Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy” as Want to Read:
Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy

4.41  ·  Rating details ·  300 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
What to read after What to Expect . . . . A badass, feminist, and personal deep-dive into the science and culture of pregnancy and early motherhood that debunks myths and dated assumptions, offering guidance and camaraderie to women navigating one of the biggest and most profound changes in their lives.

Like most first-time mothers, Angela Garbes was filled with questions w
ebook, 256 pages
Published May 29th 2018 by Harper Wave
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Like a Mother, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Shelly I loved Expecting Better, and found it really useful when I was pregnant. This is more narrative, and less prescriptive/specific. It is both an…moreI loved Expecting Better, and found it really useful when I was pregnant. This is more narrative, and less prescriptive/specific. It is both an intimate analysis of how we talk about pregnancy ("we" including the culture and the scientists) and the massive, life-changing, emotional/cultural/political/physical/psychological wallop of pregnancy and birth. I would definitely recommend reading both! (less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This. Is. Excellent. I say that as a mother, as a maternal-child health MPH, and as a woman. This tells it like it is, with the science and research and sociology to back it up. I laughed, i underlined, I wrote in the margins. I only wish I’d had this when I was pregnant. She writes about that dreaded postpartum poop with a candor that I loved. This should be mandatory reading for pregnant people. And anyone who loves them and cares for them.
Jun 19, 2018 rated it did not like it
As a new mother and feminist killjoy, I was so excited to read this book. Everything about its premise perfectly encapsulated where my mommy brain now resides. There were so many wonderful parts of this book. The chapter about the placenta was utterly fascinating and contained a level of knowledge that I wish I had possessed while pregnant. And then came the chapter on breastfeeding.

I knew that it was coming, but I had certain expectations that left me so wanting that I never finished the book.

There's a pretty good consensus nowadays that pregnancy guides are problematic in various ways. They're condescending, judgmental, and aren't very informative. There's a real need for books that speak more to the science of pregnancy and don't infantilize women when offering advice, and Angela Garbes's book is a step in that direction.

While much of this is personal narrative, Garbes does some deep dives into subjects most mothers encounter during pregnancy and childbirth (like wtaf is a placenta
Jaci Millette Cooper
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: feminism
Motherhood- it's an unfolding.

Of course, I don't know this firsthand- I cannot relate, but Garbes’ use of the literal unfolding of paper as a metaphor for the transformation of motherhood, gradual and all at once, makes me almost believe I can empathize:

“At first, I see the unfurling of tissue and viscera, the way our placenta, unraveled, would occupy miles of space. Then, the image gives way to a paper fortune teller, the intricately folded piece of paper that my friends played with in the ca
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
There is some great stuff in this title, and I enjoyed reading it. Garbes is a thoughtful and illustrative writer--she really digs into imagery and detail. I wish, though, that this book had been more heavily edited. There is no clear throughline, and subjects thus receive a random-seeming amount of attention, which varies quite a bit from topic to topic. While of course Garbes makes no claim to having written a comprehensive book, I feel she could have tried a little more to include more topics ...more
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I wish this had been longer, because I feel like it touched on so much and could have been thousands of pages. But it’s great and worth reading.
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

I wish I could have read this book before giving birth to my son. Garbes—a journalist—writes about pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum life as a mother in an equally informative and emotional way. I found myself resonating with a lot of her observations about having a child, and I also learned a great deal about pregnancy and being a mother. Garbes’ in-depth research about a topic she was highly interested in—she had just given birth to her first child—created a tone of fascination tha
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Since becoming pregnant and then becoming a mother, I have had lots of moments where I’ve said to myself, “Why doesn’t anyone TELL YOU about this??!” This book, more than any other pregnancy/parenthood book I’ve read, tells you those things: the gross postpartum issues, the lingering aches and pains, the incredibly complicated emotions, etc. There’s also a lot of really neat-o science throughout! I just thoroughly enjoyed reading this book—it made me feel seen/understood/not alone, not even clos ...more
AnnieLiz Love
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, non-fiction
I wish I could give this book more than 5 stars! I’m currently 29 weeks pregnant and this book has been a revelation in the best way possible. I laughed, I cried, I was shocked- Thank you to Angela Garbes for writing this book. It meant so much to me.
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fic
Local author! Wacky true science facts! I endorse this.
Sam Southerd
Jul 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Hated her 30 page discussion on alcohol and pregnancy but the rest was interesting. The book is more her story and experiences than true scientific facts but she did try to weave some science in. Nothing new for me but still enjoyable. Might be too much for a first time mom? Lots of worst case situations graphically described.
Jun 19, 2018 rated it liked it
This was lower on science than I would have liked, especially because I found this book after so enjoying her article on the science of breastfeeding, but it was fascinating and honest account of one women's experience finding her own way through pregnancy and motherhood.
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have two children, 3 years old and 18 months. So my days are full of diapers, making snacks, so much laundry and someone is on me constantly. So when I read a book in two days, it’s a Big Deal.

