It's a shame Mindful Motherhood by Cassandra Vieten (New Harbinger, 2009) wasn't around when I became a parent. I remember waking up to my crying baby and feeling a mixture of fatigue, confusion, and resentment as I rose from our warm bed to comfort him back to sleep. Vieten paints a realistic portrait of the challenges new mothers face, as she offers them tools for staying open and relaxed.
Vieten advises mothers to learn to stay present, notice what's happening in the moment, and be as neutral as possible, without adding value judgments or creating internal dialogues––e.g., "The baby has incurable colic! My husband never gets up! I'm a bad mother!"––that can amp up the negative emotions.
In addition, Vieten offers yoga poses and other stress-reducing exercises that can help moms to calm their minds and keep their hearts open. "When the situation and your feelings about it are met with a willingness to have them be what they are, you can reduce a lot of unnecessary suffering," she writes.
The book is nicely written and it is soothing, but I do have one complaint: When is a new mother going to find the time to read it? If you want to benefit from its wisdom it's best to pick up this book while your baby is still in the womb and start practicing the techniques in advance. Then maybe, just maybe, it will help prepare you for the onslaught (and joys) of parenting.
Thanks for highlighting this new book about mindful parenting. Mindfulness and non-judgment are two essential tools for parents, new or not.
I’d like to recommend a couple of other parenting books, which I recommend to parents frequently, and often give as gifts to new parents:
Above All, Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times, by Zoe Weil, offers tools, tips and insights for nurturing compassionate children with respect and consideration for all people, animals and the earth. (Zoe has also written a couple of books for kids, to help reinforce making humane choices.)
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, And Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish offers great suggestions for learning to communicate effectively and compassionately with your children. (They also have several other books, including a new-ish one for how to talk to teens.)
Marsha | 11:21 am, May 10, 2009 | Link