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We’re shapeshifters, women—beasts, but everyone likes to hush that up.

As soon as Katherine Leyton discovered she was pregnant, a powerful reckoning began. Motherlike is both a feminist memoir of new motherhood as well as a rumination on womanhood. A book for anyone interested in an honest and revealing look at a process that is essential to our experience as humans, and yet is routinely unexamined and dismissed.

Sharp and intensely candid, entertaining, and deeply poignant, Leyton weaves her own experience of becoming a mother to her son (the shocks, the strangeness, and the pleasures) with historical research and cultural commentary. Everything from the history of the birth control pill and the objectification of women's bodies to the risks of labor and the realities of being postpartum. Leyton invites us into a very personal story that reflects a larger picture of ourselves.

Praise & Recognition

"Katherine Leyton writes with the special fury and cutting insight of new motherhood, contending not only with her self-doubt, but interrogating a society that has long attempted to turn women against themselves and make their labours invisible. A hyper intelligent and baring read delivered with a poet’s gift for compression—every line a beating heart—Motherlike is both an indictment and a love letter. A beautiful, unflinching and necessary book."

Claudia Dey, bestselling author of Daughter, Heartbreaker and Stunt

"Motherlike is an honest, feminist, relatable exploration of the ‘deconstruction’ of pregnancy and the first ‘brilliant, devastating year.’ New (and old) urgencies, both personal and political, arise and are amplified in the flurry of nearly-here motherhood. Katherine Leyton examines with frankness and vulnerability the question of what makes a (good) mother, and how to be in this flawed and beautiful world."

Jessica Moore, author of The Whole Singing Ocean

"Motherlike is a revealing excavation of self right before and right after giving birth to oneself as a mother. A compelling and intimate read."

Tamara Faith Berger, author of Yara and Queen Solomon

"Motherlike offers a much-needed perspective, in which tantrums and diaper rashes aren’t central to the narrative. Instead, Leyton delivers a deeply personal look at vulnerability, fear, and love through the lens of her new, and often undervalued, role. Sparse and lyrical, Motherlike gifts readers spectacular sentences that linger like a reckoning.”

This Magazine
"Slim, dense, and compulsively readable, Katherine Leyton’s Motherlike defies categorization. At once a memoir, an interrogation of 'motherhood,' and a love letter to her newborn son, Jude, this lyrical narrative is a departure for Leyton, whom many know as a poet. Through comprehensive research and vivid reflections, the book evokes her experience with pregnancy and childbirth." Literary Review of Canada

"Motherlike is an intimate memoir about the endless worry and boundless joy of motherhood."

Foreword Reviews

"Katherine Leyton’s Motherlike is a smart, fierce, loving and at times funny exploration of becoming. This powerful and timely book deserves to be read widely by women wherever they are on their reproductive journey, and by anyone who thinks they know what pregnancy and mothering are all about. And yes, that does mean you, men."

Winnipeg Free Press
It is evident that Leyton portrays strong emotions in her writing. From anguish and anger, to excitement and care, Leyton authentically reflects on her lived experiences whilst critically analyzing privileges and setbacks society places on women and young girls. Motherlike is an unflinchingly genuine memoir that emphasises the perseverance of women and underappreciation of mothers alike. Palmer Library Reviews
"Leyton has created such an intimate and urgent book on the complexities of pregnancy and motherhood... As a new mother myself, I devoured this book in just a few sittings." 49th Shelf Review


Publication Date: March 19, 2024

Genre: Adult Nonfiction, Biography & Memoir

Product Format: Paperback

Pages: 230

ISBN: 978-1-77260-372-9

About the Author

Katherine Leyton

Katherine Leyton is a poet, screenwriter and nonfiction writer from Toronto. Her first book of poems, All the Gold Hurts My Mouth, was the winner of the ReLit Award. Her work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Hazlitt and Bitch. She lives in Ottawa. 

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