This is the book pregnant people should read. This is the book their partners and support people should read. This is the book every human who has grown in a uterus should read.

It made me cry. It made me laugh. It made me raise my hands and go yes yes me too!

Angela covers early pregnancy, what the hec
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an incredible book—a mix of wonderfully poetic language about pregnancy, birth, and the body; a real passion for the science behind bringing a new life into the world; comfort for women and the various struggles they face in trying to and then becoming a mother; and a wonderful feminist thread connecting everything and pointing out all the various places women's issues and rights have been ignored. Angela's book is part memoir, part heavily researched reporting, and part friend-sourced s ...more
Bonnie Limbird
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Even 12 years past pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding, this book was fascinating. It triggered memories I had long since forgotten, as well as several "aha!" moments and a few "Wow!"s. I wish I'd had this to read during my first trimester and through the first few years of motherhood. At it's most basic, it's a pregnancy book, but really it's a call to arms for healthcare to do better by women, to research and learn our bodies and the amazing things they do, to reassure women that our feelings, ...more
Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very informative, well written. Wish I’d had this when I was pregnant and had become a mother the first time. I found I could relate to a lot of the descriptions of a new mother’s postpartum mental, physical and emotional states. Also, science! Loved the detailed (yet not bogged down by scientific jargon) descriptions of the miracle of breast milk, the fascinating placenta, and most of all, microchimerism research. I love the idea that we all carry cells of our closest loved ones — mothers, gran ...more
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I listened to the author’s interview on Fresh Air with Terry Gross and immediately downloaded the book, speeding through it in two days. It is the book I didn’t realize I was waiting for in pregnancy and preparing for childbirth. The author is candid about the physical and psychological challenges and triumphs of pregnancy and childbirth. I thought I had read and learned a lot over the past few months, but was blown away by her chapters on breastmilk, the placenta, and the pelvic floor. I love h ...more
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finally a book about pregnancy that does not exclusively center the experiences of middle class white women!! After slogging through a lot of crappy pregnancy books this one was such a welcome change. Not only does Garbes talk about outcome inequities during pregnancy and birth (black mothers are FOUR TIMES as likely to die in childbirth in this country) she counters the traditional Western medicalized narrative with real expertise and experiences of women of color without glorifying or exoticiz ...more
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was exactly what I needed! I am currently nearing the end of the second trimester of my first pregnancy. “Like a Mother” inspired me and made me fall in love with my body. I have been finding myself quoting facts from the book daily to whoever will listen. My own mother, who gave birth to 5 babies, told me she had no idea about much of what I was telling her. I am so grateful that I heard the author read the placenta chapter on a podcast I listen to and decided to pick up this book. It ...more
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was an honest and thoughtful personal research driven book which is much needed in the societies we live in - where women are expected to ‘naturally’ take on lives and roles which are difficult to transform into, and traumatic, despite the miracle and joy factor that exists for some. I have often thought we never gave the opportunity to actually understand our reproductive bodies despite the often-default of eventual pregnancy. I do also think this book is important in pointing out the absu ...more
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm so glad this book exists—it's a fascinating account of the biology of pregnancy and goes into much greater depth (in much fewer pages) than anything else I've read. Her discussions of the culture of pregnancy are also much needed—it's the first book I've read to address pregnancy explicitly within a patriarchal, white supremacist society. It's also one of the only pregnancy books I've read by a woman of color. Finally, I learned far more about breastfeeding and the placenta than I had though ...more
Ali Bickford
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved some chapters of this book that were about the science of the body ( Breast milk & placenta ) and I appreciated the real life examples from all the other women she interviewed( it felt like ethnographic research). At other moments it was very focused on the authors experiences in a memoir tone and the science to back up her experiences...Thus the 4 stars and why I set down this book and took a month break before finishing.

Overall :
Will I buy this book for expectant mothers in my lif
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommend this book to all expecting mothers. This book made lots of good points, debunked myths and gave me a clearer idea of the horror of what’s going to happen to me. No matter what you’re looking for in the internet, you’ll always find the answer you’re looking for- is wine bad during pregnancy? Yes it is. Is wine safe during pregnancy? yes it is. She goes into depth about topics such as this, the role of the placenta, miscarriage, birth processes, breast feeding, and post birth comp ...more
Amanda Layton
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really liked the mix of science and narrative Ms Garbes uses. The world could use more books like this and I hope she keeps expanding on the topic--especially with a focus on science. I did find, like many books on the science of being a woman, that I was left with not much hope for the world prioritizing women's health. That said, it exposes some truths that need to be out there -- for example, there's more known about ACL tear recovery than childbirth recovery yet millions more people a year ...more
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating combination of personal memoir and science-y stuff about pregnancy and the female body (as a non-pregnant woman I really enjoyed it). A reminder that we know so little about the female body and pregnancy. I’m so grateful for the researchers out there that choose to study the placenta, clitoris, uterus, pregnancy, etc with little fanfare and less govt $$. If those parts/processes were connected to the male body we’d have started the research 100 yrs ago. Lots of food for thought! Than ...more
shanna washington
Smart, relatable, relevant to the modern day mother

