The riveting, powerful memoir of the woman whose statement to Brock Turner gave voice to millions of survivors.
She was known to the world as Emily Doe when she stunned millions with a letter. Brock Turner had been sentenced to just six months in county jail after he was found sexually assaulting her on Stanford’s campus. Her victim impact statement was posted on BuzzFeed, where it instantly went viral–viewed by eleven million people within four days, it was translated globally and read on the floor of Congress; it inspired changes in California law and the recall of the judge in the case. Thousands wrote to say that she had given them the courage to share their own experiences of assault for the first time.
Now she reclaims her identity to tell her story of trauma, transcendence, and the power of words. It was the perfect case, in many ways–there were eyewitnesses, Turner ran away, physical evidence was immediately secured. But her struggles with isolation and shame during the aftermath and the trial reveal the oppression victims face in even the best-case scenarios. Her story illuminates a culture biased to protect perpetrators, indicts a criminal justice system designed to fail the most vulnerable, and, ultimately, shines with the courage required to move through suffering and live a full and beautiful life.
Know My Name will forever transform the way we think about sexual assault, challenging our beliefs about what is acceptable and speaking truth to the tumultuous reality of healing. It also introduces readers to an extraordinary writer, one whose words have already changed our world. Entwining pain, resilience, and humor, this memoir will stand as a modern classic.
September 24th, 2019
While I knew she was a great writer from reading her victim impact statement (you can read it on Buzzfeed HERE) when she was known for so many years as “Emily Doe”, I was blown away by Know My Name by Chanel Miller. Her voice is strong and her writing is filled with details, reflection, humility, and even hope. I listened to this one on Audible but I also purchased a hardcopy because I knew it was one that I needed to have in my own collection.
I loved how poignantly Chanel Miller shared what it is like to deal with very private grief while at the same time needing and move forward with daily life…I loved learning about her amazingly supportive family unit and her ability to see the good in people, like the men who stepped in to help the night of her attack. While she only speaks for herself, she really is speaking for a generation and I can’t recommend this one enough.
“We don’t fight for our own happy endings. We fight to say you can’t. We fight for accountability. We fight to establish a precedent. We fight because we pray we’ll be the last ones to feel this kind of pain.”
Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, it helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!
Hello! While we had a fairly mild October, we woke up to whipping winds today that had a chill that reminded us all that winter is right around the corner! November can be an extension of beautiful fall weather or go right into winter mode around here right away, you just never know! I had my snow tires put on this past week and I am hoping because I have them, we won’t need them for a bit…kind of like having an umbrella!
While October was a quieter month on social media and this blog it was filled with quite a bit of reading. Between reading a lot to recharge in the evenings and getting away on vacation, it was quite a heavy reading month.
I also listened to four audiobooks during my commute and editing time at work so that helped increase my amount of reading I did during the past month. I never set a “goal” for how many books I read per month but I usually average around 10-12 between hard copy, ebooks, and audiobooks so this month was a little more than my average.
In 1942, Europe remains in the relentless grip of war. Just beyond the tents of the Russian refugee camp she calls home, a young woman speaks her wedding vows. It’s a decision that will alter her destiny…and it’s a lie that will remain buried until the next century.
Since she was nine years old, Alina Dziak knew she would marry her best friend, Tomasz. Now fifteen and engaged, Alina is unconcerned by reports of Nazi soldiers at the Polish border, believing her neighbors that they pose no real threat, and dreams instead of the day Tomasz returns from college in Warsaw so they can be married. But little by little, injustice by brutal injustice, the Nazi occupation takes hold, and Alina’s tiny rural village, its families, are divided by fear and hate.
Then, as the fabric of their lives is slowly picked apart, Tomasz disappears. Where Alina used to measure time between visits from her beloved, now she measures the spaces between hope and despair, waiting for word from Tomasz and avoiding the attentions of the soldiers who patrol her parents’ farm. But for now, even deafening silence is preferable to grief.
