Review

Baby Love

by Rebecca Walker

The
final and most wonderful benefit of pregnancy --- the baby! ---
doesn't keep the process from being exceptionally difficult. Even
the easiest nine months are marked by bouts with morning sickness,
a rapidly expanding body, an endless series of tests, and
decisions, decisions, decisions. In Rebecca Walker's world, those
nine months of fitful preparation for motherhood became a
battleground with her own mother, American literary icon Alice
Walker. As she battles her own childhood demons and tries to find
some peace with her difficult and demanding mother, Walker realizes
that baby love comes with some price tags higher than co-sleepers
at Babies "R" Us.


With exceptional candor, Walker gives us a nine-month rundown, with
the appropriate personal historical context, of what it took for
her to find her own truths about motherhood. As any mother will
tell you, the immensity of the undertaking and the lifetime
commitment it requires is enough to scare anybody from even trying
it. But Walker's double-edged sword is made of not just the fears
that our culture builds up in its attempts to encourage you to
spend lots of money "preparing" for the blessed event, but the
realization that her mother's honest ambivalence about her coming
into being may be a legacy that the author doesn't wish to pass on
to her own offspring.


Instead, Walker tries to redefine love and mother
without the anger and lack of commitment she found in her own
upbringing (she has a good relationship with her father, but since
he lives in New York and her mother is in California, Walker spent
her childhood shuttling back and forth). It's pretty clear that she
never got what she really needed as a kid --- her mother's
unconditional love --- and she's determined to give her own son
that which she was denied. Therefore, BABY LOVE is not your usual
happy and crazy road to motherhood.


Walker's writing style, although chatty and conversational, has a
distinctive cadence to it, and the reader can sense that her
intelligence as a writer never gets in the way of her commitment to
relaying the facts as she sees them with unconditional honesty. It
is a rather searing story --- gossipy at times when she discusses
her mother's inability to give her love (rather shocking if you
read THE COLOR PURPLE, which is all about finding and giving love,
to others as well as yourself) --- but is pointed and poignant when
Walker gets sick enough to land in the hospital, putting her baby
at risk, or when she battles with her need for antidepressants even
though they may harm her fetus.


As a Buddhist, Walker has some particularly beautiful ideas she
wants to impart about calm and abundance playing important roles in
one's life. Her relationships are hard-won --- she describes past
relationships and what she has learned in order to make the one she
currently is in sound enough for a baby to enter into --- and her
bisexuality is discussed without any big to-do about it.


BABY LOVE is a fantastic addition to the pantheon of books about
pregnancy and motherhood. First-timers especially will find the
trials and tribulations of Walker's pregnancy most fascinating, as
she deals with religion, culture and family in order to attain the
perfect balance of elements in which to bring forth her son into
the world. This is an age-old tale told with stunning modernity ---
a must read!


   











Reviewed by Jana Siciliano on December 22, 2010

Baby Love
by Rebecca Walker

  • Publication Date: March 22, 2007
  • Genres: Memoir, Nonfiction
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover
  • ISBN-10: 1594489432
  • ISBN-13: 9781594489433