Edited by Eden Steinberg

Trumpeter Books, $16.00, 256 pages

The mildly pompous subtitle; Women Reflect on the Challenges and Rewards of Motherhood gives a wrong impression. The title, Finding Your Inner Mama is far more accurate; seeking the inner Mama turns out to be as much fun as it is spiritual. For instance, Harriet Lerner’s contribution is simply hilarious.

Throughout, there are Zen pieces (and at last I understand what Zen means, I’ve been it all along!), and fraught sections by anxious career women, and some written with mellifluous words, escaping the reality of dirty diapers. ||Best of all, the book’s integrity shines through. The writers are not wholly self-absorbed and pay unaffected tribute to their children’s fathers. While every writer is gung-ho about motherhood, attitudes differ. Joan K. Peters’ comment, ‘Many I know practically run their children’s schools,’ sits well with her interview with the Nicaraguan novelist Giaconda Belli describing cultural differences in child-rearing. ||Witty and erudite, the book is a delight. But the final paragraph in Miriam Greenspan’s down-to-earth account of life with her daughter, who has multiple disabilities, makes the whole book extra special.

Reviewed by Jane Manaster