When Angela Garbes was on staff at The Stranger, she pitched a feature that, at first, sounded odd. She wanted to write about being a food writer while also being a new mom, a piece about thinking about eating and making food while also literally making food for her baby to eat—making it out of her own body.
Because Angela is an amazing writer—conversational, funny, grounded, well-read, brave, curious—it was obvious that, even if not many people were likely to read about her using her own body to make food for her child, it was going to be interesting. It would be good. Shows what I know. "Interesting" and "good" don't begin to cover it.
We called the piece "The More I Learn About Breast Milk, the More Amazed I Am," and it got so many readers that our internal system for measuring readers could not measure them all. The readership was literally off the chart. People throughout Eastern Europe were reading it. People who live on little islands in the middle of the sea were reading it. Alyssa Milano read it—and tweeted about it. I just checked and someone in Puyallup is reading it right now, as well as someone in Provo, Utah. People reading it for the first time continue to recommend it to their friends and share it on Facebook.
It quickly became the most-read piece The Stranger had ever published.
Here was the art that accompanied it:
After that piece, Angela wrote a piece about miscarriages (in which she wonders, among other things, why the hell we call them "miscarriages"), which was also expansive while personal, data-driven while also historical, and an amazing piece of writing itself.
On the strength of those two pieces, she got a book deal. It's hard to believe now that at one point in her career, she thought she'd given up on writing.
Here's the art that accompanied the piece on miscarriages:
She quit her job at The Stranger to focus exclusively on writing her book. At first it was going to be called Made of Ourselves (probably inspired by that sentence about butts), but later in the process the title changed to Like a Mother.
And guess what? Like a Mother comes out three weeks from today!! Follow that link to preorder it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, Books-a-Million, or 800ceoread.
Here's the cover:
The Seattle launch of the book will be on June 13 at The Summit, where Garbes will appear in conversation with Lindy West. Town Hall is organizing that event. Town Hall calls Like a Mother a "badass, feminist, and personal deep-dive into the science and culture of pregnancy and early motherhood that debunks myths and dated assumptions."
Garbes will read from the book again on June 13 at Third Place Books Seward Park.
(For any Garbes fans in New York City: She appears in conversation with Emily Gould on June 4 in Fort Greene. For Garbes fans in Portland, she appears in conversation with Meaghan O'Connell on July 31 at Powell's Books.)
I haven't seen a final copy of the book yet, but Publisher's Weekly says:
Spurred by frustration as a first-time mother receiving an overwhelming amount of advice from doctors, books, and the internet that was “definitive yet contradictory” and “inextricably tied to the language of morality,” Garbes has created an empowering resource “rooted in emerging science and real-life stories.” In each chapter, she shares up-to-date, well-substantiated information about women’s physical and mental health, aiming to help readers reduce their anxiety and make truly informed choices... Throughout this thoughtful book, she speaks to her readers as peers, providing affirmation that their experiences are important and that they are not alone.
City Arts published this gorgeous drawing of Garbes by Kathryn Rathke (how does Rathke do that?), and Seattle Magazine just published this photo of Garbes posing when she was pregnant with her second child, who was born a few months ago.
She'll be on tomorrow's episode of our podcast Blabbermouth, hosted by Eli Sanders. And on Thursday, she'll be performing an original five-minute piece about motherhood at the Factory party KIDS/NO KIDS.