Slipping between Nazi-occupied Poland and the frenetic pace of modern life, Kelly Rimmer creates an emotional and finely wrought narrative. The Things We Cannot Say is an unshakable reminder of the devastation when truth is silenced…and how it can take a lifetime to find our voice before we learn to trust it.
March 19th, 2019
World War II Historical Fiction
The Things We Cannot Saycame highly recommended to me by some of my favorite Bookstagram friends. I enjoy the historical fiction genre but it can be a hard one to really wow me as a reader. I went into this one with a little trepidation because it is quite long and while the summary was intriguing I wasn’t sure if I was in the mood for this kind of book during this more hectic time of year. I ended up choosing it as an audiobook and it was a perfect choice. My worries were completely unnecessary because I ended up becoming completely engrossed in this storyline.
This book ending up checking all the boxes of a memorable historical fiction reading experience. Told in a dual narrative format, we meet Alina, a girl who is growing up in Poland during World War II and Alice, a mom who lives in present-day Florida with her husband and two children. We quickly realized that these two storylines are connected and the story unfolds beautifully over these 400+ pages.
“Not for the first time, I wish just once when I asked my grandmother about the war, instead of her telling me “that was a terrible time, I don’t want to talk about it,” she’d been able to say something more. Anything more. Maybe if she could have shared some of her story, I could have learned from it, I could have taught my children from it—we could have built a better world from the hard lessons she surely learned.”
― Kelly Rimmer, The Things We Cannot Say
This was my first book by Kelly Rimmer and I was blown away by her ability to share multi-faceted characters that felt so real and raw while also diving into a heartbreaking part of our not so distant history. I love the dual storylines and how they wove together and kept me guessing until the end. Rimmer captured the power of sharing our stories while also reminding us that so many people have a history we might know nothing about.
As well as being completely enthralled by Alina’s harrowing and heartbreaking time in Poland, I connected so much with present-day Alice and her struggles to find herself amidst the daily challenges of family life.
“I can’t wait to tell him how much of a revelation it has been to do something like this – standing on a mountaintop for no reason other than the sake of the experience. This moment is an investment in myself. I’m giving myself permission to make a memory that benefits no one but me. I love being a mother, and I love being a wife. I even love being a daughter and a granddaughter. But as I stand here on the mountaintop, I’m not any of those things. I am simply Alice, and for one breathtaking moment, I’m completely present.”
This book captures heartbreak, resilience, persistence and the power for standing up for what is right, not only for yourself but for those around you. This is definitely one of my favorite books of 2019 and I highly recommend it.
“A dazzling, multigenerational novel in which the four adult daughters of a Chicago couple–still madly in love after forty years–recklessly ignite old rivalries until a long-buried secret threatens to shatter the lives they’ve built.
When Marilyn Connolly and David Sorenson fall in love in the 1970s, they are blithely ignorant of all that’s to come. By 2016, their four radically different daughters are each in a state of unrest: Wendy, widowed young, soothes herself with booze and younger men; Violet, a litigator-turned-stay-at-home-mom, battles anxiety, and self-doubt when the darkest part of her past resurfaces; Liza, a neurotic and newly tenured professor, finds herself pregnant with a baby she’s not sure she wants by a man she’s not sure she loves; and Grace, the dawdling youngest daughter, begins living a lie that no one in her family even suspects. Above it all, the daughters share the lingering fear that they will never find a love quite like their parents’.
As the novel moves through the tumultuous year following the arrival of Jonah Bendt–given up by one of the daughters in a closed adoption fifteen years before–we are shown the rich and varied tapestry of the Sorenson’s past: years marred by adolescence, infidelity, and resentment, but also the transcendent moments of joy that make everything else worthwhile.
Spanning nearly half a century, and set against the quintessential American backdrop of Chicago and its prospering suburbs, Lombardo’s debut explores the triumphs and burdens of love, the fraught tethers of parenthood and sisterhood, and the baffling mixture of affection, abhorrence, resistance, and submission we feel for those closest to us. In painting this luminous portrait of a family’s becoming, Lombardo joins the ranks of writers such as Celeste Ng, Elizabeth Strout, and Jonathan Franzen as visionary chroniclers of our modern lives.”
