And Now We Have Everything

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 10 Jul 2018

Member Reviews

I feel like this is not a book for non-Moms, honestly. I don't think I really GOT it. It's obviously beautifully written, and this woman is POURING her heart out onto the page, but shrug, you know?

I feel like I want to recommend this to all new moms especially, but all moms will probably get it more than I did.
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The best recommendation I can give this is that I immediately wanted to share it with all of my female friends who are mothers and say, "OH my gosh, is this what it's really like? It SEEMS like this might be what it's really like." In other words, it does a great job of communicating the horrifying, amazing, complicated mess of what I imagine motherhood to be, with beautiful writing and an impressive lack of self-flattery.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
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I'm not sure anyone is ever ready..... but I really enjoyed Meaghan O'Connell's journey to motherhood. Be warned that she is fixated on anything that might possibly go wrong, and google is not always a friend!  If you're looking for a book that is written conversationally rather than clinically, this might be a good companion to What To Expect While You're Expecting.   I found some of the musings a bit whiny, but hey, she is creating a human, perhaps she is entitled to whine.  So, though your journey might be different, you can always enjoy someone elses's perspective.
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And Now We Have Everything is everything no one tells you about pregnancy, childbirth and caring for a baby. An unflinchingly honest experience, told with humour and humility. I enjoyed this book but didn’t totally love it.
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This is a raw and unapologetic memoir about the author’s experience becoming a mother. It was a refreshingly honest account that did not shy away from the pain, inconveniences and overwhelming experiences that are part and parcel of the journey.

The memoir starts in New York when the author was a late-20s hopeful writer, and within pages we are swept up in finding out that she is unexpectedly pregnant. I really enjoyed the honesty and humanity that leapt off the page and instantly made the author’s experience relatable (even to me as a non-mother). So many memoirs of motherhood exclude women who have not experienced the journey first-hand, so I particularly appreciated how inclusive this one felt.

This was also a fascinating parallel to read following my recent read of Jessie Greengrass’s ‘Sight’ – a literary fiction reflecting on motherhood and perceptions of one’s body. Where ‘Sight’ contemplates motherhood in a very introspective manner, O’Connell’s memoir  exposes its gritty reality, and labours the need to give women the autonomy they deserve during motherhood (rather than treating women like delicate little flowers). Later in the memoir she recalls a writer that she drew from during her own pregnancy and how she set up this utopian image of the perfect birth and it’s attainability for all women. Months after giving birth to her son, O’Connell is listening to this writer interviewed on a podcast and breaks down when she admits that it isn’t all sunshine and roses, and that if we told women it was a painful awful experience no one would want to go through it. In many ways I feel like this memoir is the book that O’Connell was looking for to guide her own experience of motherhood as she embarked upon it.

What is so effective about O’Connell’s book is that she does share so much of this pain, and I think her experience arms and empowers other women with more realistic expectations than are sometimes proffered by social media and other books on the experience.

This was a short but compelling read, and I greatly appreciated O’Connell’s humor and candor sharing such intimate moments.

Thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown & Company for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Really quite a touching and hilarious memoir. 

My full review appears unsigned on the editors' picks page of a major bookseller.
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Ever since I became a mama--before I too was ready--I've been a sucker for books on motherhood. I'll take anything that oozes honesty and candor, so this book didn't disappoint--O'Connell keeps it real. Some might find this book a bit banal or self indulgent, but I'd venture to say other mamas will nod their heads in recognition, taking comfort in that feeling of being understood.
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This is the book on motherhood that I've been waiting for.  I can't count the number of times while reading that  I thought "Wow, I thought I was the only one that thought that / felt that way".  Refreshingly candid about pregnancy, birth, and the early days of motherhood, And Now We Have Everything spoke deeply to me.  There were parts where I was laughing so hard I was crying, times when I was gently weeping as I remembered, and moments where I just felt so thankful that this was written proof that I was not alone in my experiences, both good and bad.  Thank you for writing such a special book, Meaghan O'Connell.
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As a 20-something who's confident that children are somewhere in my future, and has done more than my fair share of research into what all that includes, I found this book profoundly refreshing. Most of the stories I've heard of pregnancy, birth, and motherhood are positive with the negative bits glossed over, then sandwiched with something else good, as if to make you forget that not-so-good comment on x; but O'Connell does not hold back, and I love it. She tells the things I may not want to hear, but desperately need to hear.
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In her first memoir, Meaghan O’Connell lays bare the raw realness of motherhood, describing the intimate details of her struggle to fit into the mold of the perfect mother that society demands. She conveys her experience of unplanned pregnancy in her 20s and the ensuing physical and psychological shift that affects every aspect of her life, from her relationships to her career as a writer. O’Connell pinpoints the challenges of motherhood that aren’t typically shared or socially accepted, demanding that they be validated. Her story is one which women at any stage of life can read and encounter the familiar sense of fear, exhaustion, love, and strength that characterize the female experience.
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Online, our friends are famous to other friends: one girlfriend’s caption wit crowned her my “funniest” friend, so much that when she became engaged, strangers cheered her. O’Connell has that appeal, frankness you know second or third-hand but follow assiduously.

