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Making Babies: Stumbling into Motherhood

3.27 of 5 stars 3.27  ·  rating details  ·  524 ratings  ·  116 reviews
In Making Babies, Enright offers a new kind of memoir: an unapologetic look at the very personal experience of becoming a mother. With a refreshing no-nonsense attitude, Enright opens up about the birth and first two years of her children's lives. Enright was married for eighteen years before she and her husband Martin, a playwright, decided to have children. Already a con ...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published April 2nd 2012 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,536)
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Penni Russon
Maybe you need to read this book on a plane, with your breast exposed for two hours so your sleeping 10 month old baby has somewhere to rest his head between fretful, half waking sips. Maybe you need your other two daughters and your husband to be sitting two seats back, playing a loud game of bingo with a stranger's child they have adopted called Gemma, so you can reflect on how charming they sound when they are not under your jurisdiction. Maybe that vulnerable breast is also your heart, is al ...more
Autumn
After eighteen years of childless marriage, novelist Anne Enright was shocked to find herself pregnant. Being the sharp observer of human behaviour and honest writer that she is, she decided to keep track of her own thoughts and reactions on her pregnancy and the birth of her first (and very quickly, second) child. The result is a very clear eyed, rational, and terribly funny memoir of a woman who is surprised by life, fiercely in love with her kids, but very honest all the while

I absolutely lov
...more
Gail
You know that friend who always makes you ask the journalistic Five W's? Like, where in the world did you find her? What just came out of her mouth? Who actually says that? When will she lighten up? Why do you keep hanging out with her? How will you explain her appeal to your other friends? Meet my new pal Anne Enright, an Irish author with accolades to spare and a several-tour veteran of her own grisly psychological war.

Enright recorded her first few years of "Making Babies" (i.e., motherhood)
...more
Jennifer Shreve
It is remarkably hard to find intelligent, well-crafted writing on motherhood. Many glorify the role, while others snark about it. Most seem to reduce it to a whirlwind of puke and vomit. Anne Enright writes bluntly about the beautiful and sublime aspects of becoming a mother as well as the humbling and crass bits. She takes on the scientists and sociologists who seem to be constantly finding new shortcomings in mothers, as well as the sadism of women who seem to take pleasure in the suffering o ...more
Ciara
this got amazingly glowing reviews, like, EVERYWHERE. people were like, "enright is a poet & she turns her remarkable abilities on the mundane details of the family unit, elevating them to the sublime, but without losing her trademark irish sense of humor."

i don't know, dudes. it's another volume of personal essays about having babies. maybe i have read too many books on this topic, but there was nothing in here that really bowled me over. clearly enright is slightly more capable of employin
...more
Terri
This is a lovely collection of non-fiction by Man Booker Prize winner Anne Enright as she ruminates on new motherhood, pregnancy, alien abductions, and death.
Jessica Dollar
Cute and funny. Made me remember what it was like to have a new baby. I especially loved her description of a newborn baby's eyes and how it looks at you when it is first born. Oh my gosh, how could I forget that?! It's been a loooong time.
I would have liked to know more about how the author decided to have a baby after 18 years of marriage and then fall into it so naturally. That part wasn't explored at all. But I certainly could relate to just about everything else in the book. It's funny to
...more
Sal
I read a short piece by Anne Enright in the TLS and fell in love. Literally have been carrying the piece around and re-reading it like a love letter. I have a suspicion she writes extremely well about having children. To be seen...
Lacey Louwagie
This is one of those books I read hoping to discover the "real deal" about being a parent. It's written by an "older parent" (first child after age 35), which appeals to me even more, since that's the direction I and most of my friends are heading. Anne Enright's writing is good, her observations keen and even beautiful at times. The book felt incredibly honest and clear-eyed to me, neither romanticizing or disparaging motherhood. Still, the descriptions of babies were not quite as vivid here as ...more
Crabbygirl
i wanted read more by this author after i discovered her dense irish prose - and many of the essays here were cerebral. but some were closer to the fluff you see in national parenting magazines...
she really did see the birth of her motherhood as a death to her self, and maybe i felt a bit of that underneath the post partum depression. but it's been so long for me, and cannot remember life pre-children. i imagine the cerebral stuff came out of her journal from that time, and the generic i-love-my
...more
Keridan
Although I settled on the same "liked it" rating for Making Babies and Anne Lamott's similarly readable parenting memoir, Operating Instructions, Enright's book was the more engaging read. While her peculiarly personal experiences are nicely rendered (as are Lamott's), Enright's most thought-provoking essays concern the larger phenomenon of modern motherhood and the special kind of anxiety and guilt that come from too much information (see also: this ). That said, the book as a whole felt a litt ...more
Meg
3.5 stars for this somewhat uneven collection of essays about parenting and babies. Some of the essays I didn't get quite as into. I loved "Babies: A Breeder's Guide" which caused me to laugh hysterically and included many gems, for example:
"Babies sometimes cry while they are still asleep. This gives them an unfair advantage over their parents, who cannot comfort them without waking up." (p. 134)
I also loved "Science" where she skewers researchers/ media writers who blame mothers for everything
...more
Julie
Oct 29, 2008 Julie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Julie by: found it at the library
I hadn’t read anything by the Irish novelist Anne Enright when I began her record of her journey through the birth of her two children and her first few years of motherhood but having finished it, I’m on a mission to the library to check out her other work.

