Is Postpartum Motherhood Dark and Dreadful?

“Few experiences for women are as universal as motherhood, and yet rarely will you see its intricacies discussed in detail. ‘Has there ever been a description in literature of what it entails to change an infant’s diaper?’ Szilvia Molnar asks in her debut novel, The Nursery, a book about one woman’s journey through the first magical and terrifying postpartum days.

If you listen to the critical reception, Molnar ‘paints an honest, frightening and claustrophobic picture of new motherhood’ (New York Times). The book gives ‘a fuller and more nuanced picture of the experience of new motherhood, which doesn’t always live up to the insistently rosy portrait we have of it’ (The Atlantic).

But when Molnar’s protagonist struggles to leave her apartment at all and finds herself googling ‘How common is wanting to kill your baby?’ is this really a depiction of motherhood in general, and is this the portrait that we want to paint for new and future moms?”


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