Ever wonder why mothers are as beloved as apple pie? It's because we put up with so much in the name of maternal devotion! For Mother's Day, give your mom (or a caring surrogate) a book that recognizes it's not all roses and show your gratitude.
1. "Waiting for Daisy: A Tale of Two Continents, Three Religions, Five Infertility Doctors, An Oscar, An Atomic Bomb, A Romantic Night and One Woman's Quest to Become a Mother," by Peggy Orenstein (Bloomsbury) -- Orenstein was a career woman who postponed starting a family and then found out that getting pregnant was not a cakewalk. Her determined quest evokes laughs and tears while bringing home the effort to which some women go to become mothers.
2. "The Early Birds," by Jenny Minton (Knopf) -- From infertility to babies by the cartload: When Jenny Minton delivered twin boys in 2002, she was more than two months ahead of her due date. Her sons spent 64 days in intensive care while Minton struggle with greif and guilt about undergoing in-vitro fertilization. The happy ending is less the point than Minton's own drive to bring those kids home.
3. "The Women Who Raised Me," by Victoria Rowell (William Morrow) -- Here's a fresh twist: a memoir about how the foster system worked. In this case several self-appointed moms stepped in to raise a little girl who became a ward of the state because of her birth mother's mental illness. That little girl, Victoria Rowell, grew up to be a mom and a successful actress (she plays Drucilla Winters on "The Young and the Restless"). This is her tribute to those kind souls.
4. "Still Life with Chickens: Starting Over in a House by the Sea," by Catherine Goldhammer (Plume) -- Her's a triple whammy: divorce, a dying father, and an unaffordable house in a rich suburb dubbed "Hearts-Are-Cold" by the author. Godlhammer buys a run-down cottage by the sea and six chickens, the last her way of luring a reluctant 12-year-old daughter for a year of renovations and recovery.
5. "Wiped: Life With a Pint-Sized Dictator," by Rebecca Eckler (Villard) -- Bridget Jones in diapers: This is definitely not your genteel mom's guide to dealing with a newborn. But Canadian journalist Eckler, author of "Knocked Up: Confessions of a Hip Mother-to-Be," helps new mothers laugh through their tears with the Mommy moments people forget to tell you: 1) You will feel like a walking, talking zombie; 2) you will obsess about the pregnancy pounds that haven't gone away, and 3) newborns can be very, very boring.
6. "Meditations for Mothers," by Denise Roy (Random House Audiobooks) -- This audiobook might be just the thing for moms who do carpools. Adapted from Roy's book, "MOMfulness: Mothering With Mindfulness, Compassion and Grace." A family therapist, mother of five and author of -- yes, you'd better believe it -- "My Monastery Is a Minivan," Roy encourages moms to bring meditation practice to their busy lives. There goes the road rage...
7. "The Makind of a Mother: Overcoming the Nine Key Challenges -- From Crib to Empty Nest," by Valerie Davis Raskin (Ballantine). Mother of three and a Chicago psychiatrist, Raskin specializes in treating the emotional needs of mothers and says she runs into a lot of low maternal self-esteem. She studied 40 moms from various backgrounds to understand their common challenges and offer her recipe for coping.
8. "And Nanny Makes Three: Mothers and Nannies Tell the Truth About Work, Love, Money and Each Other," by Jessika Auerbach (St. Martin's Press). A veteran of 19 nannies, au pairs and parttime babysitters, Auerbach admits that the interaction between moms and their surrogate caretakes is "one mother of a relationship." Her book is based on interviews with both. A working mother's resource guide, for sure!
9. "Friends & Mothers: A Novel," by Louise Limerick (St. Martin's) -- Post-partum depression is no picnic, and this novel about five mothers who meet regularly jumps into action when one of them has a mental breakdown at a shopping mall just after the birth of her second child. The mother is catatonic and the newsborn is nowhere to be found. As the story unfolds, each of her friends isforce to consider their own adaptation to motherhood and their failure to prevent what happened.
10. "Black & White," by Dani Shapiro (Knopf). Clara Brodeur hasn't seen her mother Ruth, a famous art photographer, for 14 yearse -- and with good reason. Ruth made the young Clara the subject of her photos and a platform for her art when she was young. Now, with Ruth dying from cancer, the two are reunited in a time of reckoning and healing, which poses the issue of how and will we forgive our mothers for their transgressions.