Ordinary Insanity: Fear and the Silent Crisis of Motherhood in America

Sarah Menkedick (Author)
Pre-Order   Ships April 7th

Description

A groundbreaking expos and diagnosis of the silent epidemic of fear afflicting mothers, and a candid, feminist deep dive into the culture, science, history, and psychology of contemporary motherhood.

Fear among new mothers is a growing but largely unrecognized crisis. In the months before and after birth, countless women suffer from overwhelming feelings of fear, grief, or obsession that do not fall neatly within the outmoded category of "postpartum depression." These women are left isolated and captive, fending for themselves with scarce resources for their care and precious little time or support as they attempt to distinguish normal worry from debilitating anxiety. This crippling state of madness, though sometimes temporary, is commonly left untreated, and, perhaps even more dangerously, treated as a taboo in our culture.

Drawing on extensive research, countless interviews, and the raw particulars of her own experience with anxiety, writer and mother Sarah Menkedick gives us a comprehensive examination of the biology, psychology, history, and societal conditions surrounding the crushing and life-limiting fear that is becoming the norm for so many. Woven into the stories of women's lives, Menkedick examines factors like the changing structure of the maternal brain, the ethically problematic ways risk is construed during pregnancy, and the marginalization of motherhood as an identity, asking how motherhood came to be an experience so dominated by anxiety and how mothers might reclaim it. Writing with profound empathy, visceral honesty, and deep understanding, Menkedick makes clear how critically we need to expand our awareness, compassion, and care for women's lives.

Product Details

Price: $28.95  $26.06
Publisher: Pantheon Books
Published Date: April 07, 2020
Pages: 400
Dimensions: 6.13 X 0.88 X 9.25 inches | 1.65 pounds
ISBN: 9781524747770
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

SARAH MENKEDICK's debut essay collection Homing Instincts was longlisted for the PEN/ Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. Her writing has appeared in, among other publications, Harper's Magazine, Pacific Standard, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, The Kenyon Review, The Paris Review Daily, Buzzfeed, Aeon, and Longreads. She holds an MFA in nonfiction from the University of Pittsburgh, where she taught nonfiction writing. She lives in Pittsburgh with her family. sarahmenkedick.com

Reviews

"Menkedick is a superb storyteller, and her writing is filled with remarkable scientific and literary references."
--Publishers Weekly

"A bold and ambitious book about the magnificent, messy transformation that is motherhood, and about the resilience of women. Menkedick explores with intellect and empathy what is expected of 'good' mothers, what we expect of ourselves, and the complicated entanglement of the two."
--Rachel Friedman, author of And Then We Grew Up: On Creativity, Potential, and the Imperfect Art of Adulthood

"A stunningly researched, vulnerable and urgent book about the tightrope of motherhood in our broken and prejudiced society. Menkedick reveals the unbearable burden of maternal expectations and how the healthcare system routinely strips women of their agency. You will read these stories of the way mothers are 'cared' for in this country with bewilderment, with compassion, with rage, but also with the true belief in the possibility of things becoming different."
--Lauren Markham, author of The Far Away Brothers

"This is an essential book I didn't even know I needed, that filled in blanks I didn't even know I had. Its urgent message should be spread far and wide, by anyone who works with mothers, lives with mothers, or plans to be a mother. It will leave you with a greater understanding of Mother, yes, but it will also make you feel less alone in the world."
--Rachel Louise Snyder, author of No Visible Bruises