This book is strongest in its first person, when O’Connell doesn’t speak for third-wave, dot-com kin, but for herself. Pregnancy, she says, confers a disorienting authority. After a lifetime of being doubted in girlhood, only as a mom-to-be do strangers and relatives ask after her well-being and wait seriously on her orders. Her best lines are all spilled secrets (anesthesiologists are the only doctors who look like TV doctors), and her candor, masquerading as gossip, does justice to the girl O’Connell begins as, and the mom she’s grown into.
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Alarmingly good. Meaghan O'Connell makes the wild ride of pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and forging a new identity as a parent very accessible. Funny, bleak, incredibly honest. I feel like And Now We Have Everything gave me a small sense of what friends/family wrestle with in new parenthood, and I think it will help me ask them better questions. Would recommend strongly to anyone, regardless of their current family status or future plans. The subtitle makes it a bit harder to give as a gift to new parents, unfortunately, but I will be doing so in any case, with the caveat that it's just a good read!
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I read this book in one sitting on the night of my daughter's second birthday. There were so many parts where I had to stop and take a minute because I had had the EXACT same thoughts going through my head during pregnancy, the EXACT same anxiety and stress during childbirth, it was truly uncanny - added to the fact that it takes place in the same Brooklyn neighborhood I experienced pregnancy/parenthood, I felt deeply connected to this story and am setting out to recommend it to all my mom friends.  I was a little apprehensive going into this book because of the "motherhood before I was ready" subtitle - I didn't know about reading too much about not wanting a pregnancy when my pregnancy was desperately wanted, but it is such a universal book that speaks to the way the journey to motherhood can be full of anxiety even when you think you ARE ready going into it.  In short - this was so, so, so good and I am so thankful for having the opportunity to read it.
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As someone who doesn't plan to have kids I usually don't like reading about this sort of topic, so I am surprised by how engrossing this was and how much I related to the author. It's frank and has just the right touch of cynicism. Loved it!
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4.5 stars.  This short memoir covers the author's pregnancy and the first year of her son's life.  Detailing every feeling, shortcoming and fear, this book examines expectations of that time versus reality.  As a mother of three, I don't think I have ever read a book that just nails the first time experience of pregnancy, child birth and newborn life.  There were so many times in this book that brought be back to those days and my very own insecurities and frustrations.  I highly recommend this book to mothers of all stages.  I received a digital ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This was such an enjoyable reading experience. I laughed, I remembered, I nodded along with some of the author's experiences and cringed at others. I suppose this is like the evil (and totally honest) twin to What to Expect When You're Expecting.

O'Connell doesn't waste time with the bullshit. I have no idea if this book will have the same effect on those who haven't had a baby, or men, but it was so great to read a book that gets in to all the funny miserable gory details of pregnancy and early motherhood. The author's style is frank, witty and engaging as she navigates through the self-doubt and insecurities while pregnant, the birth and recovery period, and trying to hold her relationship together whilst breastfeeding and depressed.

There's so many books painting birth and motherhood as a beautiful, uplifting experience. So many mommy bloggers on Pinterest bossing life with their mason jar salads, labelled containers of everything from flour to quinoa to chia seed (seriously, wtf?), and their freezers full of expressed breast milk. I don't know about you, but this is not my reality.

And Now We Have Everything definitely makes you want to share your own experiences. I totally get feeling like you'll never be good enough. I get waking up obsessively and squinting at your baby to see if he's still breathing, convinced that he isn't. I get spending months feeling like a lactating pair of breasts and not a human being. Breasts have been sexualized in the society I live in, but there's no cure for this sexualization quite like the pain and messiness of breastfeeding. I am so over breasts.

And, hell, there is so much pressure! Especially in the U.S. (or California, at least). Growing up, many of the women I knew formula-fed their babies. My siblings and I were all formula-fed. This is mostly because our mothers couldn't afford to not go back to work and milking humans with a machine wasn't a thing.

But for me, in Southern California, nobody asked me what I wanted to do. It was just accepted that I would breastfeed unless - gasp - I was unable to. When my second baby had trouble latching in the first few days, we had to supplement with formula, and the nurse looked at me gravely and assured me "Please don't worry, you will still be able to breastfeed" and all I was actually worried about was that my baby got some food.

I love that O'Connell dispels myths surrounding childbirth. She paints it not as a beautiful, miraculous experience, but as a painful, gory, unglamorous one. As she notes at one point, people seem reluctant to be honest with women about what an unpleasant experience it can be - as if they're afraid the human race will die out or something - urging them to "embrace the pain and make it part of themselves" or some other crap. Yeah, maybe that works for some women, but there are many who feel like failures when it doesn't.

Most of all I just love how this book forgives us-- for being unable to breastfeed, for saying "f--- you" to a natural birth, for crying despairingly while listening to Alison Krauss sing Baby Mine (shut up), for spending a year looking like shit, for being crazy, for not being perfect. I think every new mother needs it.
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Insights into pregnancy, birth and motherhood from a millennial mother.
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Meaghan O'Connell has written a raw real look at motherhood from the moment she discovers she is pregnant a shock to her& her fiancée.She shares it all the pregnancy brining the reader in to the delivery room& the shock of bringing the baby home parenthood in all it's reality .
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I should not have loved this book. In fact, I should not have even wanted to read this book. I am a single woman who has distinctly chosen to remain childless, and finds pregnancy to be more horrifying that magical. So this book should have been a solid NO from me. But at the end of last year the book went out to some book bloggers who were posting pics from inside the book on social media and I was intrigued by the small excerpts and O'Connell's writing. So I decided to give it a try but even then, I was surprised by how much I loved it.

All of this is to say that O'Connell's writing is superb and does a great job of expressing the horrors and joys of motherhood. She talks about doubts and certainties and the ways that miscommunication can cause problems with a partner. She's snarky and genuine about everything, which makes even the messy, necessary world of childbirth (and child raising and childbearing) seem to be a better thing to read about.
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