June 25, 2019
Family Life Fiction
I have read a lot of books this summer but none that really blew me away. A memorable book for me is one that keeps me thinking about it long after finishing it. Many of my book choices during this time of the year are easy and engaging but not always ones that stick with me forever. There is definitely a time and place for both of these types of reading and they each fill my reading bucket in very different ways.
I kept seeing The Most Fun We Ever Had on Bookstagram and I put it on my TBR list but I wasn’t sure if summer was the time to read it. I was a little nervous about the length and I didn’t know if I was in the mood for a family saga piece of writing during this more hectic time of the year. After seeing yet another raving review I decided to read it on a whim and boy was I wrong!
When you are reading a 500+ page book it is a real commitment. Your reading experience is more like a marathon and just not a sprint to the finish. Author Claire Lombardo pulled me right into the lives of the members of the Sorrenson family and I had a hard time putting this one down. The writing was both captivating and completely absorbing. I ended up going back and forth between both reading the hard copy and listening to this on Audible. This made it an absolutely amazing and engrossing reading experience and was perfect for this style of writing.
While there were a lot of well-developed characters and the narration jumps back and forth from present (2016) to the past I never felt confused or that it was hard to keep track of it all. This is all such a testament to Lombardo’s skilled writing ability.
The story was compelling and the characters were both raw and relatable. I loved that their relationships with each other and themselves showed the intricacies of both families and just being human. The nuanced history and complexities of relationships that have spanned decades were presented in such a completely compelling manner. There were humorous parts and so many memorable quotes that I will never forget.
When I wasn’t reading or listening to this book I was thinking about it. It was difficult to leave this fictional family at the end of my reading journey, which for me, makes this truly a remarkable read. I highly recommend this debut(!!) novel and I can’t wait to read what Lombardo shares next.
Hello! How is your weekend going? I am sitting down with a big mug of coffee to write this and then I need to finish editing a wedding because we are leaving for MAINE tomorrow!!
Currently Loving…Audiobooks at Work!
During my heavy editing season audiobooks get me through the long hours of sitting at the computer. My work is heavily creative so I am able to listen while I work which is amazing! Speaking of audiobooks, I finished The Most Fun We Ever Had this past week which I alternated reading and listening too. I shared more over on Instagram but I think it might be my favorite book ever!
I also decided to go the Audible route to help finish Red, White & Royal Blue and it is amazing on audio. I am hoping to finish it today. Have you read this yet? It has had some raving reviews and I can see why.
Wireless Headphones for the Win!
I had a lot of DMs about which headphones I have after I posted about them HERE.
I have the Tao Tronic wireless headphones. I got them last year after reading a lot of reviews and not being sure if I wanted to make a huge financial commitment. These are currently on sale for $39 and are awesome! I strongly dislike earbuds(and I can’t get them to stay in my ears) and I don’t care about whether I look cool or not, so they are great!
They have many uses which include listening to audiobooks and tuning out your noisy family. I also wear them at work when I am listening to a true-crime podcast because Kristy is afraid of them, ha! I also love wearing them around the house when I am vacuuming or putting away laundry…it makes the time fly by! I also love that I can listen to something without having my phone right next to me because I get less distracted by it that way.
This last week has been a lot of tying up loose ends and finished all our work projects before we took a few days off. Summer in Vermont is short but intense and that means photography work here is similar. During the summer we are in a constant cycle of editing, lots of backend communication and sending out galleries and prints, etc. This does not even include all the work Kristy does to take the photos!
I am lucky to work with someone who is so organized because it is a lot to manage. Kristy recently set up whiteboards that look similar to the patient boards they have at hospital nursing stations, and it is fabulous!
Childcare in August…
The last couple of weeks before school usually mean that summer activities have ended and beloved babysitters have headed back to college! This means we did a lot of working with kids this week which is always a rollercoaster ride of emotions.
They were at home with me, at work with Lucas, spent some time with grandparents and also came to work with us at Kristy’s. Flynn’s mismatched shoes are a good representation of this past week inside my head, ha!
