I started this book before going to bed one night and fell asleep reading. The next morning it was the first thing I reached for, the whole thing inhaled over the course of three hours. With AND NOW WE HAVE EVERYTHING, Meaghan O’Connell accomplished something incredible: a collection of thoughts and essays accessible to readers in any season of life, whether it includes children, a dream of children, or none at all.
In the blurb, it says she wanted to write the book she wished she’d had, “a brutally honest, agenda-less take on the emotional and existential impact of motherhood.” The honesty and vulnerability in this book took my breath away countless times. When someone writes about their life and you feel like you’re chatting with a good friend, it’s the sign of something really special. But O’Connell pulls aside her chest cavity (you get what I’m going for here) and lets you straight into her heart.
“What if having a hard time adjusting to motherhood wasn’t some moral failure or a failure of imagination? What if we thought of the whole endeavor like we do work? Like how a career starts out with a lot of due-paying, a lot of indignity, a lot of feeling unappreciated and complaining to your friends but then incrementally gets easier or more fulfilling. You get better at it. It becomes a part of you. And you start to think, well what else would I do all day?
Of course it’s not the same at all. But you can understand why someone wouldn’t want to have a job. And you can understand why someone would.”
I knew I’d find this book interesting, and maybe moving, but I didn’t expect to relate to the author on such a deep level. Many times, whether about motherhood, feminism, relationships, societal expectations, mental illness, I found myself nodding along, thankful that someone had found a way to put these thoughts on paper.
I look forward to any books O’Connell has in the future. I’m itching for another chance to sit with her, inside her heart.