Enright tells it like it is and she is witty, incredibly open and very moving. Much of the book was written in pieces while her baby daughter was sleeping in the same room. She writes about the beauty and strangeness of pregnancy, the vulnera
...more
Julie
Review originally posted on the Johnson County (KS) Library Staff Picks Blog.

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 s
...more
Jennie
"Children are actually a form of brainwashing. They are a cult, a perfectly legal cult. Think about it. When you join a cult you are undernourished, you are denied sleep, you are forced to do repetitive and pointless tasks at random hours of the day and night, then you stare deep into your despotic leader's eyes, repeating meaningless phrases, or mantras, like Ooh da gorgeous. Yes, you are!" I read with a kind of visceral shock, as if the truth of this is only now sinking in. Yes, it's funny. Be ...more
Ellen Keim
A delightful book for what it is. Some of the essays were published elsewhere first and they've been brought together with some additional material. The author's tone is at times serious (especially in the last chapter/essay), but mostly wry and downright funny. I love the mixture of despair and devotion that she weaves through the narrative of what it's like to have a baby.

The only thing I thought missing was an exploration into why, after eighteen years of marriage, she and her husband decided
...more
Jodi
Jun 02, 2013 Jodi rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: not sure
Shelves: memoirs, non-fiction
I love a good book about becoming a mother and was all set for another fun read when I read about this book in a magazine recently. It was okay but not what I expected at all. The first chapter about alien abductions and such was a tad weird and felt so disjointed from the next chapter - when I read at the end of the book that this "essay" had been printed in other publications before so that explains its disjointed feeling. The last chapter on Mortality gave me the same feel - it just didn't se ...more
Doreen
Jan 03, 2012 Doreen rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: elle
I enjoyed this book, and definitely the subject matter, but the structure was too slapdash for me to give it a higher rating. Anne Enright writes engagingly, but the book itself never quite pulls together as a cohesive collection. Ms Enright admits towards the end that she tends to write fragmented, incoherent books, and while that might serve well for her fiction (which I've never read, unfortunately,) it does nothing for this assortment of vignettes and essays. It's frequently funny, and often ...more
courtney
Feb 24, 2008 courtney rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents, prospective parents, people who know parents
i first read anne enright's short story "the house of the architect's love story" in an anthology of irish writers or for a class or something, and i looked in vain for years for her collection, The Portable Virgin -- which, via amazon, i happily own. i have also read her novels The Wig My Father Wore, What Are You Like? and The Pleasure of Eliza Lynch. and i liked them all... but the wit of her short stories was somewhat elusive in her novels (except in Wig, which is quite funny). anyway -- in ...more
Brian
Dec 17, 2012 Brian rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: expecting mother, maybe.
Recommended to Brian by: nytimes book review
(3.0) Ask a mother if you should read this. I'm not sure.

First and last essays (on UFOs, on suicide/death) I could've done without. A few were funny, most slightly incoherent. I liked the less cynical ones (later in book) as well. Wonder what a future/new/second-time mother thinks of this as well (it's written for her, not for me).

