I didn’t expect to love the book Making Babies: Stumbling into Motherhood, by Anne Enright. The silly, cutesy title and cover photo inclined me to shrug my shoulders and hide what I was reading in public. And the first essay was a strange, confusing thing that I still haven’t untangled. Luckily, I didn’t start with the first essay. I started with the introduction. And in the introduction, Anne Enright won me over. She says, about women who write about motherhood, “It is the way they are both smug and astonished. It is the way we think we have done something amazing, when we have done no more than most other people on the planet – except we, in our over-educated way, have to brag about it.” I could relate to that, and oh, I wanted to read more.
Truly, I can’t understand how children – and motherhood and having babies and those babies growing up into people – can be so sacred and so mundane. It’s a miracle, but it happens every day? It’s a unique experience, but anyone can do it? Enright’s prose rides the line between these divergent sentiments gracefully. In a few paragraphs, she will raise you in awe and then leave off with an abrupt statement about poop. Or she’ll replay an absurdist conversation with her two-year-old daughter, and then reminisce looking into Daughter’s baby eyes and seeing the shape of her soul.
Making Babies is fresh and joyful. It’s funny. As the Sunday Times praises on the back jacket, “Enright has pulled off that rarest of tricks: writing brilliantly about happiness.”
Read this if you have recently entered into motherhood or want to, or if you just want to remember those squishy baby times. If you enjoy literary non-fiction, memoirs and babies, or if you have enjoyed Enright’s fiction, you might like this book. If you like sarcastic Irishwomen, or people who wait for their eighteenth wedding anniversary before conceiving, you will like Anne Enright.