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What is Motherhood in the Light of “Motherhood” book by Sheila Heti

by | Motherhood

Motherhood is a time of overwhelming emotions. It is sometimes soul-sucking, inspiring and also gives purpose to life. It makes the new mother question everything while giving the feeling that you know everything.

Motherhood is not only about having a baby. It is about internal feelings and self-development. Now laws are being enforced to let woman decide when she wants to become a mother.

motherhood book

Taking the motherhood topic one step ahead, Sheila Heti invents that motherhood not only gives feeling and a sense of responsibility, it also snatches a lot from a woman. Read on to learn more about Motherhood and the concepts of Sheila Heti.

What is Motherhood?

Embracing motherhood means being in the state of being a mother. A woman is called a mother when she has a baby, whether he is her child, adopted, or step-child. Mothers play a huge role in their children’s lives. She loves them, takes care of them, teaches them, and so much more.

woman, mother, child

The way a child grows up and what kind of man he turns into largely depends on the role of their parents and the caregiver. So, no one takes the role of mother for granted in a child’s life. With such a role, the responsibilities become double, and women need to embrace motherhood while leaving the inner child behind.

Some Facts of Motherhood

Motherhood brings lots of changes in life. It can include physical, emotional as well as lifestyle. Here are a few things you will come across when you embrace womanhood completely.

You will have No Time for Yourself

When your baby wakes up in the morning, the same moment your working days start. Your duty will keep you going until the baby goes to sleep again. Even if your kid is used to taking tasks during the day, there will be many baby-oriented tasks that you will have to accomplish. These tasks include sterilizing milk bottles, washing clothes, cleaning, and many more.

clock, pocket watch, clockwork

You need to expect washing machines to run every day because of the baby’s vomiting, poop, etc. however, always be ready with other sets of clothes.

You will be Exhausted Sometimes

During the first delivery, it feels like the responsibility has increased to a greater extent, and you can feel exhausted every day. For the first month of life, babies do not have any concept of night and day. So they can stay awake for hours at night. You should always be ready to play with your little one for hours at night for at least six months.

Breastfeeding is Tough

While attending parenting classes, it might seem that breastfeeding is quite easy. When you experience it practically, you will realize that it is not easy and can take up to six weeks to learn and get used to it.

Motherhood requires lots of sacrifices, including your leisure and comfort. If you find breastfeeding impossible, you can also express milk for your baby. This is a better alternative but make sure that he is getting the best possible milk.

Motherhood Changes Priorities completely

After embracing motherhood, you might be surprised to see how your priorities change. When you see your little one, it will feel like you have entered a new world. In case you are planning to rush back to your job after delivery, think about it twice because it is possible that you might find other tasks more important than your next paycheck.

All Babies are Different

If you are having a second baby and think it is going to be easy as you have experienced before, it is possible that this might not happen. What works for one baby might not work for the other baby. For instance, one baby may like to sleep in the cradle during the day, while the second one prefers to sleep in bed, whether it’s day or night. As a mother, you must understand what your baby likes to do.

Who is Sheila Heti?

She is a well-known Canadian writer. Till the date, she has shelved her ten books, including non-fiction and fiction novels. Her famous books include Pure colors and Motherhood. She was acknowledged in “The New Vanguard” by the New York Times in the catalog of 15 influential writers. Her books have been translated into different languages. Sheila Heti has been New York times bestseller women for daring novel like Motherhood.

Among all books, motherhood was chosen by the book critics in the New York Magazine as one of the most impactful books of 2018. Till now, this book is considered one of the best books to acknowledge what exactly motherhood is. What it gives and what it makes a woman give up. Heti is bestseller women in clothes with new novel form for what she managed to won Heti international acclaim.

What is a Book Motherhood About?

In her best-selling book, Motherhood, Sheila Heti questions what is gained and what she loses when a woman embraces motherhood. Heti writes it is a treatment and the most consequential decision of early adulthood.

paper, heart, symbol

However, with the originality of words, honesty, and humor, Heti won many awards and international acclamation.

In the novel, a friend of an unknown narrator asks her when she will embrace motherhood. The narrator of Heti’s lovely, inspiring and intimate novel considered whether she would ever do it. In the narrative, which is extended to a few years, the narrator is cast under the influence of her peers, partner, and her duties to her elders and towards herself, the narrator struggles to make wise and moral choice.

After seeking guidance and light from philosophy, mysticism, body, and chances made, she discovered the answer more closely. Motherhood novel by Sheila Heti is a courageous, stark, and full of emotions original novel that sparks unusual conversations about womanhood and parenthood. Moreover, it also sheds light on how and for whom we should live.

Some Major Ideas in Motherhood by Sheila Heti

Sheila Heti is an influential figure in Canada due to her aspiring thoughts and addressing the unusual side of motherhood. Indeed, motherhood is an overwhelming time period. It gives a lot to a woman, but it takes away a lot from her as well, which changes her life permanently.

Motherhood is always taken as a good and best time of life, but no one considered if the woman wanted to be a mother if she was even ready. Considering all these issues, Sheila Heti penned down her thoughts in her book Motherhood. Motherhood is indeed a riveting story due as Heti contrasts societal expectation with philosophical feminist fiction.

happy, motherhood, kid

First of all, in the book Motherhood, Sheila Heti says that a woman not only changes physically but also alters her code of life. She exchanges her public significance for a wide range of private meanings. These changes are so minor for outsiders that they do not even identify how far she has changed.

