YOU MAKE ME FEEL LIKE AN UNNATURAL WOMAN: Diary of a New (Older) Mother

Judith Newman, Author . Miramax $23.95 (306p) ISBN 978-1-4013-5189-2

"Geezers with children," Ladies Home Journal columnist Newman calls herself and her husband, "whose cumulative age exceeds one hundred." Being older may have complicated Newman's attempts to get pregnant—it took seven years and plenty of technology—but it also may have relaxed some inhibitions. Other women may joke about fertility treatments ruining their sex lives' spontaneity, but few would describe their husbands gazing at them "with about the same degree of pleasure as Sisyphus looks at a rock"—which he immediately denies, making her feel even worse because now "I'm making my husband fake it." After a hilariously nauseous pregnancy, culminating in the birth of twin boys, Newman looks at them and thinks, "I wonder if they'd look less like space aliens if I penciled in their eyebrows." Breastfeeding? She knows it's good for the immune system, but "for that I have the dog. I figure that having a golden retriever lick your head every day must have immune-system-enhancing qualities." Apart from the irreverence, Newman's older mom status allows her to take a more critical perspective on parenting. Watching herself get sucked into anxious observation of her boys' motor skills, she wonders where "this wild obsession with developmental milestones" comes from. She realizes parenting has turned her into a homebody, which is fine, because just "[l]iving, in the sense of breathing and functioning, becomes way more important than having a life." While humorless and/or politically correct readers may bristle at Newman's antics, everyone else will be rolling in the aisles, reading out funny parts to perfect strangers. Agent, Mark Reiter. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/23/2004
Release date: 04/01/2004
Hardcover - 368 pages - 978-0-7862-6813-9
Paperback - 306 pages - 978-1-4013-5963-8
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