Unexpected: A Postpartum Memoir


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Unexpected is a beautifully written, candid memoir written by Emily Mosqueda about her struggle with postpartum depression and anxiety after the birth of her second daughter. As a mother of three, I was able to relate to so many of the struggles Emily went through throughout her pregnancy journey and afterward. There were times, in fact, when I was reading her story that I wanted to reach out and just give her a hug because I could feel her emotional pain.

The book starts off in the delivery room where she gives birth to her first daughter, Corazón. The experience sounded like it was euphoric with everything going right. Emily describes herself as floating “in wonderment” and sitting “tall in my new status as mother.” Rising to the demands of motherhood and working part-time, Emily is able to find some normalcy in her life with the help of family

In 2016, Emily becomes pregnant with her second daughter, Juliet. This pregnancy ends up being much different than her first, partly because she has an expressive two-year-old who demands her attention, and just keeping up with her is a chore. Emily’s second delivery includes a drug used to induce labor called Pitocin, crippling contractions, and Emily pleading for an epidural. In this new life of having two children instead of one, Emily and her husband Luke learn that one plus one doesn’t exactly equal two when it comes to children. But they manage, and Emily goes back to work with a full caseload as a bilingual speech pathologist. She is able to go to acupuncture sessions to replenish her body and in doing so, releases a lot of stress. Sometimes, the release of this stress comes out in the form of crying and irritability after the sessions. Emily finds she is having meltdowns more often and feels overwhelmed. There is a chapter in the book about her Latino heritage in which she feels like motherhood should feel natural to Latinas and doesn’t understand why she feels so much emotional distress.

One of the qualities that Emily has that I really respect is her ability to be self-aware and see how her behavior affects those around her. Emily tries everything, from healing massages to reiki and Chinese herbs. Luke and Emily even hire a nanny to help out and Emily takes some time off to attend a retreat with a small group of women in Montana. Unexpected unfolds Emily’s story little by little and the reader will imagine walking alongside Emily as she makes some difficult life decisions and finds some wonderful life discoveries. This is a book that many women, especially mothers, will relate to and it can certainly help a new mother find, even if it’s just a little, peace with her own postnatal journey. A book that will captivate its readers from cover to cover.

Reviewed by: Kristi Elizabeth

Author: Emily Adler Mosqueda

Star count: 4/5

Format: Trade

Page count: 133 pages

Publisher: Demeter

Publish Date: February 6, 2023

ISBN: 9781772584257

Buy This Book: Bookshop.org

Issue: April 2023

Category: Parenting & Families