Being a new mom can be tough. These books let you know you’re not alone
Navigating life with a newborn is anything but simple. Whether it’s your first or your fourth, the only constant new parents can count on is to expect the unexpected. With all the snarky comments and harsh judgments out there, moms need all the support—and commiseration—we can get. When you get a few minutes, stop doom-scrolling and pick up one of these 10 beautiful books for moms that celebrate the messy truth of motherhood in a way new moms need.
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1. Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year by Anne Lamott
Writer and essayist Anne Lamott offers new moms inspiration and commiseration in this collection by one of the most talented writers out there. And don’t worry; the short vignettes are not only relatable, they’re easily readable in the few spare moments you have in between diaper changes , feeding, and naps.
Buy it here, $15
2. Unexpected: A Postpartum Memoir by Emily Adler Mosqueda
As a second-time mom, Emily wasn’t anticipating the postpartum depression and anxiety she would experience. Exploring the not-always-joyful emotions of motherhood, including rage, irritability, guilt, and shame, Emily opens up about the impossible standards of motherhood and offers moms the judge-free understanding that sometimes you aren’t okay.
Buy it here, $24
3. Ain’t That a Mother: Postpartum, Palsy, and Everything in Between by Adiba Nelson
Writer and all-around bad*ss Adiba Nelson knows a thing or two about the unexpected journey motherhood brings. As an Afro-Latina, Nelson grew up knowing motherhood was anything but easy. When her daughter is born with cerebral palsy, Adiba begins a fight—a fight for love of her child and of herself. The kind of self-love and courage that created success and changes in her life. It’s a messy, bold, beautifully written story of Adiba’s truth and her quest to live it.
Adiba also wrote a children’s book, Clarabelle Blue Is Just Like You, to offer her daughter visibility in the world and to teach other children the value of loving one another. This new memoir will have you laughing, loving, and celebrating.
Buy it here, $21
4. Enough About the Baby: A Brutally Honest Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood by Becky Vieira
Touted as “an unapologetic guide to the first year of motherhood,” author Becky Viera challenges society to stop undervaluing the new mother and start establishing self-care as a necessity to motherhood. Full of actionable advice about what to expect and how to handle even the most taboo subjects, poop, and postpartum depression among them, this book reminds us that taking care of our own needs is vital to our survival.
Buy it here, $18
5. The Body Is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love by Sonya Renee Taylor
Though this book is not explicitly about being a new mom, our relationships with our bodies post-partum can be a mixed bag, full of pressure to get back to “pre-baby weight” and struggling with self-esteem. In this book, activist and poet Sonya Renee Taylor offers us tools for radical self-love and a way out of the shame cycle that perpetuates the oppression of ourselves and others around the world. There’s even a workbook to help you personalize and radicalize your feelings about your own body.
Get it here, $15
6. The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O’Farrell
If you’re looking for a relatable novel to read when you can steal a moment, this one will fit the bill. It’s the story of two different mothers—one a single mom in post-war London and the other a young painter named Elina navigates who can’t seem to remember actually giving birth. A gorgeously written novel that touches on so many feelings we have as we stumble into motherhood.
Buy it here, $14
Related: Level Up: Baby Hack to Simplify Life for New Parents
7. It’s Been Pouring: The Dark Secret of the First Year of Motherhood by Rachel Papo
In this photo book, author and photographer Rachel Papo set out to document the experience of postpartum depression. A collection of photos and interviews of mothers at their darkest moments, it’s also an honest exposition of Papo’s own postpartum depression and allows mothers everywhere to connect and recognize the real struggle of motherhood.
Buy it here, $37
8. Knocking Myself Up: A Memoir of My (In)Fertility by Michelle Tea
Award-winning author Michelle Tea gives an honest and totally amazing account of her life entering into motherhood as a 40-year-old, queer, uninsured woman. A story of love and love of family, Tea tells it all in a can’t-put-down memoir.
Buy it here, $28
9. Knocked Down: A High-Risk Memoir by Aileen Weintraub
Told with humor and grace, this is a memoir of a high-risk pregnancy when author Aileen Weintraub is prescribed five months of bed rest. What she experiences includes confronting the state of her marriage and her own grief for her father while fighting for the life of her child. For moms that have experienced high-risk pregnancies, there are relatable emotions, and for all moms, the book offers deep insight into what we do to ourselves as women and mothers in our own minds.
But it here, $7
10. Waiting for Birdy: A Year of Frantic Tedium, Neurotic Angst, and the Wild Magic of Growing a Family by Catherine Newman
A hilarious and honest book by popular Baby Center columnist Catherine Newman, this is her account of navigating toddlerhood while preganat and giving birth to her second child. Spoiler alert: it’s really hard! But with humor, wit, and her warm writing style, new moms everywhere will feel 100% seen in her book.
Buy it here, $17