Chaya Kasse Valier’s Second Labor is a wonderful compilation of true post-birth stories detailing what life is really like after baby comes: the joys, challenges, and sometimes-harrowing reality that can knock new and even seasoned parents off their feet.
In this deeply emotional, raw book, Valier gives voice to 24 mothers, each relaying in first-person their stories—circumstances as unique as their newborns. From a 16-year-old mom learning to let go of her freedom to the barren mother’s anxious thoughts as she waits to adopt, Valier remains respectfully silent, letting each story authentically unfold. She explains that she opted “to have each mother speak for herself [because] people are experts in their own experiences.” The variety of situations Valier includes coupled with the mothers’ transparent, courageous writings yields a new literary experience of celebrating not only the profound bliss of welcoming baby, but the intense struggle of it as well.
Soon-to-be parents will find truth stripped bare of all softening bumpers that would shield them from “the daunting scenario that’s in store.” Within these pages, mothers freely admit they felt annoyed, even angry, with their newborn, and that they struggled to bond, nurse, and be “supermom.” Depending on the reader’s experience, fair warning or healing will resonate through each story. For example, Rachel’s admission that post-partum depression drove her to “throw pots full of soup and break them, then sit down in the mess” may shock some readers. However, countless mothers who have been down that dark road will find comfort knowing they are not alone.
Valier’s work is commendable in that it exposes the dire need for a strong support system of friends, family and medical professionals for the parents of a newborn. Second Labor is a must-read for any pregnant family, while mothers of any age will find it a joyously reminiscent experience.
Also available as an ebook.