I'm not quite through reading it yet, but I have to say that "Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom" by Christiane Northrup, M.D., is a book that every woman should read. I was fortunate to pick up my tattered copy at my library branch in the used book section. I don't even know if it's a popular book currently or not. But it should be.
This book is thorough (it's fatter than a Bible). I've found it helpful on so many levels. It goes through a lot of medical stuff relating to the female reproductive system. That is useful. It talks about the experience of pregnancy, labour/delivery, and motherhood, of miscarriage and infertility, of abortion, and of sexual abuse...all with women's stories. It talks about the many kinds of cancers and other diseases unique to women. Tons of information.
What I especially liked in this book though, was the unique perspective Northrup has as a medical doctor with all the traditional knowledge and experience, but who also has a very wholistic perspective: treating the whole woman because she recognizes that mind, body, spirit, emotions are all inter-related. She gives story after story of women who have experienced healing of cysts, fibroids, bleeding etc. after they have listened to their bodies, processed their emotions from past pain/trauma, begun to make changes in their lives and relationships, turned to a higher power, and/or begun to gather the support that they need around them. I was astounded.
Another favorite thing I took away from this book was greater understanding about the energy systems of the body. Our bodies have a number of different energy pathways (chakras) that are related to different areas/organs in our bodies. They ways we process our emotions, approach life, feed our bodies and so on can block these energy pathways so that different areas are more susceptible to illness. She has a chart that shows the correlation between different chakras, the mental/emotional issues, and examples of related illnesses. Discovering this information is actually helping give me direction for my life in order to help bring healing to my thyroid.
The third section I particularly enjoyed was all about a woman's menstrual cycle and the significance of the ebb and flow of energy, creativity, and wisdom. I think we've all been ripped off when it comes to learning about this in grade four. There is so much more to this than tampons, pads, making babies, and birth control. A woman's uterus is much more than a place where an egg can grow if fertilized. It is her space for creativity. It is her "low heart". And our fine balance of hormones which regulates our cycle allows us to be intuitive and reflective at times, more open to receiving others at other times, and more energetic at others. But we need to learn to listen to our bodies rather than pushing ourselves to the limit.
The other book I'd recommend (from a different perspective), is "Captivating" by John and Stasi Eldredge. It is actually the major inspiration for Eve Studios. But I've done enough writing for tonight.
Just a reminder that FemFest 2009 is coming up soon, starting September 25th. FemFest is theatre and workshops "by women for everyone" put on by Sarasvati Productions. The theme this year is "Herstory". One of the shows I am interested in is "Pitch Blond": the story of Judy Holliday, the 170-IQ genius who specialized in playing dumb blondes. Tickets are $10 for a single show. We'll be giving away some tickets for FemFest, as well as some gift certificates at FemFest. More details to come...