Ready for Air by Kate Hopper

ready-for-air-mainI read by the light of the moon. My husband, who has been by my side as I turned one page after the other between unpolished fingertips so many times, knows not to interrupt.

Years ago, when we were first married and were trying to figure out the ins and out of merging our routines, negotiating our ways, creating our together, I wanted him to turn off the TV at night and he wanted me to close my book. It seemed so very important to work this out. But today we know better and lay side by side beneath cozy lavender covers, our puppy at our feet and our together marked by the sounds of the TV punctuated by my page turns.

I’m reading Kate Hopper’s new memoir, Ready for Air. Its been awhile since I’ve read true memoir. Where memories are laced together with the past and the what’s importants are told, explained, and threaded one beautiful word at a time.

I know Kate. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her in person, hearing her read her words. She’s lovely.

But I didn’t know this part of her story, and I’m devouring it.

Ready for Air is about Kate’s first pregnancy, the preeclampsia that led to her baby Stella being born prematurely, and her journey through the NICU and motherhood.

As I read Kate’s story, I realize how much I didn’t know. This often happens when you learn someone’s story. It’s these details — preeclampsia, preemie, NICU, sepsis — that mark our differences, shake our knowns.

But beneath this layer is something equally powerful, the realization that although our experiences are different, our stories are really more the same than they are different. The harrowing self doubt, the difficulty to breastfeed, the not knowing, the not sleeping. The urge to protect our babies that begins to shade our views. These are things that draw us all together as mothers and can only be shared once we tell our stories, and once we listen to each other.

Kate lives near me, so after I finish her book, we meet for lunch. I hug her tight. This is the other power of memoir – making the new known, familiar, and seen.

Kate tells a story I knew nothing about, but one that needs to be told and shared. And this is what she tells me over delicious eggs and weak coffee. Kate says, “I hope any mother can pick my book up and read it and know that birth stories are powerful, that her specific story is powerful. I hope that in reading my story, mothers will learn about preemies and preeclampsia, yes. But mostly, I hope that women will realize that their stories need to be told and listened to. Even hard ones.”

This belief  about women and storytelling shines through Kate's words. So when she says, “Women are strong and can handle sharing these stories.” I believe in and am inspired by her, and I know that you will be, too.

To find out more about Kate, visit her blog Motherhood and Words, follow her on Facebook and Twitter and, of course, buy Ready for Air.

What do you think?

Ready for Air by Kate Hopper

Galit Breen is the author of Kindness Wins, a simple no-nonsense guide to teaching our kids how to be kind online. She has a master's degree in education and a bachelor's degree in human development and was a classroom and reading teacher for ten years. In 2009, she launched a career as a freelance writer entrenched in social media. Since then, her work has been featured in various online magazines including Brain, Child, The Huffington Post, TIME, and xoJane. Breen lives in Minnesota with her h ... More

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  1. Sounds like a book I should add to my must read list. Lovely review, Galit.

  2. Profile photo of Sharon Sharon says:

    This sounds like an amazing story. And I love your writing Galit! I love how you share yourself in the story. The way you weave your words together is magical.

  3. Profile photo of Alison LeeAuthor Alison Lee says:

    I loved Kate’s first book, Using Your Words, so when I opened Ready for Air, I was literally holding my breath in anticipation.

    It did not disappoint. I loved it.


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