BODY FULL OF STARS

Molly Caro May

What if labor does not end with pregnancy but continues into a mother’s postpartum life? How can the fiercest love for your child and the deepest wells of grief coexist in the same moment? How has society neglected honest conversation around the significant physical changes new mothers experience? Could real healing occur if generations of women were fluent in the language of their bodies?

Molly Caro May grapples with these questions as she undergoes several unexpected health issues―pelvic-floor dysfunction, incontinence, hormonal imbalance―after the birth of her first child, Eula. While she and her husband navigate the ups and downs of new parenthood,

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What if labor does not end with pregnancy but continues into a mother’s postpartum life? How can the fiercest love for your child and the deepest wells of grief coexist in the same moment? How has society neglected honest conversation around the significant physical changes new mothers experience? Could real healing occur if generations of women were fluent in the language of their bodies?

Molly Caro May grapples with these questions as she undergoes several unexpected health issues―pelvic-floor dysfunction, incontinence, hormonal imbalance―after the birth of her first child, Eula. While she and her husband navigate the ups and downs of new parenthood, May moves between shock, sadness, and anger over her body’s betrayal. She finally identifies the root of her struggle as premenstrual dysphoric disorder and so begins her exploration of what she calls female rage. The process leads May to an overdue conversation with her body in an attempt to balance the physical changes she experiences with the emotional landscape opening up before her.

Body Full of Stars is dark and tender, honest and corporeal. It reveals deeper truths about how disconnected many modern women are from their bodies. Most of all, it is a celebration of the greatest story of all time: mothers and daughters, partners and co-parents, and the feminine power surging beneath it all.

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  • Counterpoint Press
  • Hardcover
  • January 2018
  • 272 Pages
  • 9781619024892

Buy the Book

$26.00

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About Molly Caro May

Molly Caro May is the author of The Map of Enough. She is the cofounder of the Thunderhead Writers’ Collective and received a writing fellowship at the Taft Nicholson Environmental Humanities Center. She lives in Montana with her husband, two young daughters, and a Great Dane mutt.

Author Website

Praise

A Best Book of 2018 (So Far), selected by Real Simple

“May’s writing is intensely, beautifully visceral and she brings a new perspective to the postpartum period.”BookRiot, “Books About Parenting that Tell It Like It Is”

“In this raw and lyrical book, the author holds nothing back. From the blinding rages to the blackest emotional abysses, she records all with an eloquence that is both powerful and restorative . . . A searingly eloquent memoir.”Kirkus Reviews  

“What a beautiful, heart-filled, and honest account of motherhood and womanhood overall. We need more brave voices like Molly Caro May’s.”Abby Epstein and Ricki Lake, creators of The Business of Being Born and authors of Your Best Birth

Discussion Questions

1. The book opens with two epigraphs, one of which states, “what we profoundly need are rituals that take into regard the blood, the shock, the heat, the shit, the anguish, the irritation, the glory, the earnestness of the female body.” Later, May details how she makes “space to go within every single day,” imagining herself with a weighted yoke around her body. What do you think this ritual of “going within” means for May? Do you have your own rituals toward your body, gender, or family? How else can catharsis be possible for mothers and women more generally?

2. May frequently goes into nature when emotionally or physically distraught. Why do you think that is? What is the connection, if any, between the experience of postpartum and going outdoors?

3. Discuss the presence of rage and femininity in Body Full of Stars. How do rage and femininity interact in this book? How do they impact Molly’s beginning as a mother?

4. Did Body Full of Stars portray rage in way you haven’t read before? Why do you believe female anger is so under-voiced?

 5. Body Full of Stars examines the difficult and frequently unspoken-of topic of postpartum struggles. How might this memoir be a resource for new parents, doctors, nurses, and others? Why is it important to speak frankly on this subject?

6. If you are a parent, what kind of reactions did you have while reading Body Full of Stars? If you aren’t a parent, did your reading of this memoir differ from those of the parents in the group and, if so, how?

7. Discuss May’s style of writing. Does it differ from other books you’ve read about parenthood, birth, and transition? How? What impact does the style have on your experience reading the book?