Yesterday I wrote a post outlining five of the ways we tend to give away our power as mothers. It is easy to read about what not to do, but given how most of us were brought up, what to do instead can feel confusing and like we are at a loss. With that said, there is no destination and there is no arriving. We are always learning and growing and doing our best to stretch ourselves where we can.
Once I realized so many of the messages I recieved as a young girl and teenager didn’t serve me or make sense as an adult, I dove deep into books that rocked my world. I love books for this reason. They can offer a fresh new perspective and change the way you view and approach reality. One book can be a total paradigm shift for you. I have read several such books, and that is what I want to offer you here.
The books I list below are books that I believe would greatly shift the lives of mothers and women for the better if we had them as some sort of required reading. They offer radical changes in the way we view things such as the way we birth babies, parent, take care of ourselves and our families, have sex, and ultimately live our lives. I put “Mothers” in the title, but really these books are for all women.
Here are my favorite books that will definitely have you feeling empowered and confident as a woman and a mother:
Pushed exposes the truth of the broken maternity care system in America. It is one every mother-to-be should read!
-if you like the sound of this, also try: Immaculate Deception.
2. Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth book is the grandmother of all childbirth books. If there was only one book I could recommend on birth, it would be this one. Ina May is the nation’s leading Midwife who has been practicing for decades. This woman knows her stuff.
-if you like the sound of this, also try: The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth.
3. The Continuum Concept
The Continuum Concept is about a woman who spent over two years in the jungle observing Stone Age Indians. She reflects on the differences between their life and our life in western culture.
“She offers a new understanding of how we have lost much of our natural well-being and shows us practical ways to regain it for our children and for ourselves.”
-if you like the sound of this, also try: Magical Child
4. How to Raise a Healthy Child…In Spite of Your Doctor.
How to Raise A Healthy Child is written by a renowned pediatrician who claims parents use the doctor way too much, which can actually make your child less healthy in the long run. He offers home diagnosis and treatment remedies and tells you when to call your doctor and when it is not necessary.
In my previous article that I mentioned above, I talked about the importance of taking control of our own health and not relying on the types of doctors who bully their patients.
-if you like the sound of this, also try: Creating Healthy Children Through Attachment Parenting and Raw Foods.
5. Women Who Run With the Wolves.
The mythical stories in Women Who Run With the Wolves really inspires the natural, wild, all-knowing woman within us all. Anytime I have forgotten my innate power as a woman, I will read a story in this book to remember how much I already have within myself. It is so easy as mothers in this culture to lose that sense. This book celebrates women as magic and medicine.
-if you like the sound of this, also try: Witch: Unleashed, Untamed, Unapologetic.
6. Her Blood is Gold
Nothing felt more empowering for me as a woman as when I came to fully love my menstrual cycle. Not just tolerate it, but LOOK FORWARD to it. I did this by learning about the power and purpose of bleeding, and how in the past, women were seen and treated much differently when they bled. We often view our periods as something to hide, loathe, and shame. This attitude has it be that we have stiffled our fullest expressions as women. Embracing all of yourself (including the reality that you bleed once a month) is the most profound thing I have ever done for myself. Her Blood is Gold outlines the history of menstruation, how we have lost the understanding of its power, and how we can make our way back to seeing the gift that it is. If you have daughters (ok, sons, too!), carrying a postive attitude about your period and your body is vital.
-if you like the sound of this, also try: The Red Tent
Our pleasure is a vital nutrient that so many of us are lacking. It is so easy to lose our connection to our sexuality when we have children…but it is important that we don’t! Mothers are still sexual beings with sexual needs (even though we don’t always feel that way with the sleepless nights). Just because we “don’t feel like it” doesn’t mean the need has gone away. How you feel and express your sexuality can look differently for everyone. It doesn’t mean you should be having a bunch of sex! Pussy: A Reclamation is said to be required reading for any woman who wants to step into her pleasure, power, and purpose. Just go read the book description! Powerful stuff.
–if you like the sound of this, also try: Slow Sex
8. The Artists Way
Something else that is often lost in motherhood (and in our masculine oriented culture, in general) is creativity. Which goes hand in hand with our sexuality! The Artist’s Way is a 12-week workbook aimed to inspire a more creative life. I truly believe that sometimes it isn’t so much that parenting is hard, but rather, it highlights where and how we are not living a life that is aligned with our deepest truths and desires. This book wakes you back up to what you really want out of life, and I think modeling that to our children is important.
-if you like the sound of this, also try: The Artist’s Way for Parents
9. The Teenage Liberation Handbook
In my previous post I highlighted the importance of questioning our beliefs around schooling and exposed how much disempowerment comes from following that institution when done without thought or sound reason. I think in order to feel truly empowered, we have to know that our time and energy is ours to spend and use as we see fit and realize we are not obligated to anything, even and especially the traditional school system. I won’t go too far here in dismantling commonly held beliefs around why most people think we need school. I have touched briefly on that before, and there are many resources for that. Teenage Liberation Handbook is a great place to start. It isn’t only for teenagers, as one might assume, although, it is directed at teenagers and their parents. I read it in my early 20’s and became what I like to refer to as an “adult unschooler.” For me this meant that I finally got to live my life for ME, exploring my own interests and using my time to do things that I wanted, rather than following a predetermined timeline expected of me by those around me and society as a whole. Just think if we got to do that from the time we were born and our parents trusted our innate passion and desire for learning? Who would I be today if I didn’t wait until my 20s to discover who I really was as a human? Talk about ultimate freedom and empowerment! You have to check out this book.
10. The Conscious Parent
The hardest part about empowering ourselves as women and mothers is bringing to light our own pain and shadows. If you are a parent then you might know that no one can do this better for us than our own children. If we can become aware enough, then we can see that they are the perfect reflections of the places we are not in alignment with our own truths. This can be a fun game to self discovery, but it can also be painful to uncover at times. It is so much easier for most of us to blame our frustrations and behavior on our kids. I mean, clearly I was fine until you didn’t listen to me….
The problem with that line of thinking is that it paints our children as the ones with the problem and never allows us to address and heal the things that get triggered within us. In The Conscious Parent by Shefali Tsabary, she flips the way we tend to view our children and how we parent on its head and offers a new idea about who our children are. She also suggests that parenting is the biggest opportunity to “wake up” to our own truth and lives if we can become skilled enough to see our children as perfectly brilliant in reflecting back to us exactly what we need to see about ourselves.
-if you like the sound of this, also try: Unconditional Parenting