Mother Shock is the state in which many new parents exist during those first confusing, chaotic and often comical years of parenting. It is the clash between expectation and result, theory and reality. It is the twilight zone of 24-hour-a-day living, where life is no longer neatly divided into day and night; it is the triple-impact of hormonal imbalance, sleep deprivation, and physical exhaustion. It is the stress of trying to acclimate quickly to the immediacy of mothering; a new conception of oneself, one’s role in the family and in the world; a fearful new level of responsibility; and a new delegation of domestic duties.
In Mother Shock, Andrea Buchanan writes about the “dark side” of motherhood, the fears and worries mothers are often afraid to give voice to. She writes about motherhood as an adjustment process, defying the conventional wisdom that maternity is inborn and unquestionable, that there is a “maternal instinct” that all women have, and that if women do not immediately enjoy being mothers, there is something inherently wrong with them. Mother Shock asserts that being conflicted about motherhood may in fact be a perfectly normal response to the identity shift inherent in becoming a mother — and reassures those of us who were made and not born mothers that the journey to embrace motherhood is acceptable and possible, even if we don’t love every minute of it.