnant unexpectedly when she was 19, with a fledgling career as an actress and a fairly hedonistic lifestyle. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Aside from her age, her story will resonate with every mum to be. The feeling of losing your identity, the changes to your body, and the internal questions like: Am I ready for this? Will I be a good mother? WHAT HAVE WE GONE AND DONE? This lovely little memoir tackles it all, and then some.

This is a far cry from the self-indulgent, glossy or preachy accounts of pregnancy that new mothers are often faced with. Curley holds nothing back. Her tone is friendly and often funny; the information she shares is candid and, with a summary of what to expect from each trimester and in the few months postpartum, useful too. Despite the shock of her pregnancy and the uncertainty she faced, one doesn’t feel sorry for her, and she doesn’t want our sympathy. It feels more like we’re on a rollercoaster with her and, even during the hairy moments, we don’t want to get off. We understand her, and she, us.

I was further enamoured by the fact that there is no preoccupation with the material things associated with pregnancy. No obsessing over buggies, clothes or nursery decor, or spending a fortune on gimmicks. Aside from a helpful list of ‘essentials’, Curley runs with the idea that, if you can give your baby food, love, warmth and security, you won’t go far wrong.

In addition to being a fantastic resource for parents-to-be, Growing Up Pregnant is also a wonderful account of Curley’s youth – that time when you believe just about anything is possible – and her nine month transformation into a mother. Most touchingly of all, she weaves in anecdotes about her beloved uncle, who passed away mere weeks before her baby arrived. Again, her tone is never maudlin or mawkish, but she does lay her emotions from that time bare. It is this constant sense of honesty and good humour that makes her words so readable and relatable.

You’ll finish this book with a sense of, ‘If Deirdre can do it, so can I’! For young mums? Yes. For those who’ve lost someone beloved? Absolutely. But, actually, I defy any mother not to find something to identify with here. Curley’s down-to-earth tone, the short chapters (so easy to dip in and out of!) and her parting words – You’re not just a mum, you’re you – and you are very important – are like a warm embrace at a time when everything feels a little uncertain.

Get your copy here – currently reduced to just £6.00 with free P&P.

Jo, The Mother Side x

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