The Reluctant Mother: A Story No One Wants To Tell
Author: Zehra Naqvi
The Reluctant Mother is a book of rage.
Rage at being alone in your pain, having your conflict belittled, and your struggles trivialised. It is the story of a young woman who seeks to find herself in a world that constantly tries to define her and who she should be. It is the memoir of an anti-mother. A woman who doesn’t fall in love with her baby at first sight but discovers love along the way.
This book is for anyone who feels overwhelmed by the idea of ‘ideal’ motherhood. Be it a woman or a man, one way of confronting trauma is to know that you are not alone in it. To know that someone shares your story and understands your emotions and guilt that accompanies feeling anything other than ‘perfectly blissful’ about motherhood.
It is at once heart-breaking and poignant as it is hopeful and comforting. It is the story of one woman and yet the life of many. It reveals how tradition and modernity, faith and reason, pleasure and pain are all so intimately interwoven for women that their true sense of self is inevitably one of contradictions.
The book’s biggest strength lies in its rawness and honesty. Nothing but the truth stands here.
Praise for The Reluctant Mother
‘Honest, humorous, and heartwarming.’
-Milan Vohra, author
‘Is it my voice? Is it her voice? Or is it our voice? Zehra Naqvi speaks for every woman in The Reluctant Mother. Not everything is hunky-dory after the pregnancy test or pink and blue balloons and booties after motherdom. There’s reluctance to become a mother in the event of an unplanned pregnancy and post-partum depression after birth. Every relationship is tested, trying to adjust and adapt to the little one. All this and much more is captured by Naqvi, and I could feel my tears well up at many places remembering my own days as a new mother and the trials and joys it brought.’
-Rana Safvi, historian and author
‘An immensely honest and emotional take on relationships and parenting. It doesn’t take the clichéd route of self-help books, yet the layered narrative helps you to understand the complexity and beauty of a man-woman relationship. Not just for women, Zehra Naqvi’s emotional and moving storytelling is an essential read for men, too.’
-Yasser Usman, TV journalist and author
‘. . . A fresh new voice, brimful with life and real, lived experiences, redolent with the joys and sorrows of a young woman’s life, a life that is a little less ordinary and a voice that is well worth listening to.’
-Dr Rakhshanda Jalil, writer and literary historian
‘Love doesn’t always have to be gushy; it can be prickly and it can hurt. Zehra writes definitively about the two different loves of her life-her husband and her child-and how the line between them doesn’t blur. It’s refreshing to read a story of a reluctant mother, one who doesn’t subscribe to motherhood as an exalted state of being. Motherhood is exhausting and life changing and not always a blessing. It takes courage to put that out into the open.’
-Andaleeb Wajid, author
‘A realistic and poignant story about a young woman’s journey through the rites of passage. A tale of love, heartbreak, and redemption. Must-read!’
-Debeshi Gooptu Bakshi, author
‘This is every mother’s worst nightmare and every mother’s dearest moments. This is us.’
-Nazia Erum, author