#CBR4 Review 07: Expecting Adam by Martha Beck

12 Jan

Expecting Adam is my mom’s book club’s next selection. My mom marketed it to me as a book about a couple, studying at Harvard, who have a child with down syndrome and the negative reactions of the Harvard community. Needless to say, I was intrigued.  Beck was a woman, studying for her PhD at Harvard, on the fast track for academic success. Pregnancy under those conditions at Harvard, and probably at many higher institutions, was seen as a sign of failure and a career ending decision. Despite the fact that Beck already had a young daughter, and was successfully completing all of her coursework, and her husband was completing his course work while spending two weeks per month in Asia as a consultant, was irrelevant. Pursuing a family simultaneously with a career was an option so thoroughly rejected by their peers that it was disheartening to read about.

Before I move on, there are two caveats to this book. The first is that the book is also about angels. And the paranormal. Beck chronicles, in detail, for about 40% of the book, the paranormal experiences she had while pregnant with Adam. So if you’re not into heavy spirituality or other worldliness, this isn’t for you. Second, Beck is now a life coach and she spends a lot of time talking about how she changed her life, now lives for joy, etc. There’s a lot of feel-good talk in the book, in case that’s not your thing.

Regardless, this book raises so many interesting issues about raising a child with a disability, and making the choice to have a child with Downs Syndrome that it’s worth a look. Also, the women’s issues raised in this book regarding how professional women can be written off for trying to have families are also pretty interesting.

Thankfully, Beck’s book is an inspirational story. She lovingly discusses how quickly she came to terms with her son’ condition. And the anecdotes about Adam today really highlight what joy he brought their family. But she can be brutally honest about her conflicted feelings during the pregnancy. It was uncomfortable to hear her thoughts on her unborn child; including thoughts that he was broken, a freak or that she was a failure for conceiving a child with Downs Syndrome.

The real value to Beck’s book is how excruciatingly honest she is while chronicling her Beck chronicles her pregnancy. It’s fascinating, really, the way the book highlights the idea that while many people are pro-choice, many people also have strong opinions about when which choice is appropriate. Her doctor, as well as her husband’s boss, and her colleagues, callously urged her to get an abortion and ignored her own person feelings on the situation. And Beck took it all ins tride.



One Response to “#CBR4 Review 07: Expecting Adam by Martha Beck”


  1. HelloKatieO’S #CBR4 Review #07: Expecting Adam by Martha Beck « Cannonball Read IV - January 12, 2012

    […] To read more… Share this:ShareTwitterFacebookEmailDiggStumbleUpon Posted by hellokatieo in 3 stars – a good book and tagged CBR4, expecting adam, hellokatieo, martha beck, nonfiction, pregnancy […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: