The blurb on the back of the book sets the scene : "What happens when you take a spiritually enlightened girl, add a rock 'n' roll boy and a pinch of magic in the form of Poppyseed? The answer is a soulfully honest, humorous and insightful glimpse at the author's journey to becoming a mummy."
As a mum of three, if there's one thing I can tell you, it's that no two pregnancies are the same. I therefore came to the book intrigued to see how the author would describe her experience of pregnancy and giving birth, but knowing that she wouldn't have all the answers or the definitive guide to pregnancy.
In the early chapters, the writing style irked me slightly. I have nothing against Brits and I have nothing against Americans but there is something about Brits pretending to be Americans (or vice versa, although that happens rarely !) that slightly annoys me because it seems pretentious. Seeing the text switch from mummy to momma left me feeling a bit wrong-footed and wondering who the author really is or where she comes from. A few chapters later, the mystery was lifted though, as it became clear that, while she lives in the UK, Alice Grist does have American family. If this had been explained right from the start or in the author profile at the back of the book, it would have avoided a few eyerolls from me as I read the early pages !
Similarly, I couldn't help but think that she was being a bit holier-than-thou in her wholehearted and idealistic promotion of the perfect birth - a calm, pain-free, relaxing birth with hypno-birthing, a water birth and no pain relief or stress. Part of me wanted to scoff "yeah, right" ! Just like the breast-or-bottle debate, I don't think there is a right way to give birth - every person is different, each birth is different and nobody's decision to use pain relief or a medicalised birth should be criticised or made to feel wrong or weak.
However, as the book progresses, Alice Grist does realise this for herself and she has to backtrack on some of her ideals, accepting compromises to do the best for her baby. I think this is a great message to send to mums-to-be or maybe even women who have already given birth and who are feeling bad about not having had their perfect birth. (I have friends who, several years on, still feel cheated and even inexplicably guilty for having been forced into a C-section by unforeseeable circumstances.) It made me feel warm and fuzzy towards Alice Grist and turns this into a book that will appeal to all mums and mums-to-be, whatever their birth plan and expectations may be.
star rating : 4/5
RRP : £12.99
Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.
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