Great mix of memoir, science , and contemplation. I'm six months pregnant with my first and I feel like it jump started my brain into working again. The writing style is very enjoyable to read. It is full of really interesting information that I've not read anywhere else. It made me feel powerful and have new appreciation what the body can do. I loved it!
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was incredibly interesting. It's about pregnancy and birth from a feminist perspective. I was taken aback by how little I know about this stuff. For example, the placenta is an entirely new organ that your body grows! I guess I knew this but like...never really thought about it. I haven't had children so I couldn't relate to everything in the book but I feel like it will help me be a better friend to my friends who are pregnant.
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In the same way of thinking as Expecting Better, this book cuts through some of the generalized, moralized, fluffy pregnancy advice to focus on the proven facts. I really appreciate the fresh look at the science of pregnancy and childbirth, especially the focus on the often-overlooked topics like the placenta and breast milk. The culture was also interesting, to hear how the American medical industry has treated childbirth through history. It could have more structure, but I would really recomme ...more
Jun 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an enjoyable mix of (pop-)science writing and memoir/reflective writing. I wished I had had it a year ago when I was on maternity leave!!

I’m not usually reading authors who spend a lot of time pondering intersectional feminism but this book, and its treatment of those issues, was terrific.
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fascinating information about pregnancy and childbirth written in an easy to read, enjoyable narrative connected to Garbes experiences with pregnancy and childbirth. I especially enjoyed the amazing facts on breastfeeding and the placenta, as well as Garbes awesome, reassuring attitude. There's no mom shaming here.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Nonfiction Deals

  • Masters of the Air: America's Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany
    $15.99 $3.99
  • The Monster of Florence
    $10.99 $2.99
  • The Westies: Inside New York's Irish Mob
    $9.99 $1.99
  • April 1865 (P.S.)
    $11.74 $1.99
  • Jesus Is ______: Find a New Way to Be Human
    $7.99 $0.99
  • Scent of the Missing: Love and Partnership with a Search-and-Rescue Dog
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Lab 257
    $8.74 $1.99
  • How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Power of When: Discover Your Chronotype--and the Best Time to Eat Lunch, Ask for a Raise, Have Sex, Write a Novel, Take Your Meds, and More
    $14.99 $2.99
  • The Last Lecture
    $10.99 $2.99
  • Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived
    $12.74 $1.99
  • Not Tonight, Honey: Wait 'Til I'm A Size 6
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter--And How to Make the Most of Them Now
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth's Past Mass Extinctions
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Feast: True Love in and out of the Kitchen
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War
    $15.99 $1.99
  • Vaccinated: One Man's Quest to Defeat the World's Deadliest Diseases
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology
    $12.99 $2.99
  • An Appetite For Wonder: The Making Of A Scientist
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience
    $27.99 $2.99
  • Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip-Confessions of a Cynical Waiter
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Dakota: A Spiritual Geography (Dakotas)
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Restless: Because You Were Made for More
    $7.49 $1.99
  • Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and The Dawn of the Modern Woman
    $10.24 $1.99
  • The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinctions
    $16.99 $2.99
  • Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After
    $13.99 $3.99
  • Man-Eater: The Life and Legend of an American Cannibal
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Pukka: The Pup After Merle
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Buddhist Boot Camp
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Flour: A Baker's Collection of Spectacular Recipes
    $21.99 $3.99
  • The Longest Day: The Classic Epic of D-Day
    $12.99 $3.99
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Van Gogh
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Church of the Small Things: The Million Little Pieces That Make Up a Life
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Woman's Worth
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Do the Work
    $4.99 $1.49
  • The Lost Tribe of Coney Island: Headhunters, Luna Park, and the Man Who Pulled Off the Spectacle of the Century
    $4.99 $1.99
  • I Suck at Girls
    $10.74 $1.99
  • The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women
    $14.99 $2.99
  • Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest
    $12.99 $3.99
  • Peace Is Every Breath: A Practice for Our Busy Lives
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller's Tragic Quest for Primitive Art
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Londoners: The Days and Nights of London Now--As Told by Those Who Love It, Hate It, Live It, Left It, and Long for It
    $7.24 $1.99
  • The World's Last Night: And Other Essays
    $7.99 $1.99
  • A. Lincoln
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Tracks: One Woman's Journey Across 1,700 Miles of Australian Outback
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman's Awakening
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Hell's Princess: The Mystery of Belle Gunness, Butcher of Men
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Life
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Seeing Further: The Story of Science and the Royal Society
    $13.24 $2.99
  • Grace, Not Perfection (with Bonus Content): Celebrating Simplicity, Embracing Joy
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Promise and the Dream: The Untold Story of Martin Luther King, Jr. And Robert F. Kennedy
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Through the Eyes of a Lion: Facing Impossible Pain, Finding Incredible Power
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Why We Run: A Natural History
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Edgar Allan Poe: The Fever Called Living
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple
    $12.99 $2.99