Synopses & Reviews
"Explores a central dilemma of mothering: When and how should mothers speak to children about their own stories and feelings, or, more generally, about realities of family life, power, and death. This is a courageous, honest, and above all, useful book." --Sara Ruddick, author of Maternal Thinking
"Gives expression to the experience of mothers, which has long been underplayed in the literature. Weingarten draws on the experience of breast cancer that challenged her to use her own voice and become 'unsilenced.' She has made an excellent contribution to understanding the many cultural dimensions of mothering. I highly recommend this uplifting book to all mothers--and fathers, too." --Alvin F. Poussaint, M.D., Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
"An important book that is at once eye-opening and heart-felt. With profound empathy for her clients' inner perspectives and a willingness to examine her own experience, Kathy Weingarten puts a human face on her theories." --Ronald F. Levant, Ed.D., Faculty, Harvard Medical School
"An exquisite illumination of the maternal mystique. Through Weingarten's many accomplished voices--autobiographer, clinician, social scientist, theorist, advocate, mother--we hear about the mother's world, where intimacy is generally expected but, at times, pointlessly and cruelly proscribed by social norms. She shows us how the value of all of us may hinge less on how 'good' we are in our specified roles than on the authenticity of our dialogue with ourselves and with others. This book holds up an important lens to family life. It will also give men a rare chance to overhear the inner debate of the women in our lives. It signals us to quiet down and attend to their voices--and to our own." --Richard Chasin, M.D., President, American Family Therapy Academy
Excellent for client assignment, this volume questions popular beliefs about what makes a 'good mother, ' and rethinks the meanings of maternal self-disclosure and hierarchy within the family.
Following her diagnosis with breast cancer, clinical psychologist and noted family therapist Kathy Weingarten became acutely aware of deeply ingrained cultural messages about mothering that were limiting her ability to share emotional intimacy with her children under crisis conditions. She began to question popular beliefs about what makes a "good mother," and to rethink the meanings of maternal self-disclosure and hierarchy within the family. Reworking the story of her motherhood, and her relationship to her own mother's story, Weingarten forged a new authenticity in her relationship with her son and daughter. Accessible to general readers, and excellent for client assignment, the book will inform and inspire professionals and students in family therapy, clinical psychology, and women's studies. The paperback edition features a new preface describing the author's continuing professional, theoretical, and personal transformations.
After learning she had breast cancer, Kathy Weingarten - a family therapist and mother of two - became acutely aware of the crippling cultural messages about mothering that kept her from sharing herself intimately with her children. "I wanted to understand why I was so willing to let my children express themselves", she writes, "but so uncertain how to express myself with them". Drawing on the tools and case histories of her professional life, the example of her own loving (and beloved) but constrained mother, and the experience of conveying her post-diagnosis feelings to her children, Kathy Weingarten charts an invaluable and inspiring course in working toward a collaborative, non-hierarchical family life. She defies traditional attitudes about response to a child's gender, the importance of fathers, the true nature of listening, and the meaning of separation. She questions the conventional wisdom about mothers that catches them between representing themselves accurately to their families and representing themselves acceptably. Although mindful of not burdening children with more information than they should bear, this stirring book carries the crucial message that children can't be properly prepared for their own intense lives without knowing the ways their loved ones cope with theirs. And, no less important, that intimacy is achieved only through honesty of expression - the authentic, not the "good", mother's voice. To the silenced parent, Kathy Weingarten offers relief, clarity, and direction.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -237).
About the Author
Kathy Weingarten, PhD, is Co-Director of the Program in Narrative Therapies at The Family Institute of Cambridge and Assistant Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School. The author of numerous articles and the editor of several books, she speaks internationally on mothers' lives, narrative therapy, and illness.
Table of Contents
Preface to the Paperback Edition
1. Who Listens to Mothers' Stories?
2. The Good Plus the Bad Equals Mother
3. Responsibility Gone Awry
4. What Is a Self?
5. Men's Work and Women's Families
6. Refusing to Be a Wife
7. If Fathers Are Going to Be Important...
8. Intimacy with Children
9. Growing Up, Not Apart
10. Challenging Cultural Beliefs Together