From step-by-step guides for getting a newborn baby to sleep through the night to handbooks for parenting like a Parisian, there’s certainly no shortage of literature for new moms. But while these how-to books brim with knowledge, many of them often lack in authenticity. Becoming a mom, while chock-full of joy, is also a time of major transition — and there’s nothing more reassuring than hearing another parent say “Me too.” Seeking a raw-yet-encouraging look at the journey of motherhood? Look no further than these honest, humorous, and most of all helpful reads written by real moms in the thick of it.

1. And Now We Have Everything by Meaghan O’Connell ($17, out April 2019): What happens when a positive pregnancy test feels more like a terrifying interruption than a beacon of good news? Meaghan O’Connell describes with emotional candor and unexpected humor the profound identity shift that comes with having an unexpected baby. You’ll love her honesty as she shares the intimate details of her own accidental pregnancy and everything that came after it.

2. Now My Heart Is Full by Laura June ($16): When she learns she is pregnant with her first daughter, author Laura June is still processing the loss of her alcoholic mother and all the ways her mother’s addiction impacted her childhood. In this witty and honest memoir, June deftly highlights the way family wounds weave their way through generations, what it means to mother our own children after loss, and how we can accomplish more than we ever dreamed in spite of, or maybe because of, our past.

3. Motherhood: A Novel by Sheila Heti ($27): All her friends are beginning to have babies, and Motherhood‘s narrator wonders whether she will too. In this philosophical work of “autofiction” (basically, fiction narrated in the first person) Heti responds to a universal question: What does it mean to be a mother? And just as importantly, how can we best make our own moral choices about motherhood?

4. Amateur Hour: Motherhood in Essays and Swear Words by Kimberly Harrington ($16): With this laugh-until-you-cry collection of essays, author Kimberly Harrington paints a devastatingly raw portrait of motherhood through personal stories. She facilitates a crucial conversation about what it means to be in the middle of motherhood, womanhood, and humanity. From her inner monologues about the school bake sale to her earnest observations about the state of motherhood today, Harrington holds a fresh new lens up to motherhood — one that will remind you that you’re not alone on your own messy journey.

5. Things That Helped: On Postpartum Depression by Jessica Friedmann ($16): In this haunting and lyrical memoir about her experience with, and recovery from, a debilitating postpartum mood disorder, Friedmann gives shape to what far too women talk about: the delicate, difficult days of early motherhood, and the full spectrum of (often frightening) emotions that come with it.

6. The Magic of Motherhood: The Good Stuff, The Hard Stuff, and Everything in Between by Ashlee Gadd ($20): A spinoff of her wildly popular collaborative motherhood blog Coffee + Crumbs, The Magic of Motherhood is a collection of personal essays covering just about every struggle and milestone of being a mom. While the collection is full of insights and anecdotes from a diverse group of mothers, each essay rings with positivity and empowerment.

7. Stretched Too Thin: How Working Moms Can Lose The Guilt, Work Smarter, and Thrive by Jessica N. Turner ($23): Say goodbye to mom guilt once and for all with Jessica Turner’s handbook for working mothers. In this encouraging, tactical page-turner, Turner provides everyday methods for coping with the feeling of being “stretched too thin,” offering moms who work (or moms who work at home raising their kids!) much-needed strategies for balancing work and home life. But more importantly, Turner compassionately guides us toward much-needed soul rest from the culture’s ongoing, unrealistic demands.

What’s your go-to book on motherhood? Tell us @BritandCo.

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