Two sections I liked in particular:
* Babies: A Breeder's Guide: "Crying", in which the father says "she's fine", the mother points to incessant, ear-curdling screaming
...more
Laura
The last 15 pages or so when Enright writes about her depression and how having her children got her into 'such a habit of gratitude and a mother's worry for the future' that she no longer chased death elevated this book from a 3 to a 4. Beautiful. Elsewhere the disjointed style and, in my opinion, varied quality of writing got to me a little - but then I suppose that's what writing after childbirth looks like, eh?
Sarah
This was exactly the book I needed to read.

Enright is a real human being. She isn't obsessed with the best way or the right way to deal with babies. She doesn't romanticize the experience or wrap it in psuedo-spiritual womyn power.

She made some babies. And then wrote about it. All of it. From the pleasure of first words exchanged to the monotony of a colicky baby. She writes about cigarettes and drunkenness and worry and the way your sense of self melts away. The way you are faced with your own
...more
Jaclyn Day
Making Babies may not be everyone’s cup of tea—it was written in spurts while Enright’s children napped—and has a stream of consciousness, blurry quality that could be irritating if it wasn’t so reminiscent of the way I sometimes feel about parenting. My own thoughts and feelings come and go in spastic bursts of nostalgia, love and frustration and Enright captured this so well. As parenting memoirs go, the content isn’t surprising (she talks about poop, she talks about sleep, etc.), but the grea ...more
Derbhile Graham
I read this for largely voyeuristic reasons, as I'm not a mother. I do feel the book gave me a glimpse into what motherhood is really like. It was honest and it was full of bodily fluids. There were some genuinely moving moments in it too. Her style is a little mellow than in The Gathering, which I gave up because there were too many jagged edges in it.
Heather
After eighteen years of marriage and almost reaching middle age, Enright found herself becoming a mother. Before she knew it, she had two children running around. She was already a successful author in her native Ireland, but she soon realized that she was much less confident at being a mother than writing. During the first few years of her children's lives, she took time between feedings and diaper changes to write about all the messiness as well as the joys of motherhood, particularly motherho ...more
Prathiba
A thoroughly enjoyable read! A friend loaned me this book, and on seeing the subject, I expected it to be a maudlin recollection of the author's experiences through her pregnancy. How wrong I was - the author's wit shines through the book, making it a very engaging and humorous read.

nicole
I started this book a week after one of my friends had her first baby and I couldn't help but have babies, babies, babies on the brain. As many of my friends begin trying to, or (not) succeeding in, becoming pregnant, I find that much of their experience doesn't seem reflected anywhere. (It's always in you, as a librarian, that urge to find the right book for the right person at the right time, even if usually the right thing to do is to share a cup of tea or coffee or a beer and listen instead. ...more
Elaine
I wanted to read this after I heard an interview with the author and thought it sounded funny. It is a collection of essays with an interesting and sometimes amusing perspective on motherhood.
Katy
This is not normally the kind of book I would pick up, a collection of essays about motherhood. That kind of thing usually seems to be just so much navel-gazing, to me.

But I read a good review of this, it was short, and I decided to give it a try. It WAS navel-gazing. Nevertheless, I did enjoy her very clear-eyed descriptions of all the phases of new parenthood--pregnancy, birth, infancy, toddlerhood. It brought up memories of my own that I had almost forgotten about, and it was fun to relive t
...more
Rachel McCready-Flora
Apr 23, 2012 Rachel McCready-Flora rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone that has children or is thinking of having children
Anne Enright makes me want to be a writer. Unfortunately, she is so amazing at capturing the small moments and parents' feelings and thoughts during the first year of a baby's life, I realize I would be a writing failure. She has a way of identifying things I didn't know I felt about motherhood. I would like to think we have similar souls, but I think it has more to do with a moderate amount of snark (and me wishing I was cool too).

This has been the most enjoyable parenting memoir I've read so f
...more
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Anne Enright is a Booker Prize-winning Irish author.

She has published essays, short stories, a non-fiction book and four novels.

Before her novel The Gathering won the 2007 Man Booker Prize, Enright had a low profile in Ireland and the United Kingdom, although her books were favourably reviewed and widely praised.

Her writing explores themes such as family relationships, love and sex, Ireland's di
...more
More about Anne Enright...
The Gathering The Forgotten Waltz Yesterday's Weather What are You Like? Taking Pictures

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