Tina Trikha’s Book Reflects on Motherhood With Wit, Candour
Full disclosure: Tina Trikha has been a contributor to The Swaddle, and in fact, many of the chapters of her book first appeared as articles on our site.
We always have high hopes when a new “honest” mommy book hits the shelves. We’re always waiting for witty, been-there anecdotes, coupled with introspection and reflection on the state of motherhood and womanhood… and usually, we’re disappointed. Until now.
In What I Didn’t Expect When I Was Expecting, Tina Trikha does a masterful job of weaving funny, candid, and embarrassing moments that every parent can relate to in between chapters where she boldly tackles some of mothers’ most universal and emotionally devastating struggles. This back-and-forth between the comedy of the absurd and meaningful introspection works; it’s what prevents this book from being yet another tome of breastfeeding disasters or memoir from a superachieving Tiger Mom with the magic formula for a perfect life, and it serves as a metaphor for the modern experience of motherhood.
Sure, Trikha covers those funny moments when parenthood, The Great Equalizer, levels us all into the same panicked, embarrassed, or befuddled state. But where she really excels are the chapters in which she tackles some of the weightier aspects of women’s choices after childbirth. It helps that Trikha has been both a working and a stay-at-home mom; she can describe with excruciating relatability how it feels to let your child be the only one at sports day without a parent present, or how low your otherwise-healthy self-confidence can plummet when people shun you at dinner parties because you’re “just a mom,” and couldn’t possibly have anything interesting to say.
Our favorite chapters focus on Trikha’s transition from career woman to full-time mom and on her disdain for the word ‘supermom.’ She manages to strike a chord with her reader, without pandering to trite everywoman insecurities. In a poignant moment, Trikha recounts how after she decided to leave her job, when other working women asked her, “Can’t you try harder to make it all work?” She confidently, calmly responds that she doesn’t want to, because she doesn’t want her life to be a perpetual round on the hamster wheel.
That moment of acceptance – the way she has come to terms with herself, shifting priorities, waistline, and all – is powerful for any reader who sees a bit of herself in Trikha.