This is an essential book not only for anyone considering parenthood, but anyone searching for the truth.

- photographer Amy Arbus

4O portraits that are as honest as they are beautiful.

-The Huffington Post

A fresh, eye-opening, firsthand manifestation of motherhood’s contemporary realities.”

-Gloria Steinem

Truly, of all the books on this list, this is the one I’m buying my friends.

-The New York Times

WINNER OF TWO INTERNATIONAL BOOK AWARDS, MOMMA LOVE IS A POWERFUL, POIGNANT, HILARIOUS, RAW LOOK AT MODERN MOTHERHOOD THROUGH PORTRAITS OF AND VERY PERSONAL STORIES FROM DOZENS OF WOMEN AND THEIR CHILDREN. MOMMA LOVE IS NOT ONLY ABOUT THE LOVE A MOTHER SHOWS. IT'S ABOUT THE LOVE SHE IS SHOWN, BY HERSELF AND THE WORLD AROUND HER.

 
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THERE ARE VARIOUS ASPECTS TO THE IDEA OF “WANTING YOUR BODY BACK” AFTER BIRTH. There’s the wanting to get back to your original shape and fitness. But there are other bits to the “wanting your body back” question, too. First, you’re aware throughout pregnancy of this weird thing growing inside you. Not just growing inside you and feeding off you, but actually controlling your body. The placenta takes over your hormones and makes your body behave in certain ways, producing more blood, making your heart, liver, kidneys, and digestion work much better, shrinking your brain, making you breathless or exhausted for no reason, and generally making you lose control.

In the case of the health profession, they poke and prod and stitch and cut, and from the word go you are just an object, your body just a machine that they have to make sure is working in the right way. Then, of course, if you have a hospital birth, you are entirely in their hands. Using a birthing pool was my attempt to regain a bit of control by creating a private, watery space that others, including my partner and the midwife, could only reach into, but that was really mine.

READ MORE OF HANNAH’S STORY IN MOMMA LOVE


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I THINK, CHILD OR NO CHILD, HOLLYWOOD KNOWS I AM OF “MOM AGE,” and as an actor, I’ve been in the mom category for some time now. It emphasizes the continued importance of choosing roles wisely. But I also believe I would do that if I weren’t a mom in real life. 

When I first had Georgia, my publicist and agent recommended I stay away from talking too much about motherhood in any interviews. At first I was offended, but later I realized they were only protecting me from some uglier side of the world that they know about. I did actively decide I wouldn’t hide this monumental event in my life, though, and did talk about Georgia in the press when asked—but only as much as I would share with any stranger. I didn’t feel the need to share her birth story or poop habits, but there was no way I wouldn’t acknowledge her arrival.

READ MORE OF AMY’S STORY IN MOMMA LOVE


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BOTH DIAGNOSES CHANGED MY LIFE. It took about a year after (my) diagnosis (of MS) to readjust to life, and then it took six months or so till we got pregnant. It was only then that I started to worry. Everyone else was getting excited and buying baby stuff, but I remained wary, always aware of the possibility of problems, maybe because I was a little bit older, maybe because I’d already been blindsided once, by my own disease. At eighteen weeks, the amnio came back showing a diagnosis of Down syndrome. We had addressed it as a possibility, talked about it a ton, the whole time we were waiting for the test results, and we knew that should this happen, we were go-ing to terminate the pregnancy. We were both really on board with that, but it was still one of the most difficult, saddest things I have ever done.

READ MORE OF BROOKE'S STORY IN MOMMA LOVE


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I HAVE FIVE BIOLOGICAL CHILDREN AND ONE STEP-DAUGHTER WHO I LOVE AS THOUGH SHE WERE MY OWN. It’s hard for me to understand stepparents who have issues or drama with the biological parent.  I know some ex-partners aren’t going to be your best friend, but you have to put your crap aside for the sake of your kid.

READ MORE OF LINDSEY'S STORY IN MOMMA LOVE


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 I THINK THAT PARENT-CHILD BONDING CAN HAPPEN IN A LOT OF DIFFERENT WAYS, AND TO SAY THAT IT’S INSTANTANEOUS FOR A  WOMEN IS A LIE. I was adopted at eight weeks and have these amazing parents that I’m so much a product of. I’m a huge proponent of adoption and think a lot of people get it in their heads that you can never really bond with a child if he or she is adopted…at least not the way you would bond with your biological child. 

You don’t need to resemble your family to feel like you belong, but I think that many adopted children often feel a strong urge to clone themselves in order to experience a familial resemblance. I fantasized that I’d have this brown-skinned, curly-haired girl as my daughter—a “mini-me.” It’s a strange impulse that I think drives many people to have children. But Sadie has really fair skin and doesn’t actually look much like either of us. 

 

READ MORE OF TRAE'S STORY IN MOMMA LOVE


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I AM THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN ADOPTIVE MOM OF TWO SONS— ONE CAUCASIAN AND THE OTHER AFRICAN AMERICAN. I AM TRYING TO RAISE THEM EQUALLY IN A WORLD FULL OF INEQUALITY. Nathaniel, who is white, came to me when he was a little over a year old. I was living in Maine and it was assumed he was going to return home to his mom, until she asked me to adopt him out of the blue. It was never in the plan, and at first I declined because I didn’t think she’d given it enough thought. But after speaking with her numerous times, I believed her when she said that she’d rather be a teenager and know that he was okay rather than have to struggle to take care of a baby. He has no recollection of her, so there is no suffering from rejection yet, though I’m sure that will happen eventually.

 

READ MORE OF PATRINA'S STORY IN MOMMA LOVE