Expecting Wonder by Brittany L. Bergman
2020, Broadleaf Books
5 stars (out of 5)
Book Review of “Expecting Wonder”
Expecting Wonder: The Transformative Experience of Becoming a Mother takes us on a journey with author Brittany Bergman from deciding to get pregnant to giving birth. Beautifully written, every mother or mom-to-be will relate to the fear, joy, and mystery of pregnancy, as Brittany encourages us to let go of control and embrace change. My book review of Expecting Wonder gives an enthusiastic 5 stars (out of 5)!
As a new-ish mom myself (I have a toddler daughter), I spent the summer before my daughter arrived reading several pregnancy books. What to Expect. Books on breastfeeding. Books on infant sleep. Books to make my daughter the happiest baby on the block and to keep my marriage strong. (You can see the bottom of this page for some of my book recommendations.) But what I was missing were books focused on me.
When a baby is born, a mother is born as well. Expecting Wonder takes us on this emotional and spiritual journey of becoming a mother. The physical transformation of pregnancy may be more obvious, but the identity transformation is what Brittany shares with readers.
The book is divided into three sections: one for each trimester. With eight to nine chapters per section and each chapter about six pages, I was able to journey through Brittany’s 40-week pregnancy in just a few short hours.
The First Trimester section is subtitled “Wrestling with Fear and Embracing Mystery“. I related to Brittany’s anxiety about being able to get pregnant, identified with her fears of having a miscarriage, and shared in her joy at seeing her “blueberry baby” in the first ultrasound.
The Second Trimester: Facing Uncertainty and Making Space contains the excitement of “showing”, the surprise of the gender reveal, and the fun and stress of setting up the nursery and baby registry. One of my favorite chapters was “The Sisterhood of the Full-Panel Jeans” in which Brittany describes the memories attached to each item of maternity clothing. When she shares her clothes with newly pregnant friends, she is “extending an invitation to experience the magic”. As I read the chapter, I fondly remembered my floral maternity dress that I wore on my birthday, the stretched out leggings and t-shirts that were my daily comfort clothes, and the blouses and dress pants so generously loaned to me by a friend.
The Third Trimester: Anticipating Change and Welcoming Wonder brings us to the crescendo of pregnancy: the baby showers, the marital adjustments, the birth plan, and finally the birth. As I read Brittany’s birth story, I choked back tears, remembering my own experience of birth and those hard first days and weeks afterwards. Brittany describes the picture of a community of women around her, a sisterhood of mothers, giving her energy and cheering her on as she delivered her baby from her body.
Expecting Wonder feels like that same sisterhood. Although it is just one woman’s story, there is something that almost any mother or soon-to-be mother will identify with. Pregnancy is both universal and personal: no two pregnancies are alike, yet women across cultures and history have experienced the aches and pains, the waiting, the pain, the welcome relief.
Brittany does a beautiful job sharing her experience with readers while honoring each woman’s unique journey to motherhood. While there is so much to relate to and connect with in Expecting Wonder, I wonder if a mother who did not experience pregnancy (perhaps due to adoption or surrogacy) or one who experienced years of infertility, will feel grief at the loss of the experiences described in the book. The book is published through a Christian publisher, and while the references to faith and God were not constant or overbearing, I still would not recommend this book to my non-religious friends. However, I think this book makes an ideal gift for any pregnant or new Christian mama, and I certainly look forward to re-reading it myself and giving it to friends.
Buy “Expecting Wonder”:
Other Recommended Resources:
- The Magic of Motherhood by Ashlee Gadd and the writers at Coffee + Crumbs
- The Mother Dance by Harriet Lerner
- Risen Motherhood by Emily Jensen & Laura Wifler
- And Baby Makes Three by John & Julie Gottman