Ask Me About My Uterus by Abby Norman

uterus

Originally published in: 2018

What it’s about: Oh, just another woman who got ignored by doctors because she had pain in her lady bits.

What made me pick it up: Honestly, I saw the title and thought it’d be like a funny how-to guide to women’s reproductive health. It was more of a memoir about one woman’s experience with chronic pain and endometriosis.

My favorite parts: It’s hard to have favorite parts from such a heartbreaking book, so I guess it would be just having yet another example for doctors to see that points out their obvious dismissal of women and their symptoms. Also, there is good information here on how disparate the health information and research are on these issues including the almost total lack of training in medical disciplines. Endometriosis is a debilitating disease most women find hard to even have properly diagnosed, let alone treated with care. It ruins lives, as this story makes abundantly clear, and women deserve better.

Who should read this: Medical professionals, of any stripe. Men. And women who want to find or provide solidarity to those suffering.

Erica’s rating: four shells

Doing Harm by Maya Dusenbery

doing harm

Originally published in: 2018

What it’s about: I’ll let the subtitle speak for itself – “The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick”.

What made me pick it up: A while ago one of my friends added it as to-read on Goodreads and then I eventually put a hold on it and here we are.

My favorite parts: I guess my favorite part is the validation this book provides many women with serious conditions who find it very hard to get adequate, and sometimes any, treatment from medical professionals. The book is well written and informative but sheesh, it’s 2019 and we’re still being written off as hysterical women. It’s very upsetting. I spent the entirety of the book being grateful for not having had most of these experiences yet and being saddened by all the friends I have who suffer from MS, thyroid conditions, fibromyalgia, undiagnosed Lyme, vulvodynia, and vaginismus and all the insufficient remedies they’ve been given. I have certainly been given ridiculously dismissive medical treatment like being told my dysmenorrhea would get better after I had a baby – advice no 16 year old needs to hear. “Don’t worry, you only have to suffer through these symptoms for at least another decade but once you give birth all will be resolved! In the meantime here is a cure-all oral contraceptive!” I know what it’s like to go to doctor after doctor hoping someone will listen and offer actual, helpful treatment. I also know the joy and relief of finding one who does. Women’s whole health and lives are being affected by this poor treatment – from employment to relationships to the will to go on living. The medical profession must do better. Believe women. Trust women. We know our bodies. It’s not all in our heads.

Who it’s great for: All women. And also everybody else, especially doctors.

Erica’s rating: four shells

 

Okay Fine Whatever by Courtenay Hameister

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Originally published in: 2018

What it’s about: How an awkward late bloomer overcomes her anxiety. Or at least tries to.

What made me pick it up: If there is one thing I love it’s other people’s late bloomer stories. As someone who feels like they got a late start on this blooming process I like to meet the other members of the club and see the ways in which they blossom.

My favorite parts: Her voice. She’s honest and funny at the same time, which is necessary given she’s talking about some big topics of mental and personal health. Also if you find yourself employing “defensive pessimism” to manage your anxiety you’ll find a kindred spirit in her tiny triumphs, big attempts, and catastrophic outcomes. Life is scary and hard. Let’s employ all our tools so our brains don’t hijack it and make it MUCHWORSE. To see a good example: pick up this book.

Who it’s great for: Anyone who wants to step outside their comfort zone, even vicariously. Anxious ones. Readers who feel like they aren’t yet at peak bloom when the world expects them to be.

Erica’s rating: four shells

 

Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics by Dan Harris

meditation

Originally published in: 2018

What it’s about: A book about “secular” mindfulness meditation and Harris’s work to share his beloved practice with those that want to try but have many excuses not to.

What made me pick it up: As a newbie mindfulness meditator I am curious about all books mediation-related.

My favorite parts: I like this for the reason laid out in the title – this is for fidgety skeptics. If you’ve tried and immediately not achieved enlightenment so you think you’ve failed – it’s for you. If you’d like to try but “just don’t have the time” – it’s also for you. It’s not mystical in any way but it does make it sound accessible by shouting down your excuses, providing strategies to help, and detailing examples of the ongoing struggles from long-term practitioners. You will want to keep trying because they extol how it has helped them. And if you’ve tried even a little bit you’ll know of what they speak. Meditation helps me be quieter in my mind and reactions and I heartily endorse any book that can bring that peace to others. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

Who it’s great for: Anyone interested in meditation.

Erica’s rating: three shells

 


Find this book in your local library or on Amazon (affiliate link).


 

The Nature Fix by Florence Williams

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Originally published in: 2017

What it’s about: How spending as little as 30 minutes a week in nature can help us be happier.

What made me pick it up: I’m a nature girl. I grew up running through orchards and living outside in our yard. My favorite pastimes reinforce what this book tells me is true — nature helps. More of it is better.

My favorite things: I love that she includes the research. I love that there is research that says we need more, not less, exposure to nature and that it can lead to all sorts of health benefits like less depression and ADHD. It might even be equal to or better than meditation! I enjoyed that she tells it as her personal journey to find out what works and why and how to incorporate more of it into her life. It makes me want to add “go for a walk in the trees” to my to do list and “end up somewhere wild” to my travel plans.

Who it’s great for: Nature enthusiasts of all stripes. Tree lovers. Walkers. People who feel a bit off and are looking for a solution.

Erica’s rating: four-and-a-half-shells


Find a copy in your local library or on Amazon (affiliate link).