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Expecting Adam: A True Story of Birth,…

Expecting Adam: A True Story of Birth, Rebirth, and Everyday Magic (1999)

by Martha Beck

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I love it when overly intellectual people have to rely on unscientific phenomenons like faith and hope and magic. I think being able to let go of factual reasoning and open our minds to blind trust stretches our narrow minded boundaries a little wider. Beck speaks to having a premonition before her son, Adam, was born. There had been almost mystic signs he was not going to be an ordinary child. Throughout Beck's pregnancy inexplicable events pushed her to believe in decidedly unscientific miracles. The problem is both Beck and her husband, John, were obsessed with facts. Overly driven to be successful (two Harvard degrees each), they couldn't wrap their brains around giving birth to a Down syndrome baby. Expecting Adam is the story of letting go to perfection; the releasing of ambitions; the saying goodbye to lofty goals...and saying hello to an angel. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Nov 16, 2018 |
Incredible story. Loved it. ( )
  zaya1 | Aug 31, 2017 |
What a great book! It is a memoire that can be enjoyed on a few levels, and I enjoyed it on all of them. The author, Martha Beck, writes about the birth of her second child, conceived when she and her husband were both pursuing fast track, combined Masters/Phd programs at Harvard. Pregnancy brings with it an array of unpleasant physical symptoms that go far beyond simple morning sickness, but also a number of wonderful, unexplainable, otherwordly occurences. Partway through the pregnancy, amniocentesis shows that the baby has Down syndrome. Against the advice of doctors and academic advisors, she and her husband decide to continue the pregnancy. Before the child is born, the couple realize that both of them have been having similar, unexplainable experiences. Over time, they gradually let go of their previous, driven, academic selves and begin to accept a different reality. The changes they experience are profound, as are the lessons they learn from their son after he is born. If this was all there was to the book, it would be a good, worthwhile read. What makes it a 5-star, must-read book is the fact that Marth Beck is very funny. Very funny. This book goes onto my all time favorite book shelf. ( )
  Eye_Gee | May 8, 2017 |
The subtitle of this memoir is: A True Story of Birth, Rebirth, and Everyday Magic.

John and Martha Beck were both working on their Ph.Ds at Harvard when they conceived their second child. Martha suffered severe nausea throughout the pregnancy, as she had with the couple’s first child, and the pressure to succeed at Harvard caused her to do everything she could to hide her condition from everyone but immediate family way past the time when most pregnant women would happily show their “baby bump.” Still, even that additional stress didn’t fully explain how “different” she felt, or the things she experienced. When she learned the baby she carried had Down syndrome, she fought against her doctors and virtually everyone she knew to continue the pregnancy. She couldn’t explain it, but she knew Adam would be fine.

Beck writes well, and she is very honest about what she went through. She has a wonderful way of expressing herself. Her self-deprecating humor is refreshing, and a few scenes had me laughing out loud. Many of the experiences she relates are simply “unbelievable” and yet I fully believe in the sincerity of her memoir. ( )
  BookConcierge | Apr 30, 2017 |
I thought I would like this book at first. It seemed like it was going to be a good autobiographical account of one women's journey of having a Down's syndrome son. It was nothing more than a combination of self congratulatory declarations, melodramatic whinings and rantings on Mormonism, grandiose pronouncements of how educated/smart she was, psychobabble mumbo jumbo and cutesy little jokes. Ugh. This book got rave reviews on Amazon, in particular about Beck's style of writing. I think she's a terrible writer! Another reviewer somewhere wrote that there is something false about her. I agree. This book is a waste, pass on this one. ( )
  homeschoolmimzi | Nov 28, 2016 |
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This happened when Adam was about three years old.
John and I disagree about the precise moment we lost control of our lives. He thinks it was the car accident in New Hampshire. I say it was two weeks before that, when Adam was conceived. Either way, it was sometime in September of 1987, which ever since has been known in our family history as the month It All Went to Hell.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0425174484, Paperback)

Expecting Adam is an autobiographical tale of an academically oriented Harvard couple who conceive a baby with Down's syndrome and decide to carry him to term. Despite everything Martha Beck and her husband John know about themselves and their belief system, when Martha gets accidentally pregnant and the fetus is discovered to have Down's syndrome, the Becks find they cannot even consider abortion. The presence of the fetus that they each, privately, believe is a familiar being named Adam is too strong. As Martha's terribly difficult pregnancy progresses, odd coincidences and paranormal experiences begin to occur for both Martha and John, though for months they don't share them with each other. Martha's pregnancy and Adam (once born) become the catalyst for tremendous life changes for the Becks.

Focusing primarily on the pregnancy but floating back and forth between the present and recent and distant past, Martha Beck's well-written, down-to-earth, funny, heart-rending, and tender book transcends the cloying tone of much spiritual literature. Beck is trained as a methodical academician. Because of her step-by-step explanation of her own progress from doubt to belief, she feels like a reliable witness, and even the most skeptical readers may begin to doubt their senses. When she describes an out-of-body experience, we, too, feel ourselves transported to a pungent, noisy hawker center in Singapore. We, too, feel calming, invisible, supporting hands when she falls. Yet, whether or not readers believe in Beck's experiences is ultimately a moot point. There is no doubt that Adam--a boy who sees the world as a series of connections between people who love each other--is a tremendous gift to Beck, her family, and all who have the honor of knowing him. --Ericka Lutz

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:58 -0400)

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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.… (more)

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