Reading

Here are a few of the texts that have meant allot to me this year:
Getting from here to there: Analytic love, analytic process by Sheldon Bach I heard Sheldon Bach interviewed on the fabulous podcast ‘New Books in Psychoanalysis’ and I was intrigued by his work on Sadomasochistic ways of relating. I love the way he writes and this text had an enormous impact on how I understand my own sadomasochistic ways of mothering.
Feminine Law by Gill Gentile This was another interview from the New Books in Psychoanalysis podcast I really enjoyed (washing dishes has become so much more intellectually satisfying), and her thinking around ‘receptive space’ or ‘naming the vagina’ has furthered my own thinking on what it is I think I’m doing when I do ‘parenting.’

Odes’ and ‘Stags Leap’ by Sharon Olds I just discovered Sharon this year, and I am astonishedby her emotional sensibility. I cannot stop reading Stags Leap. Her frankness is electrifying as is her love of bodies- it’s wonderful to read someone who loves men as much as she does.

Fracture by Ann Oakley Ann Oakley is a sociologist of childbirth and this book is a collection of her writing after an accident which resulted in a fractured wrist. The whole book is gorgeous, and there’s some startling thinking about pregnancy and breastfeeding which I enjoyed. But my biggest takeaway from her thinking was how much permission she gives herself to expand. She mines her own experience extensively, unapologetically. In a world where personal experience can be minimised or co-opted into aphorism in an instant, it was refreshing to read someone who take meaning-making so seriously.
I Love Dick by Kris Kraus This book was outrageous fun to read. I snorted with joy at all the theory jokes and I love how she dignifies the deeply shameful psychic-scape of female desire and obsession. I feel a little less apologetic about myself after reading this. I have also lifted her self -proclaimed identity of ‘bad feminist’ and I use it daily to refer to myself.
Women who run with wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes I have resisted reading this book for years because of the cheesy title and my distaste of anything earnestly spiritual. I’m so glad I finally got around to reading it. Although her authorial voice is not my cup of tea (slightly too verbose and hippy -essentialist) the content rocked my world. She is shockingly original in her thinking, and I finally understand what to do with my ‘wild woman’ anger and desire.

Mating in captivity and State of affairs by Esther Perel I can’t get enough Esther Perel. I love the way she thinks about the push and pull of attachment, ‘competing needs for security and adventure’ and the poetry of Eros. She has radically changed the way I think about creativity and desire.

Serenity Yin Yoga by Magdalena Mecweld This book gave me all I needed to begin practicing Yin yoga. Every morning at 6am I do an hour of breath and backbends while my son watches tv. Beginning the day like this has been challenging and fruitful and gorgeous.

2015/2016

So, these are some texts that have gotten me through the past year:

Helen Dunmore, poem, ‘The night workers’: a great poem to have knocking around in your head at three am when the baby won’t sleep

Oliver James, book, ‘How not to fuck them up‘: I know some feminists hate him, but I love how he makes the labour of mothering visible and valuable. I think there’s an argument for it to be reclaimed as a feminist text

Margot Wadell, book, ‘Inside Lives’: a beautifully written, technical psychoanalytic text tracing normal emotional development from infancy to old age (including some terrifying examples of pathology – ‘is my son staring at the light because he’s trying to hold himself together or because he’s a baby interested in light?!) It’s a total pleasure to read, particularly the chapters on infancy

Rachel Cusk, book, ‘A Life’s work’: a gorgeous memoir that bravely explores some of the darker aspects of motherhood in totally delicious sentences

Helen Dunmore, poem, ‘Glad of these times’: A fabulous poem that puts into words why I’m very happy I gave birth and am raising a child in in the 21st century, not 50 years ago
Book, ‘The Oxford Handbook of Infant, child and adolescent sleep and behaviour’: a technical smorgasbord of essays on sleep. Its not for everyone, but I enjoyed it immensely

Lynn Murray and Liz Andrews, book, ‘The Social Baby,‘ a visually stunning book of film stills capturing how even newborns reach out for emotional connection with their caretakers. Looking through it was definitely a penny-drop moment for me

Daniel Stern, Books, ‘Diary of a baby’ and ‘The interpersonal world of the infant’: The first text is an imaginative foray into baby Joey’s experience of the world and his sense of self at different stages of infancy (one month, four an a half months one year and four years) which sort of flesh out and illustrate Stern’s rather more technical but riveting observations from the second text.

Nicola Lathey, book, ‘Small talk’: A really useful book written by a speech an language therapist about language development. Full of games, cold hard facts and recommendations for developing speech.

Susie Orbach, PDF, ‘Two for the price of one’: Susie’s thinking on women, food and bodies (Hunger Strike and On eating especially) has influenced my deeply over the years and radically changed the way I eat and think about food and my own body, and this essay is a lovely succinct introduction to some of her thinking, geared in particular towards pregnant and postpartum women. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/317739/TWO_FOR_THE_PRICE_OF_ONE.pdf

Reveries of a mum on the psychoanalytic couch

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