20 Books That Start New Conversations About Motherhood

By Carrie McBride, Communications
May 11, 2023

Motherhood is a swirl of emotions, experiences, and contradictions. It’s often portrayed one-dimensionally as a joyful condition brimming with love, pride, and enthusiastic selflessness. A welcome trend in contemporary fiction is to challenge these depictions with something more nuanced, honest, and raw.

These recent titles grapple with the hardships and realities of mothering— ambivalence over whether or not to have a child, the despair of postpartum depression, identity loss, worries about "measuring up," the intensity of these feelings of love and connection. This list isn't meant to be grim but to highlight voices willing to examine motherhood with candor and openness and create new conversations about this transformational experience.

Summaries provided via NYPL’s catalog, which draws from multiple sources. Click through to each book’s title for more.