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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Review: Postpartum Euphoria

With every choice we make, we give something up. And for any working mother who has struggled with whether she should stay in her corporate job or shift to being an at-home parent, it's hard to really know the consequences of that choice without giving up the job completely.

Bethany Hiitola, of Mommy Writer, gives us a look into the life of a woman going through a somewhat unintended transition to full-time motherhood in the updated version of her short story called Postpartum Euphoria. It's the story of Leslie Croft, a working mom who is fed up with her mundane job and all that it stands for. From an inappropriate office outburst, her subsequent unpaid leave of absence and mandatory therapy sessions, to her baby steps into the world of playdates and domesticity, Hiitola's character in the book gives readers a chance to make that transition.
Domesticity was my worst nightmare. All I'd ever dreamed of was a successful career and glamorous social life. Instead, what I got was closer to hell, or, at the very least, some form of ancient Chinese torture. All I found myself doing was coordinating outings to Gymboree in the midst of finding the latest must-have cleaning product, all the while being forced to talk to women whose only life's ambitions were to become mothers....

...But it didn't take long to realize that I really didn't fit in -- and I began to wonder if I really wanted to fit in. The mindless chatter I found stultifying. All they did was incessantly gloat about their kids. They didn't really converse. They didn't talk about anything of real substance. It was just "My kid did this. My kid did that." I didn't really know any of them. And how could I know them? They acted as if they never existed independent of their kids.
Sometimes it's hard to step outside of our routines and find out who we are. While Croft's job and career-self was hanging in the wings during her leave of absence, she had time to explore the idea of becoming a permanent at-home parent, without fully letting go of her former, corporate self. I believe there's something empowering about having an option out there, lingering, even if it's not appealing. It's something to compare your current situation to. She was able to explore the other life without fully letting go of the one that she'd know for so many years. By the end of Croft's leave of absence, she knows where she belongs. And her optimism about her decision is encouraging.

Read the full story here.

2 comments:

  1. This is a good analysis and review of the story.

    For me, maternity leave was practice for full-time mommyhood while still having the option to ditch it and return to being a working mom. When I went back to work, I thought that it was the right choice, but after only four months back on the job, I decided to quit for an indefinite amount of time.

    It took me over a year to feel completely comfortable with my SAHM identity.

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  2. Thanks so much Suzanne... you really are a sweety to feature a review of my short story. It really was a wonderful surprise to find after my LONG business trip. I can't thank you enough...

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