I was wrong. At page xii (that’s right, still in the introduction!) I read these words:
So how do we deal with the challenges of parenting, in addition to our own unrealistic expectations, media influences, perceived pressures from those around us, and a culture that demonizes fat (even though more Americans are overweight than ever before)?
I thought, hmm. Why does this feel personal? I don’t gobble laxatives. I don’t force myself to puke. I don’t, thanks be to God, look at two lettuce leaves and think of them as dinner.
I don’t. But I am a mother. And I have plenty of unrealistic expectations (even now, as I luxuriate in grandparenthood!) that get in the way of peace and tranquility.
I pressed on, and pretty soon I was undone again. I came across this passage:
So we bear the brunt of the world in an attempt to save it, but this is not, in fact, doing anyone any good because we cannot save the world. And we cannot save ourselves. We can only learn to love (p. 2).
Wait. One. Minute. All this maternal brunt-bearing is pointless? Now I can’t breathe. Because I always understood that was what we mothers do.
We bear the brunt. Isn’t that our job?
I found a tissue, blew my nose, and continued reading. Before long I found this:
Please don’t feel guilty if this is hitting home. That is not our goal. We want to relieve you of this burden you’re carrying. We want to help you become more satisfied with what you have and who you are, and to help you give up some of the behaviors and attitudes emphasizing what you lack (p. 6).
Wait, what? There’s a way to be a mother and not feel guilty? I was hooked by page six. That’s right, page six.
Friends, it wasn’t long after that I had to stop. Not because I didn’t think the book was good–the book is tremendously good. No. It wasn’t that.
I had to stop because I was bawling my eyes out. This book is for me!
And for you, if you’re a mom.
Okay. The authors, Dena Cabrera and my friend Emily T. Wierenga, are specifically focused on body image and life after pregnancy. But really, this book has something for everyone with kids.
We all wrestle with the issues addressed in this book. I think all of us moms–birth mom or not, eating-disordered or not–can benefit from this book. For some of us, it will save lives–or at least lots and lots of trauma.
Moms, give yourselves a break. Read this book.
Learn more about Mom in the Mirror here.
For ordering information, see the sidebar. (It’s thataway —>)
See my disclosures here.
Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
Proverbs 31:28 (KJV)