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Expecting Adam: A True Story of Birth, Rebirth, and Everyday Magicby Martha Nibley Beck
Synopses & Reviews
"He says you'll never be hurt as much by being open as you have been by remaining closed."
The messenger is a school janitor with a master's in art history who claims to be channeling "from both sides of the veil." "He" is Adam, a three-year-old who has never spoken an intelligible word. And the message is intended for Martha Beck, Adam's mother, who doesn't know whether to make a mad dash for the door to escape a raving lunatic (after all, how many conversations like this one can you have before you stop getting dinner party invitations and start pushing a mop yourself?) or accept another in a series of life lessons from an impeccable but mysterious source.
From the moment Martha and her husband, John, accidentally conceived their second child, all hell broke loose. They were a couple obsessed with success. After years of matching IQs and test scores with less driven peers, they had two Harvard degrees apiece and were gunning for more. They'd plotted out a future in the most vaunted ivory tower of academe. But the dream had begun to disintegrate. Then, when their unborn son, Adam, was diagnosed with Down syndrome, doctors, advisers, and friends in the Harvard community warned them that if they decided to keep the baby, they would lose all hope of achieving their carefully crafted goals. Fortunately, that's exactly what happened.
Expecting Adam is a poignant, challenging, and achingly funny chronicle of the extraordinary nine months of Martha's pregnancy. By the time Adam was born, Martha and John were propelled into a world in which they were forced to redefine everything of value to them, put all their faith in miracles, and trust that they could fly without a net. And it worked.
Martha's riveting, beautifully written memoir captures the abject terror and exhilarating freedom of facing impending parentdom, being forced to question one's deepest beliefs, and rewriting life's rules. It is an unforgettable celebration of the everyday magic that connects human souls to each other.
From the Hardcover edition.
Originally published: New York: Times Books, c1999.
“A wonderful book, funny unbelievably tender, and smart. It shimmers.”--Anne Lamott
Includes an all-new afterword about Adam.
John and Martha Beck had two Harvard degrees apiece when they conceived their second child. Further graduate studies, budding careers, and a growing family meant major stress--not that they'd have admitted it to anyone (or themselves). As the pregnancy progressed, Martha battled constant nausea and dehydration. And when she learned her unborn son had Down syndrome, she battled nearly everyone over her decision to continue the pregnancy. She still cannot explain many of the things that happened to her while she was expecting Adam, but by the time he was born, Martha, as she puts it, "had to unlearn virtually everything Harvard taught [her] about what is precious and what is garbage."
About the Author
Martha Beck is the "Quality of Life" columnist for Mademoiselle, a career counselor for Life Design Enterprises, and the author of Breaking Point: Why Women Fall Apart and How They Can Re-create Their Lives. She also hosts a weekly TV spot, "Ask Martha," on Good Day Arizona. She lives in Phoenix with her husband, three children, and best friend Karen.
From the Hardcover edition.
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