While I haven’t been going as regularly, barre is essential to my mental well being so I have been prioritizing that as much as possible. During the school year I go on my way to work but these days I go whenever I can get there, early morning, midday, or afternoon classes.
This is probably good for me as I am a very routined person and it has pushed me out of my comfort zone a bit. I have met some new barre buddies which is always the best! I still freak out if I can’t go in my specific spot in the room though…baby steps!
Fitting in Reading:
I bring my kindle along with me during the day and read when I can but most of my reading during the summer happens in the evening. During the school year, I have a lot more chunks of alone time in between meetings, appointments, and dropping off and picking up the kids. This time of the year, I AM NEVER ALONE, ha.
Speaking of kids and reading, I get a lot of questions about how we get our kids to love reading. I am not an expert by any means but my love of reading came from being read to as a child and always having access to books.
I vividly remember riding my bike to the library and picking out whatever books I wanted to read…and then trying to figure out how to ride home while carrying them out without the foresight to bring a bag, ha!
So we have always read with our kids and had a lot of books around. We also try to be open-minded about what they want to read, even when they are into super annoying books like Pokemon, Lego, and graphic novels like Dog Man and Hi-Lo. I know people have strong feelings about this but I a big believer in the idea that reading is reading even if some of it might not be “ideal”.
We try to enforce at least 20 minutes of reading time a day whether it is on their own or with us. This has been a bit lax during the last couple of months but during the school year, it is a before bedtime requirement.
I had big plans to do a whole post about book suggestions that our kids love last spring and I never got around to it. I have big plans for September and I plan on sharing a more detailed post then!
Vermont Summer Living…
We have been embracing all the wonderful parts of this time of year while also looking forward to school starting again so we can get some of our regular structure back. Summer is great and school is too!
Addison County Fair & Field Days!
Speaking of embracing the wonderful parts of this year, I never posted about our trip to the fair! We visited the Addison County Fair last week which has been one of my summer traditions since I was a toddler myself. I love reminiscing about all my memories there while also seeing how much our kids love it. Lucas grew up in the big city of Burlington so he is still unsure about it all but I think it is growing on him. 😉
We planned accordingly so we could attend the Demotion Derby. We also had lots of fair food including fried Oreos. It was a pretty rainy week but this night ended up being just beautiful.
End of Summer Reading:
We have been soaking in all in and I have big reading planning to finish off our summer vacation. I am a last-minute packer but I have been thinking about what books I want to bring to Maine for weeks!! I think I have narrowed it down and I will keep you updated over at @genthebookworm.
I hope you have a wonderful rest of your weekend! <3
“Centered around the touchstone stories Jen tells in her popular workshops, On Being Human is the story of how a starved person grew into the exuberant woman she was meant to be all along by battling the demons within and winning.
Jen did not intend to become a yoga teacher, but when she was given the opportunity to host her own retreats, she left her thirteen-year waitressing job and said “yes,” despite crippling fears of her inexperience and her own potential. After years of feeling depressed, anxious, and hopeless, in a life that seemed to have no escape, she healed her own heart by caring for others. She has learned to fiercely listen despite being nearly deaf, to banish shame attached to a body mass index, and to rebuild a family after the debilitating loss of her father when she was eight. Through her journey, Jen conveys the experience most of us are missing in our lives: being heard and being told, “I got you.”
Exuberant, triumphantly messy, and brave, On Being Human is a celebration of happiness and self-realization over darkness and doubt. Her complicated yet imperfectly perfect life path is an inspiration to live outside the box and to reject the all-too-common belief of “I am not enough.” Jen will help readers find, accept, and embrace their own vulnerability, bravery, and humanness.”
June 4th, 2019
On Being Human is the best title ever, and before this book, I had never heard of Jennifer Pastiloff…but the cover totally sold me. This book is primarily a memoir of Pastiloff’s life from childhood to present. She did not have an easy road and parts of this book were incredibly difficult to read but I so appreciated her honesty and her ability to share in such a raw and open way.
