You don’t realize how much pressure is put on parents, especially mothers, until you become one. No matter what choice you make, there’s someone telling you it’s the wrong one. Being a new mom is one of the most isolating experiences I’ve ever had, more so if you decide to stay at home, even MORE so if you’re doing it in a town an hour away from your family and friends. Most days I rely on friends I’ve made through a mom-group to remind me that my existence, my day to day worries, my tiny obsessions are valid and shared. These other moms spread throughout the country with kids born the same time as my daughter offer a support that I just can’t get anywhere else, because they’re going through exactly what I am, the same time I am, and at least one of them is always available with a quick response online and encouraging word.
All this to say that The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy really resonated with me. When a group called May Mothers decide to have a summer night out away from their new babies, the unthinkable happens, and one mother’s baby is abducted from his crib. Told in shifting POV, between several of the moms, and one in first-person journal entries, you get a glimpse of this special relationship between women who know relatively very little about each other but all the same share a connection that is important and unique in their varied experiences and lives. When the police begin to suspect Winnie might be involved in the disappearance of her own child it’s up to three of her mom-friends to unravel the mystery, the only people who still believe she’s innocent. But, post-partum anxieties of their own seem to muddy the waters, what is real and what isn’t becomes unclear. It’s a really great set up and I thoroughly enjoyed it right up until the big reveal which seemed a bit too rushed.
All the same, this was a solid and entertaining read that hit home for me. And in a bit of a reading drought this summer it’s the first book I’ve felt compelled to finish in months.