Thursday, May 29, 2008

Expecting Adam

I received Expecting Adam by Martha Beck as a gift when I was about 14 weeks pregnant with my daughter. That's the time when one is tested for possible genetic abnormalities like Down Syndrome. Expecting Adam is Beck's memoir of her difficult pregnancy with Adam, her son who has Down Syndrome.

As some one who has suffered through two miscarriages for unknown reasons, I completely understand Beck's decision to continue with her pregnancy even though her son would require extra help at school and would be at risk for heart problems. I would have done the same with either of my children too. Like Beck, I would have used remaining time in my pregnancy to learn as much as I possibly could about my child's condition.

Beck's memoir covers the time just before her second pregnancy, through her pregnancy and shortly after the delivery. She also bounces forward and backward in her life to show what life was like before Adam and what it's like with him. He is bookended by his two sisters.

On top of the stress of a difficult pregnancy (Beck's descriptions of her morning sickness makes mine seem like a cake walk!) she also had the stress of being a graduate student at Harvard and having a husband who was constantly traveling as part of his research. Although I'm not a graduate student, my husband has been through both pregnancies and he had to do a lot of traveling when I was pregnant with our son.

I usually shy away from parenting memoirs but I really enjoyed this one. I felt a connection to Beck and when I was done with the book I immediately called my mother to tell her about it. In fact I'm mailing the book to her next week.

The book does have a few flaws. The writing is rough in places and sometimes in need of clearer segues. Nonetheless, it's one of the best books I've read this year.

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