I always love memoirs and think sharing our stories is SO important, even when they are not totally relatable to us at first glance. I ended up connected so much with Pastiloff and found myself nodding along as I read. She has so much insight and wisdom but in a completely approachable manner.
I felt like she was talking to me, not down to me with her writing. And while she now leads retreats all over the world, it felt like I was just talking to a friend who happened to be introspective but also totally real. Pastiloff writes about how we talk down to ourselves and believe our own bullshit stories which can make us think we are not good enough.
Many people have tried to share this message before but it has never come across like this to me..maybe because they felt they have conquered it? Pastifloff it is relatable because this is something that is a lifelong struggle, no matter the hurdles you face and accomplishments you “achieve”. She has this humility about her that made this different than anything I have read before.
I especially appreciated her sections on her struggles with her mental health. While it isn’t exactly a “self-help” book I found so many thought-provoking lines that I kept underlining throughout.
“Depression is a response to past loss, and anxiety is a response to future loss.”
“ There will always be the one who doesn’t like you, the one who says, ‘No, you should not do this, Yes, you suck’. And we always always have two choices: keep going or shut down.”
Sometimes her honestly made me a bit uncomfortable, but I think that is what made this book so powerful. I can’t put my finger on it as it took me a bit to get into the book and I wasn’t sure about for it a while but now that I am finished, I can’t stop thinking about it. She has a unique ability to share in a way that made me think about my own choices and reactions in my life as well and it is one I won’t forget as a reader.
Thank you to NetGalley and Dutton for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Journalist-turned-psychologist Darcy Lockman offers a clear-eyed look at the most pernicious problem facing modern parents—how progressive relationships become traditional ones when children are introduced into the household.
In an era of seemingly unprecedented feminist activism, enlightenment, and change, data shows that one area of gender inequality stubbornly persists: the disproportionate amount of parental work that falls to women, no matter their background, class, or professional status. All the Rage investigates the cause of this pervasive inequity to answer why, in households where both parents work full-time and agree that tasks should be equally shared, mothers’ household management, mental labor, and childcare contributions still outweigh fathers’.
How, in a culture that pays lip service to women’s equality and lauds the benefits of father involvement—benefits that extend far beyond the well-being of the kids themselves—can a commitment to fairness in marriage melt away upon the arrival of children?
Counting on male partners who will share the burden, women today have been left with what political scientists call unfulfilled, rising expectations. Historically these unmet expectations lie at the heart of revolutions, insurgencies, and civil unrest. If so many couples are living this way, and so many women are angered or just exhausted by it, why do we remain so stuck? Where is our revolution, our insurgency, our civil unrest?
Darcy Lockman drills deep to find answers, exploring how the feminist promise of true domestic partnership almost never, in fact, comes to pass. Starting with her own marriage as a ground zero case study, she moves outward, chronicling the experiences of a diverse cross-section of women raising children with men; visiting new mothers’ groups and pioneering co-parenting specialists; and interviewing experts across academic fields, from gender studies professors and anthropologists to neuroscientists and primatologists. Lockman identifies three tenets that have upheld the cultural gender division of labor and peels back the ways in which both men and women unintentionally perpetuate old norms.
If we can all agree that equal pay for equal work should be a given, can the same apply to unpaid work? Can justice finally come home?
I listened to All The Rage on Audible and wow, what a powerful read! Darcy Lockman shares a well researched and relatable look at social expectations, male privilege, and sexism when it comes to parenting in the 21st century. Lockman uses studies, research, interviews with parents, and her own personal experiences which results in a well balanced and deeply impactful look at the gender inequity that working mothers still face today and the mental load women face as mothers.
Who Should Read This?
Whether you are a parent or thinking about becoming one someday, this book is so insightful and thought-provoking. I appreciated Lockman’s personal experiences as they related to many issues we faced in our own experiences as partners and parents. While many people think “this won’t happen to me” a large percentage of family’s fall into the expectations that have become ingrained in our society.
