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What to expect

From pasties to postpartum and everything in between

No one said motherhood would be easy. For Adiba Nelson, the journey to parenthood started with a big bang and continues with a breakdown (or two) and several “why?” questions for God.

Witty and bold, Afro-Latina Adiba grew up in survival mode. Her sometimes complicated relationship with her strong-willed, vibrant, religious mother marked her views of mothering and love. When a chance encounter with a tall-ish, brown-skinned brotha at Ruby Tuesday’s right before closing time collided with a Jill Scott song and the right time of the month, Adiba found herself unexpectedly pregnant. She also found herself unexpectedly falling into the same relationship patterns of the matriarchs before her—the ones she swore she’d never end up in.

Mom to a new baby with high medical needs and with a slew of hardships that just won’t quit, she set out on a reckoning that was just as generational as it was personal. Along the way, Adiba never loses her heart or her humor. This is a true love story, but the kind about a woman loving herself enough to change the course of her life for herself, her child, and the women after her as well as before. From pasties to postpartum depression, Ain’t That A Mother is not your average motherhood memoir—and Adiba is not your average mother.

The in-between moments and the self-revelations are where this bold and brilliant story of love, family secrets, and lots of “what the…?” really shines. Just like parenting, the story is messy, but the reward is incredibly satisfying.

Critics Review

  • “The fight for self-love and its impact on parenting is profound. I felt myself cheering for Nelson and her daughter Emory while reflecting on my own experiences. Nelson helps us to question the ‘things we do in life based on personal history and desires for the future’ while she affirms for all of us: ‘I am worthy of more. I am enough.’”

    Linden Review
  • Ain’t That a Mother is the most honest, most hilarious, most unapologetic book about motherhood I’ve ever read. It’s the book I desperately needed twenty-plus years ago when my mothering journey began. Adiba Nelson’s story of faith, discrimination, trauma, love, loss, and, ultimately, healing, totally reinvents the motherhood memoir. Nelson is a survivor and a masterful storyteller. Her magnificent, unabashed voice and big heart will grab you from the very first page.”

    Deesha Philyaw, author of the National Book Award finalist The Secret Lives of Church Ladies
  • Ain’t That A Mother is a treasure-filled gold mine of a book that’ll leave you alternately teary-eyed and clutching your stomach and your pearls. What a clear-eyed, wisdom-filled, heart-led, emotional journey in the shoes of this mama bear, this lover, this advocate, this mover, this passionate woman. Brava!”

    Denene Millner, New York Times bestselling author of My Brown Baby: On the Joys and Challenges of Raising African American Children
  • “Adiba Nelson is all of us. Navigating the intersections of life with sometimes nothing more than hope in one hand and grace in the other. Her authenticity leaps off the page as she expertly affirms for us that grief and joy and every emotion in between can coexist.”

    Tracey Michae'l Lewis-Giggetts, author of Black Joy: Stories of Resistance, Resilience, and Restoration
  • “In Ain’t That A Mother, Adiba’s struggles and triumphs come to life on the page. Around every corner she faces another ‘I can’t f’ing believe it’ scenario where she must put up with less than she deserves or push through against her own better judgement. This is a story of a woman taking her destiny into her own hands, finding worth, compassion, and love deep inside, and finally granting herself the fullness of life that she offers so completely to her daughter every day. Adiba is a role model for how to love.”

    Ashleigh Renard, author of Swing
  • “Adiba’s struggles and triumphs come to life on the page…This is a story of a woman taking her destiny into her own hands, finding worth, compassion, and love deep inside, and finally granting herself the fullness of life that she offers so completely to her daughter every day. Adiba is a role model for how to love.”

    Ashleigh Renard, author of Swing

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