The Motherhood Affidavits
by Laura Jean Baker
Pub Date 03 Apr 2018
A prodigious talent blazes onto the American literary scene with this bold, original memoir of her perilous—yet life-saving—addiction to childbearing
With the birth of her first child, Laura Jean Baker found herself electrified by oxytocin, the “love drug”—the first effective antidote to her lifelong depression. Again and again over the next eight years, Baker finds herself craving the intense highs of childbearing—cravings that, she realizes, align her much more closely with her public defender husband’s desperate, drug-addled clients than with their middle-class peers. As Ryan’s roster of defendants increases, so too does their family—nearly to the point of collapse.
Brilliantly crafted, impeccably written, intensely personal, The Motherhood Affidavits portrays a woman, a marriage, a family, caught in an impossible bind. Its heartbreaking resolution raises profound questions about whether we, as a society, are governed by morals or by laws—and whether either is an adequate measure of any one person’s ability to parent and capacity for love.
“Laura Jean Baker has written a beautiful and brave memoir of motherhood and its discontents, which are indistinguishable from its joys. This is a warmly intimate yet intellectually provocative personal document of originality and considerable charm.”—Joyce Carol Oates