Elisa Albert strips all the posturing and candy coating off motherhood. Her novel After Birth is the punk rock gospel of being a mom – the fuck you to everybody who wants to hear a chirpy ‘everything is fine!’ after a woman gives birth.
Everything is not fine. Early motherhood (in particular) is messy and leaky and cranky. It is unbearable loneliness complemented by sleep deprivation, It is also full of so much love that your heart actually does burst inside the cavity of your body.
After Birth talks about how motherhood actually feels. What I found astounding is that Elisa Albert wrote a book about a time when in my journal I have scribbles like: rt side, nursed x 12 mins. 2 BMs. 40 min nap. bananas, oj, milk. What do I recall about early motherhood? Nearly nothing. One kid couldn’t latch on and I endured excruciating pain every time he chomped down on me. Another baby never slept and nursed all night long. And yet another one sent me into deep grief with the diagnosis of his disability. And yet I loved (love) these children with every cell in my body. Eventually I came out of these dark places. BUT THIS IS ALL I CAN REMEMBER.
Captured in the fading passages of Elisa Albert’s testament to motherhood is this:
So whose gonna write about it if everybody doing it is lost forever within it?
After Birth somehow transcends this sleep-deprived, life-changing, nipple-chomping memory loss. Send it as a gift to every new mom you know. Let them know they are not alone.