When twenty something writer Meaghan O'Connell got accidentally pregnant in her twenties and decided to keep the baby, she realized that the book she needed—an honest, agenda-free reckoning with the emotional and existential impact of motherhood—didn't exist. So she decided to write it herself.
I didn't realize how little I knew about it [childbirth] until I read Meaghan O'Connell's wry, brutal And Now We Have Everything ... The memoir industry runs increasingly on the unique, the superhuman, and the grotesque. People climb mountains, escape kidnappers, visit heaven and report back. But And Now We Have Everything shows how the most normal thing in the world — having an ordinary, healthy baby after an ordinary, healthy pregnancy — means being visited with all possible extremes of pain, fear, and love. O'Connell renders this normal and horrific experience real, in both emotional sweep and brutal particulars.
O’Connell addresses that fear, and many more, with the kind of clear-eyed wit that you can only hope that your more experienced friend will possess ... There is a very particular sort of mania in being pregnant, one that either thrums beneath the surface or rushes screaming to the fore, and it’s this maddening dichotomy that O’Connell distills onto the page with such attention and care ... In a world increasingly littered with half-conceived stories that purport to offer a peek into the process, O’Connell’s charmingly neurotic, confessional ruminations feel justifiable in their untidiness, their emotional grit ... And Now We Have Everything stretches beyond the well-worn narrative grooves of the delivery room, although O’Connell’s keen observational acuity throughout those pivotal scenes is nothing short of a blessing.
O’Connell’s straightforward admissions made me anxious at times, but I was also incredibly grateful to her for putting them on paper. My own fears about being the best version of myself, kids or not, were alleviated through reading about another person’s struggles with the same issues—and with the guts to admit how inadequate and alone she felt. Her direct, punchy writing style...translates well to a book-length format, where she has room to explore all avenues of a thought or an anecdote before concluding with a startling clarity ... Her book is a welcome approach to both confessional writing and writing about motherhood ... she names the messy feelings that so often shame us into hiding and in doing so, gives herself, and anyone who can relate, a bit of room to breathe.