If you go through online book-selling shops and even Amazon, you will realize that there are thousands of books present on motherhood, mothering, and treating parents. As the mother approaches, the rate of books piling up rises. It may be due to the ordinary discussion and selection of topics. Sheila Heti wrings revelation surely spark lively conversations about womanhood.

On the contrary to all the views, motherhood is a different book written by different approaches in the genre of motherhood. In Motherhood, Sheila Heti addresses mothering as an actual literary topic, even though this is an extensive novel.

It is a meandering story of the women’s decision not to become ordinary and those who suffer daily. Heti is a Canadian author of many novels, which usually take a bare-souled, as well as a first-person approach to the life of an aspiring writer who is looking for peace and a place for herself in the world.

Heti has written 300 pages in this novel in which she chronicles her circuitous and discursive indecisions regarding motherhood. She addresses the question through the narrator does she want a child? Does she want a child, but is her husband willing to have another baby? Does the narrator want to work? Or if she is willing to please her mother? Moreover, she also addresses if they will make life better and what would be the status of women without a child. A woman without a child can never be by herself.

mother, baby, child

According to Heti, women who do not have children until their late 20s or 30s know what life looks like without children. They can be better judges. Shortly, she stated that the women with children pity the women who do not have children. These women think that they are sad and empty. They compel them to follow their path and have children.

The opposite side of this situation that Heti observed is that the women who do not have children are more suspicious about others’ views. It is because when we give birth, we give birth to not only a child but also a new version of ourselves.

The Heart of Motherhood

The main idea discussed in Sheila Heti’s Motherhood is that you can never know how it feels to have a baby and when you have a baby, whatever you think about the baby is biased. This case remains consistent unless you hate your baby and the authority of the regretful parent is overwhelming.

Apart from that, Heti questions when everyone having a baby tells how good it is to have a baby, is it convincing or brainwashing? Is it knowledge or false consciousness? In all these situations of having or not having the baby, there are women who think she has an incisive eye, then there is Heti. Then comes the woman with all the experiences. Can all these women be right and hear one another? It implies that there is nothing laid out plainly. Instead, Heti is also working to uncover the mystery of the kid who has not been born yet.

Motherhood books are actually prophylactic. It is a writing project that the writer has written at the age of 36, which pushes off the probability of conception until her age obviates the issue. In other words, some people consider this book a good way to kill time, and it reads like one after you have read 60 pages.

Limitation of Time

Next, Heti jumps to the concept of time in the life of women. The narrator complains that she wants to be free and needs a huge amount of time to work. However, according to Heti, the most common problem with women is that they do not give themselves enough time and space to allow themselves to be themselves.

Further, she says that having a child soothes the compulsion to give oneself nothing and give it the name of virtue and fortune. Motherhood, the book, is a reflection of Hait’s freedom of the time and space that she has prepared for herself, which she utilizes to pen down her thoughts.

If you deeply analyze the writing style of Motherhood by Heti, you will realize that she already writes like a mother. Her almost all works conveniently fit into a category of books of love and mother literature.

Heti’s books are usually discursive and epigrammatic. They do not have chapters, but the short section is occupied with dozens of paragraphs. They are a constant and elegant solution to the constantly interrupting child.

In the Book, Motherhood, sometimes it seems that the narrator is talking to herself in such a private or hermetic style that the world around her. With different examples of motherhood and womanhood and many arguments on these subjects, she tries to convince herself of certain concepts.

In the entire novel, the oddest example to witness is when she says I wonder how I managed to pass through my childbearing age without having a child. She is writing this at the age of 40. Indeed, forty is a heavy age to have a child, but the writer forgets that she is using the age as symbolic instead of literal meaning. It implies that the narrator is unaware of the fact that many women conceive after 40.

Heti has also quoted a line from her famous book “How should a person be?” which is an arch declaration that she is willing to live a simple life in a simple place where there is only one example of everything. It is because motherhood seems like a dispatch from a single place, and the island is so correspondent that it can barely keep up with the latest. Anyhow reading the book Motherhood by Heti also becomes increasingly conspicuous that in the novels’ world, there is no example other than the writer herself.


Motherhood seems to be one of the most beautiful times of life when a woman holds her baby in her hands for the first time in her life. This is a typical saying and situation. Forever this is not the case for everyone.

There are some women who like to be logical instead of going with the flow or following stereotypes. It is evident in the book Motherhood by Sheila Heti, in which she questions if women should have a child or not. She discusses when a woman receives a lot in the form of a baby and motherhood, there are a series of things that change in her life. Sometimes she has to make lots of sacrifices to raise her baby. Anyhow, people surely enjoy Sheila Heti’s fractal and starkly original novel about modern woman’s moral.


Why is motherhood so Prestigious?

There is no other bond than mother and child. For a mother, a child always remains her baby no matter how old he or she has become. Mother is also a young woman with lots of dreams and ambitions. However, when she embraces motherhood, suddenly, her priorities change. Instead of following her dreams blindly, she puts the needs of her baby ahead. This is what makes motherhood challenging and prestigious at the same time.

Other Books like Motherhood by Sheila Heti?

If you are inspired or even offended by the book Motherhood by Sheila Heti, you can go through some other publications with similar themes to compare and get your answers. Here are some most talked about books with the theme of motherhood that you can consider:

    • A life’s work: On becoming a mother

    • Regretting motherhood

    • Mother of all questions

    • The perfect mother

    • How should a person be

What is the Role of Mother in Society Building?

Mothers are always the first friend and teachers of the kid. Mothers are the one who teaches them basic ethics and discipline and tells the difference between good and bad. They are primary determinants of a child’s nature and how they are going to contribute to society. Therefore, mothers play a crucial role in building a good society. 

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