“In the language of family studies, women and men do not develop the same ‘parental consciousness’ when they transition into mother- and fatherhood; they continue on separate and unequal paths of knowing or not knowing as their children change and grow. Parental consciousness is the awareness of the needs of children accompanied by the steady process of thinking about those needs. Women have come to call it the mental load, and in those relatively egalitarian households where men share daycare pickup and put away clean laundry, it’s the aspect of childrearing most likely…to ‘stimulate marital tension between mothers and fathers”
Reactions to All The Rage:
I have loved reading the reviews for this book on Goodreads and they vary greatly. Many shared that this book was depressing, filled with anger, bitterness and/or a dig at men. I did find this book to be hard to listen to at times, but mostly because I wish I had been able to read this before I became a parent! I think anything that makes you feel strongly is wonderful because it gets you thinking.
I learned a lot about why we are the way we are and so much of it has been entrenched in our society and family dynamics for centuries even as women’s roles have changed and evolved so much over time. It doesn’t matter how much you think “this won’t happen to us!” it is very easy to fall into being the “default” parent once parenthood hits you like a ton of bricks.
I think it is important to state that this doesn’t mean your partner is a terrible person or sits around doing nothing. The emotional labor of motherhood is hard to explain but it is real and many women feel like they are just drowning in it. The invisible mental load of motherhood is often the hardest and because it is hard to “see” it is also the hardest to change.
What We Have Learned So Far…
One of the biggest learning lessons my husband and I have (slowly) figured out during our 9 years of parenting together is that talking about something before it happens is always the way to go. Talking early and talking often is key and allows us to discuss our hopes and expectations before the resentment and disappointment build up because it inevitably will.
When our first son arrived in 2019 we quickly fell into the assumed roles of parenthood with little to no discussion about what that might look or feel like. 9 years later we have worked hard to establish better equity and partnership in our home but deeply ingrained norms are hard to change and the pressures come from outside of the home as well. This is a continued work in progress as our family grows and changes over time. We definitely have it all figured out but we work hard on it every day.
I highly recommend this book and would really recommend it for people who are hoping to have a family someday. There is so much power when we have the ability to reflect and make choices proactively. While Lockman didn’t have all the answers, she gives many tools for us to reflect on what we can change and do in our own lives to help with parity and equity in parenthood.
Wow, did June fly by for anyone else? It is always a funny month because half of it is the last two weeks of school and the other two are the first two weeks of summer break. It is a transition time for everyone in our family and the end of some things and the beginning of others which makes it very bittersweet.
While it seems like it flew by, it is also amazing to think of all the things that we did during the last 4 weeks..baseball season and regular school days feel like they were months ago!
I had a lot of reading favorites this past month, and it was also a heavier non-fiction month. My actual reading is always a bit slower this time of year but my books I listen to on audio increase.
Moving into Audiobook Season
This time of the year I spend a lot of my work time editing because it is the most wedding/photo session time of the year. This will continue into November when photo season quiets down for the winter months. I have found that audiobooks make a great work companion during editing time.
My type of work requires a lot of creative energy but is something I can easily do while listening to something which is great for a podcast and audiobook fan! I prefer to listen to non-fiction books on audio and this past month I listened to Burnout, The Moment of Lift and All The Rage. I would highly recommend all of them!
“This groundbreaking book explains why women experience burnout differently than men—and provides a simple, science-based plan to help women minimize stress, manage emotions, and live a more joyful life.
Burnout. Many women in America have experienced it. What’s expected of women and what it’s really like to be a woman in today’s world are two very different things—and women exhaust themselves trying to close the gap between them. How can you “love your body” when every magazine cover has ten diet tips for becoming “your best self”? How do you “lean in” at work when you’re already operating at 110 percent and aren’t recognized for it? How can you live happily and healthily in a sexist world that is constantly telling you you’re too fat, too needy, too noisy, and too selfish?
