Molly Caro May’s lyrical memoir, Body Full of Stars, is an eloquent series of vignettes that recounts May’s battle and transformation following the birth of her eldest daughter, Eula.
“The miracle of birth” and the “bond between mother and daughter” have been constants in the female story throughout time. But underneath this idyllic narrative lie untold stories of less glamorous truths like postpartum depression, exhaustion, physical challenges, and the inherent personal toll that stepping into parenthood takes upon even the most stable.
What begins as May’s frank account of some of her postpartum “challenges,” including incontinence, rage, hypothyroidism, and the tearing apart of her closest relationships, becomes a thought-provoking critique of larger issues. She explores society’s ancient unattainable standards for women, the unacknowledged struggles of men in this cycle, western medicine’s mismanagement of postpartum maladies, and the limitations of American health insurance.
Following her pregnancy May struggles to be the mother she wants to be while healing herself, forming a deeper understanding with her own mother, and paving new ground in her relationship with her husband. But in order to heal she must explore her origins as a woman, inevitably connecting with the embedded pains of women over time, beginning with Mother Earth.
The book’s nexus comes in this passage: “We have a body full of stars … Feminine awareness must descend downward into the dark loam before it can ascend. Dark and light co-exist. Inconsistency is how we are made. We are of the moon, and the moon does not present one way all the time. We are equal to men…”
The Bozeman writer’s second memoir offers an insightful and empowering read for anyone who has ever struggled with self-forgiveness, skewed perceptions, perfectionism, and alienation. Body Full of Stars teaches about acceptance, surrender, honesty, resilience, and self love throughout life’s hardest trials/greatest opportunities for growth.
– Brynn Cadigan