Babies getting accidentally switched at birth is the stuff of parental nightmares. And I understand (and certainly we’re told by medical staff featured in this book) that the likelihood of it happening nowadays is basically negligible. Almost non-existent. Nigh on impossible.
And yet, Sasha (a doctor herself) believes that the baby with which she’s presented, after going into early labour and waking groggy from surgery, is not her child.Mine
by Susi Fox
Published by Penguin Random House
on April 2nd 2018
Genres: Psychological Thriller
The baby in the nursery is not your baby.
Waking up after an emergency caesarean, you demand to see your son.
But it's someone else's child.
No one believes you - not the hospital, not your father, not your loyal husband.
They say you're delusional. Dangerous.
They suspect you want to steal another baby.
All you know is that you must find your own child before he's out of reach forever.
And you're a doctor - you would know if you were losing your mind.
The premise of this book is very much based around the idea that a mother would know her own baby and indeed, feel a connection of sorts of them after birth. Not being a parent myself I pondered on this. I know there can be factors impacting on a mother’s / parent’s ability to bond with their baby and those around Sasha believe that she’s struggling with postpartum psychosis (which I last came across in The Lone Child by Anna George and Claiming Noah by Amanda Ortlepp) – an extreme form of post-natal depression.
Interestingly this book unfolds in the present via Sasha in almost diarised form (which helps give readers an understanding of Sasha’s protracted experiences), but also in the past through her husband Mark.
They’re both sympathetic characters. In some ways we’re kinda forced to take sides. After all… they can’t both be right about the baby identified as their child.
The reaction of those around Sasha to her adamance that Toby isn’t her baby is interesting. It seems impossible that a mistake was made but anything more deliberate would involve a lot of collusion that simply doesn’t make sense.
I very much enjoyed the detail Fox gives us about Sasha’s experience in the psych ward and mother-baby unit and I realise how little I knew about the treatment of the more extreme cases of postnatal depression as it ventures into psychosis.
There’s an interesting dip into Sasha’s past with a mostly-absent father after her mother disappears; and an experience she had as a young registrar when a child died under her care. There’s also a strong focus on fertility and the challenges and lengths women are often forced to go through to have a child.
I’m not sure I was entirely convinced by the resolution but Fox certainly throws in a few twists (and not all of them… or many of them really, are pleasant ones!), but I appreciated that she didn’t shy away from challenging her characters and we readers in terms of their / our morality and ethics.
Mine by Susi Fox was published in Australia by Penguin Random House and is now available.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.