Flatiron Books: The Guest Book by Sarah Blake

Look How Happy I'm Making You

All of the women in Look How Happy I'm Making You are new mothers. Or want to be mothers. Or were mothers, or were almost mothers. In "Field Notes," a woman who studies cancer in mice finds herself unexpectedly--and unwelcomely--pregnant. In "White Carnations," a group of women who are motherless and not mothers themselves celebrate Mother's Day together. Women struggle with the transition into new motherhood in "June" and in "The Ten Warning Signs of Postpartum Depression." Similarly, in another story, a woman tries to understand how she can love her daughter so much while still questioning her decision to become a mother in the first place.

Taken individually, each story is a portrait of new motherhood: the emotions that come from a positive pregnancy test, the trials of newborn days without sleep or sanity, the conflicting advice received from well-wishers when walking through the world with a visible baby bump; the gaping sense of loss left in the wake of miscarriage or death. Taken as a whole, Look How Happy I'm Making You is a testament to the diversity of motherhood. There are any number of ways a woman can (or cannot) become a mother, and any number of ways to feel about that situation. And there is no way to capture fully the wide range of emotions that come with pregnancy, loss, birth, childhood, you name it. And yet, the stories here seem to say, there is something universal about the impossibility of that task that will resonate with any reader, be they mother or not. --Kerry McHugh, blogger at Entomology of a Bookworm