Melinda's Reviews > Baby Love: Choosing Motherhood After a Lifetime of Ambivalence

Baby Love by Rebecca Walker
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's review
Jun 14, 2009

it was ok
bookshelves: twaddle, 2009, not-worth-owning, non-fiction, biography
Read in May, 2009

I just read about this book at .

Rebecca Walker is the daughter of author Alice Walker, who wrote "The Color Purple". The article teaser is what made me interested in reading this book.

"She's revered as a trail-blazing feminist and author Alice Walker touched the lives of a generation of women. A champion of women's rights, she has always argued that motherhood is a form of servitude. But one woman didn't buy in to Alice's beliefs - her daughter, Rebecca, 38.

Here the writer describes what it was like to grow up as the daughter of a cultural icon, and why she feels so blessed to be the sort of woman 64-year-old Alice despises - a mother. "

I read this book in about 30 minutes. It is not terribly well written. It is in the form of a journal from the time the author discovers she is pregnant, to the birth of her son. I began skipping sections where the "what will I do?" introspection became too much.

What was most interesting to me in this book were the unspoken moments about her mother. She is very respectful in the book, not slamming or openly criticizing her mother, but the unspoken moments are there. After having read a bit more about Alice Walker, the author's mother, I feel very sorry for Rebecca. She was taught to despise men, to reject motherhood, and to look at children as a burden. Success for a woman (according to Alice Walker) was being free and having no burdens to hold you back. That Rebecca overcome all this "training" and decided to have a baby is encouraging. What is less encouraging is that she sought not a husband, but a "father for her baby". She also thinks about having a baby as something she may have to do alone in case her partner leaves. So she is preparing for a relationship with her husband only for the sake of having a baby.

What will be interesting is to see if her relationship with her husband lasts, and what happens to her son. She is raising a son but has experience only as being a daughter, so if she does leave her husband what will she teach her son?

So while I found the book to be fairly mediocre, the fact that she has come out of a very sad family situation growing up into at least a real family, is a wonderful thing. I credit her for writing the book. I wonder if she will ever be reconciled with her mother for having her son?
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Janet (new)

Janet Wow, that does sound interesting. I look forward to hearning more of your views on this one. Cheers!

message 2: by Michael (new)

Michael As you point out, how sad it is that we, as a society, view marriage and parenting as separate endeavors rather than interdependent roles.

Nicely written review.

message 3: by Claire (new) - added it

Claire Admittedly, I'm on the shelf about this: "marriage and parenting as separate endeavors rather than interdependent roles."

Melinda Denise wrote: "Admittedly, I'm on the shelf about this: "marriage and parenting as separate endeavors rather than interdependent roles.""

Like a jeweler who grinds different facets on a beautiful gem, so are the many "facets" of each person which you gain as you grow and mature. The gem when viewed as a whole is set off in spectacular beauty when a single shaft of light hits it, and the facets reflect it back and make it sparkle and shine. The whole gem is more lovely because of the many facets. But if you split off each individual facet, then the gem is disfigured and no longer sparkles as it had before. Hacking off each individual facet to keep it separate makes the gem less lovely.

The facets of marriage and parenting are added to your life, and then when viewed as a whole makes the gem of your life shine and sparkle. When you are young, you have a few facets, but as you grow in life you add facets. I have found health and joy and delight in thinking of and treating myself as a whole person, where my skills and abilities in one area help and build up other areas in my life. I have many facets in my life -- I am my husband's wife, I am my children's mother, I am my mother's and father's daughter, I am my brothers and sisters sister, I am my niece and nephews aunt, I am someone's friend, and so on.

Each skill or ability or responsibility helps me with the rest of my skills and ability. I become a better mother because I have been a daughter. I don't stop being a daughter, but add to my life the facet of "mother". I become a better wife because I have been a sister-in-law. All of these roles are strengthened when they are used together. I believe they are weakened and made harder when you split them away from each other.

So my concern about Rebecca is that she is undermining two beautiful and magnificent facets that should go together and strengthen each other. If she chooses to split them apart, in an effort to "protect herself", she weakens all of her facets. But if she chooses to let being a wife strengthen and support being a mother and vice versa, she will strengthen all of her facets and cause them to shine and grow as they are intended to. Her husband will benefit, as will her son, and along the way she will be blessed too!

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