Book Review: The Underside of Joy

Does a birth mother always have an inherent right to her own children? Initially, I might say, “Yes, of course, as long as she is of sound mind.” But, The Underside of Joy by Sere Prince Halverson addresses this question and brought me to a conclusion I did not expect.

Source: via Jenna on Pinterest

The Underside of Joy takes a seemingly cut and dry situation and turns in on its head. A woman takes on the responsibility of raising another woman’s children, and she does so with love, devotion and gratitude. Then, the birth mother returns to claim the children she abandoned and now feels she is entitled to. The rest is the struggle between these two women to overcome tragedy, find what is just and look out for the best interest of their children. But who really has the right to call themselves “mom”?

One of the more interesting aspects of this book was its look at postpartum depression. While this is not one of the highlighted themes of the novel, it is one I could not overlook. I have not suffered this horrible disease myself, but I can assure you it was one of my biggest fears about becoming a mother. What if I became one of the thousands of women who battle this issue? What if I hurt my baby? What if I abandoned my family? As a sufferer from an anxiety disorder, these fears were real for me. Through the grace of God and support from family and friends, I did not fall into depression, but the fear of PPD remains. The Underside of Joy does a fantastic job of breaching this topic and enabling women to talk about it. It brings to light many facets of PPD and those whom it affects.

While reading a book that touches on PPD doesn’t sound like the most desirable of things to read about, I would still recommend it to a friend; it has plenty of topics that are sure to grab the attention of many readers.

Whether you have suffer from PPD, have biological children, have adopted children, lost someone you love, have trouble with forgiveness, or just like reading books that don’t follow any formula you’ve read before, you’ll find pleasure reading The Underside of Joy.

While I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review, all opinions expressed are my own.
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  1. says

    As a sufferer of PPD and resulting lasting depression, it is a terrifying thing. I never had the urge to hurt my son, thank God, but I often hurt myself. I’ve debated doing a post about it but I do feel a lot of shame about it, which is ridiculous. I shouldn’t, but I do. On the plus side, I feel stronger now. I recognize and deal with my feelings better. I keep trying to find positives through all this but it’s hard.