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Motherhood Galore!

7 New Books Stake Out the Scene

1.  Overcoming InfertilityA Guide for Jewish Couples by Richard V. Grazi (Toby Press, $29.95) looks at advances in both medical techniques and Jewish law. It’s a reference book aiming to provide hope and guidance to observant Jewish couples in need of medical intervention to become parents.

2. The Middle of Everything: Memoirs of Motherhood, by Michelle Herman (University of Nebraska Press, $25), interweaves growing up in Brooklyn in the cloud of her own mother’s depression with Herman’s struggle to break her mother’s mold and become the “perfect” mother herself

3. The Truth Behind the Mommy Wars: Who Decides What Makes a Good Mother? by Miriam Peskowitz (Seal Press, $15.95) will be familiar to Lilith readers who had a preview in an article called “Playground Revolution” [Summer 2004]. Peskowitz examines the collision between work and mothering, and reveals that there may not really be a war at all, but rather structural issues in sociaty that need redress.

4. For Generations: Jewish Motherhood, edited by Mandy Ross and Ronne Randall (www.FiveLeaves.co.uk), is a collection of poems, quotes and stories, religious and secular, from the Diaspora to Israel. 

5. The Dream of the Perfect Child, by Joan Rothschild (Indiana University Press, $24.95) shows how the drive for human perfection masks a darker motivation to eliminate everything that doesn’t meet our heightened standards. Rothschild critiques genetic and prenatal testing, and quotes from feminist and medical ethics, as well as from pregnant women and people with disabilities.

6. How She Really Does It: the Secrets of Success From Stay-at-Work Moms (Da Capo Press, $19.95). Wendy Sachs interviews a diverse batch of mothers working, as the saying goes, outside the home to figure out how and why they manage to remain sane and happy. The book is billed as “a modern working woman’s handbook.” 

7. Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety, by Judith Warner (Riverhead Books, $23.95), explores why many mothers still spend so much time suppressing feelings of guilt, anxiety and regret. Warner analyzes magazines and television shows to demonstrate our “me-first” cultural assumptions and the forces that have shaped them.