- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: TarcherPerigee (September 6, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1585425915
- ISBN-13: 978-1585425914
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 23 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #595,468 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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What Mothers Do Especially When It Looks Like Nothing Paperback – September 6, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Stadlen presents a heartfelt and incisive examination of mothers' inner lives, revealing the vital worth of quiet (and not so quiet) time devoted to a baby. A psychotherapist specializing in parenting issues, founder of the London-based weekly discussion group Mothers Talking, and a La Leche League breastfeeding counselor, the author quotes a range of mothers throughout, exploring their feelings about their roles as nurturers and caregivers. She notes that though these women may often feel lonely, invisible and unimportant, "the whole of civilization depends on the work of mothers." Still, she writes, many women (and men) are unprepared for their responsibilities as parents; although they put much effort into readying for birth, many are anxious and confused as well as shocked and exhausted when it comes to actually raising a child. Stadlen gives credit to the women who slow their days to match their baby's pace, become continuously "interruptible" and offer constant and unconditional love. Though the narrative meanders at times, mothers will relate to the voices of the women, and take comfort in Stadlen's kudos.
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About the Author
Naomi Stadlen has had the unique experience of listening to hundreds of mothers talk about their experiences, both in her weekly discussion group Mothers Talking, which she founded more than 15 years ago at the Active Birth Centre in London, and in her private practice as a psychotherapist specializing in parenting. A breastfeeding counselor for La Leche League, Stadlen is the mother of three adult children and has a grandson.
Top customer reviews
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However, a red flag for me went way up when she posited that a mother either loves and cuddles her baby or believes her baby is the product of original sin (!) and lets the baby cry it out. That was difficult to even understand, frankly. The author picks up steam with these bizarre arguments as the book goes on. She praises mothers who feel too much anxiety to ever leave their children in someone else’s hands without ever mentioning the very real specter of post partum depression and anxiety, which I found extremely dangerous. She criticizes feminists and related literature that acknowledges the ambivalence or even anger that can arise when caring for a tiny dependent person all day, going so far as to “figure out” why women like Adrienne Rich felt the way they did. Spoiler - it’s not because this is a natural and acceptable part of motherhood - and suggests if they loved and connected with their babies differently, they never would have felt this maternal frustration. Arguments like those are the worst retrograde tripe, damaging the safe space women now have to speak frankly and ask for help.
Ultimately, this book was a total disappointment. I feel the author had such an important premise, which was quickly lost and abandoned for personal opinion that I’d never want any new mother to read.
This talks directly about those things there are not classes for -- like actually taking your new, innocent, little baby home and caring for him/her.