Sisters Emily Nagoski, PhD, and Amelia Nagoski, DMA, are here to help end the cycle of feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Instead of asking us to ignore the very real obstacles and societal pressures that stand between women and well-being, they explain with compassion and optimism what we’re up against—and show us how to fight back. In these pages you’ll learn
• what you can do to complete the biological stress cycle—and return your body to a state of relaxation • how to manage the “monitor” in your brain that regulates the emotion of frustration • how the Bikini Industrial Complex makes it difficult for women to love their bodies—and how to defend yourself against it • why rest, human connection, and befriending your inner critic are keys to recovering and preventing burnout
With the help of eye-opening science, prescriptive advice, and helpful worksheets and exercises, all women will find something transformative in these pages—and will be empowered to create positive change. Emily and Amelia aren’t here to preach the broad platitudes of expensive self-care or insist that we strive for the impossible goal of “having it all.” Instead, they tell us that we are enough, just as we are—and that wellness, true wellness, is within our reach.”
I learned about Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle on the 10 Things To Tell You Podcast episode about anxiety. I listened to this book on audio and while I think their intentions were good, I think listeners are either going to love their narration style, or not….for me, I was somewhere in the middle.
I did think the information they shared was fabulous and the explanation of completing the actual stress cycle was brilliant. Honestly, I had never thought about it in that way before and it makes SO much sense. That section alone made this book super helpful to me and I have been recommending it to so many friends.
They also included some great practical advice about choices we CAN make when we can’t always control outside stress in our lives. While it may not have been earth-shattering information, it was a great reminder of the things that we have control over in our own lives. Suggestions like prioritizing sleep, connecting with others, and showing yourself compassion are such powerful and attainable things we can do right away to help our own responses to external stressors.
There is a big emphasis on “the patriarchy” in this book. I found that it was not the most powerful part for me as a reader but it certainly was beneficial in some ways. I think this book would have been strong enough without that section because the stress cycle parts were so hugely beneficial to me. All that said, there certainly is validity in how patriarchy affects women’s daily stress.
If you are looking for a book either as a refresher on stress management or if you are feeling like you need some new tools for handling daily stressors, I highly recommend checking this one out.
“A clinical therapist’s exploration of the complexities of early motherhood, including its impact on a marriage, in a book that offers comfort, camaraderie, and practical guidance to new mothers.
When Molly Millwood became a mother, she was fully prepared for all that she would gain: an adorable baby boy, hard-won mothering skills, and a messy, chaotic, love-filled home. But she didn’t anticipate what she would lose: an identity, a baseline level of happiness, a general sense of wellbeing. And just when she was feeling her most vulnerable, her happy marriage-long a bedrock of stability and comfort-seemed to shift in unexpected ways too, tinged by anger and resentment.
As a clinical psychologist, Molly knew her experience was a normal response to a life-changing event-she was not broken, and neither was her marriage. But without the benefit of such a perspective, many of women she saw in treatment grappled with shame, self-doubt, and fear-all the while struggling to confide in, trust, or seek comfort in their partners.
In To Have and To Hold, Molly illuminates the ways in which motherhood impacts a woman emotionally, psychologically, physically, and professionally-as well as how it impacts the stability and harmony of her relationship. Along with the arrival of a bundle of joy comes thorny issues such as identity, control, autonomy, and dependency. And these issues are, most often, experienced within the context of an intimate relationship, adding another layer of complication, conflict, and confusion to an already challenging time.
As Molly examines the inextricable link between women’s wellbeing as new mothers and the wellbeing of their relationships, she offers information and guidance to help readers reclaim their identities and repair their relationships. A blend of personal narrative, rigorous research, and stories from Molly’s clinical practice, To Have and To Hold provides a lifeline to new mothers everywhere.”
March 26th, 2019
Motherhood is the hardest AND most wonderful thing I have ever done. While I am lucky to have had many conversations with the people in my personal life, never have I read something that explains the complexities of motherhood and marriage in such a profound manner until I read this book. The highs and lows of parenthood, the immense love and also the intense quest to reclaim ourselves as women and partners when our lives will never be the same are so real and valid.
To Have and to Hold spoke to me on so many levels. Millwood’s ability to write with both her voice as a professional and her voice as a mother was a perfect balance. It is relatable and real and I can’t stop thinking about it which is the sign of a 5-star book for me. If you haven’t already checked this one out I highly recommend and she was absolutely wonderful on audio.