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You Make Me Feel Like an Unnatural Woman: Diary of a New (Older) Mother    by Judith Newman Amazon.com order for
You Make Me Feel Like an Unnatural Woman
by Judith Newman
Order:  USA  Can
Miramax, 2004 (2004)
Hardcover

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

What an utterly delightful book. Even though I had my children young, one of my daughters became a birth mother (after adopting) at 41. I can relate to the tale Judith Newman has to tell. And what a tale it is. You Make Me Feel Like an Unnatural Woman is a tribute to the adage that if we can keep our sense of humor, we can survive anything (although I'm not too sure the author's mind was always on survival). Judith became a first time mother at age forty, blessed with twin boys Augustus and Henry. Her third child is her husband, 65 year-old John who lives across town (New York City) and maintains space in her heart and bed.

The maternal urge hit the career woman in her thirties, but pregnancy did not come easily and the twins arrived seven years later. Life did a complete turn as the free-lance writer added mother to her title. The twins are as unalike as it's possible for brothers to be. Henry, of the big head and rotund body, was hell on wheels from the getgo. Augustus, skinny and slow to progress, is more pragmatic and cautious. A new mother's trials and tribulations seem insurmountable at forty, while younger women just consider them one more hurdle to jump. The author's recounting of trips to the drugstore to purchase both diaper cream and wrinkle cream is hilarious. And she became so immersed in her new role that when a diner at a nearby table discretely belched, she turned to him and called, 'Good job!'

The story that is told in You Make Me Feel Like an Unnatural Woman is an old one given a new voice - one that is fresh and funny and a complete delight to read. To reduce a life as chaotic as hers to words on a page was probably cathartic for Judith Newman, but it's a bonus for readers.

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