The Fifth Trimester is my favorite new title for parents. The book’s author, Lauren Smith Brody, tackles the incredibly tricky, highly important, but often buried period when a mother returns to work, what she calls the fifth trimester. What I love most about this book is that Smith Brody works hard and succeeds at providing all of the information that a working mother needs to make the decisions that suit her best. She collected 700+ surveys from working mothers across a wide range of careers, socioeconomic situations, and domestic situations and interviewed some experts (including me!). Somehow, she managed to distill all of this information into what feels like a community of insightful fellow working mothers that lives in the pages of a book.
Smith Brody’s agenda here is to support as much balance and good health and good work as possible. Nothing more. It is incredibly difficult to write with each individual reader’s best interest in mind which is why so many well-meaning parenting titles fall in to the trap of promoting an overly simplistic, one-size-fits-no-actual-person pseudosolution. Not this book. Lauren knows from her own experience as a mother with a big job and big ambition how important it is to be lifted up and respected and actually supported rather than condescended to and devalued. I am so so pleased to have this book to offer as a resource to my patients and my friends.