Expecting Adam: A True Story of Birth, Rebirth, and Everyday Magic


Martha Beck

Expecting Adam
Editions:Kindle: $ 13.99Audiobook: $ 26.95Paperback: $ 15.63
ISBN: 0307719642
Pages: 368
Hardcover: $ 20.64
ISBN: 0812929802
Pages: 328

"He says you'll never be hurt as much by being open as you have been by remaining closed."

The messenger is a school janitor with a master's in art history who claims to be channeling "from both sides of the veil." "He" is Adam, a three-year-old who has never spoken an intelligible word.  And the message is intended for Martha Beck, Adam's mother, who doesn't know whether to make a mad dash for the door to escape a raving lunatic (after all, how many conversations like this one can you have before you stop getting dinner party invitations and start pushing a mop yourself?) or accept another in a series of life lessons from an impeccable but mysterious source.

From the moment Martha and her husband, John, accidentally conceived their second child, all hell broke loose. They were a couple obsessed with success. After years of matching IQs and test scores with less driven peers, they had two Harvard degrees apiece and were gunning for more. They'd plotted out a future in the most vaunted ivory tower of academe. But the dream had begun to disintegrate. Then, when their unborn son, Adam, was diagnosed with Down syndrome, doctors, advisers, and friends in the Harvard community warned them that if they decided to keep the baby, they would lose all hope of achieving their carefully crafted goals. Fortunately, that's exactly what happened.

Expecting Adam is a poignant, challenging, and achingly funny chronicle of the extraordinary nine months of Martha's pregnancy. By the time Adam was born, Martha and John were propelled into a world in which they were forced to redefine everything of value to them, put all their faith in miracles, and trust that they could fly without a net. And it worked.

Martha's riveting, beautifully written memoir captures the abject terror and exhilarating freedom of facing impending parentdom, being forced to question one's deepest beliefs, and rewriting life's rules. It is an unforgettable celebration of the everyday magic that connects human souls to each other.

Reviews:Dr. S. on Amazon wrote:

This is an interesting story but disappointing in terms of what I was hoping for. I've recently read the Stoper book (The Year My Son and I were Born) which I like much better because of the clarity and 'insideness' and realness of it from the mother's, Dad's and the family's perspective. This Beck book I find overly complicated and too baroque in writing style. I'm a 20+ year college prof so reading complicated material is not a challenge for me, but this story was hard to really sink my teeth into emotionally because in a way I didn't learn much about her or her husband's emotions about the whole thing. I REALLY enjoyed and recognized her very accurate portrayal of the attitude of the academy (both women and men) toward femininity, motherhood or anything that 'smacks' of traditional femininity. Nice observations. However, I wanted to know more about her coping (and her husband's) with the knowledge that Adam and his forthcoming challenges. I wanted to know more about her coping with 'expecting Adam'. How did she cope, how did she prepare, how did she/they triumph (which I assume she does, butI read about 1/2 but won't be finishing it). Also, I had a hard time working though the several times where she seemed to ignore her major health problems associated with her pregnancy -- random fainting, extreme light headedness and nausea) and yet she refused to seek help at some key times, or let herself get too incapacitated to seek help or follow through (such as going to the emergency room or calling someone to take her). I had too many GRRRRR moments. 🙂 I understand this is her experience and I appreciate her honesty, but I found it hard to get past these passages or really understand why she wasn't more vigilant. Her experiences with supernatural or spiritual assistance at key crisis points are very interesting and profound, showing that help is there if we ask (and sometimes when we don't). I don't have any problem with that part. Just wanted to focus the lens in a slightly different direction. Anyway, all the best to her and her family. 🙂

Feistykel on Goodreads wrote:

The reviews of this made me furious. Seriously - 1 star because she ignored Gods hand reaching out to her. Who the hell are you?? How dare you? "I believe all miracles stem from God in my life" well whoop de doo.

This book inspired me, it changed my life and i can't quite explain why. I have 2 healthy children, I don't even know anyone with Downs Syndrome, but this book was full of realism and emotion. It also introduced me to the word natsukashii which also changed my life.

Why is it that religious idiots cannot be objective? Cannot be themselves? Hide behind their GOD so often? A god who lets face, if he exists doesnt really give a rats about most people. So pompous and arrogant. Infuriating!!!!

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