The Mother Dance: How Children Change Your Life

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9780060187682: The Mother Dance: How Children Change Your Life

From the celebrated author of The Dance of Anger comes an extraordinary book about mothering and how it transforms us -- and all our relationships -- inside and out.

Writing from her dual perspective as psychologist and mother, Dr. Harriet Lerner puts the spotlight on how a woman is changed when she becomes a mother. Enlivened with personal tales and vivid case examples that run the gamut from hilarious to the heart-wrenching, The Mother Dance  spells out what happens to a woman when two become three... and four. We see why her new life is so different from his  -- and how children inevitably help us to discover things about ourselves and our partners that we would otherwise not know. Lerner shows us how kids call on us to grow up and are the best teachers of life's most profound spiritual lessons.

From birth to the empty nest, Lerner's own experience has taught her the basic lessons of motherhood: that we are not in control of what happens to our children; that most of what we worry about doesn't happen (though bad things happen that we fail to anticipate); and that our children will love us with all our imperfections if we can do the same for them.

Lerner helps us to distinguish what we can change (and how to do it), and when we need to surrender to the fact that our lives -- and our children's -- may not go as we expect or plan. With the insight, warmth and clarity that characterize all of Lerner's work, here is a gloriously witty and moving book about what it means to dance the mother dance.

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Review:

How does motherhood change you? Who or what do you become when you become a mother? "We can't begin to know what our children will evoke in us until we have them," says psychologist and psychotherapist Dr. Harriet Lerner, author of the bestselling The Dance of Anger. Lerner set out to write a book on parenting, and ended up with a thoughtful and honest book focusing on the experience of being a mother--a woman's experiences, needs, and changes as she travels through the trials and pleasures of pregnancy, birth, power struggles, guilt, anxiety, relationship challenges, sibling struggles, and separation. Filled with personal stories and case studies, The Mother Dance offers mothers-to-be a guide for the road ahead, and women who are already mothers will recognize their own dilemmas and situations, and gain clarity about their experiences. Throughout, Lerner is wise, personal, and truthful about her own failings. This book is a welcome addition to the recent discourse on the mothering experience. --Ericka Lutz

From the Author:

Being a mother comes as naturally to me as being an astronaut. Nor do I occupy any moral high ground when I help other mothers to achieve clarity, objectivity, and calm.When I started this book, I had one son in high school and another in college. I completed the project two years later from the vantage point of a newly empty nest. IÍve valued the opportunity to look back at my own complex experience of mothering, and I've not hesitated to share the best and worst of it. Your kids will make you love them in a way you never thought possible. They will also confront you will all the painful and unsavory emotions that we try so hard to avoid. Children will teach you about yourself, and about what it's like not to be up to the demands of the most important responsibility you'll ever have. When you become a mother, you learn that you are capable of deep compassion, and also that you're definitely not the nice, highly evolved person you fancied yourself to be before you became a mother. The novelist Fay Weldon puts it best. The greatest advantage of not having children must be that you can go on believing you are a good person. Once you have children, you realize how wars start. Welcome to the mother dance!

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Lerner, Harriet
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