Sure to become a classic on female empowerment, a groundbreaking exploration of the personal, cultural, and global implications of intergenerational trauma created by patriarchy, how it is passed down from mothers to daughters, and how we can break this destructive cycle.
Why do women keep themselves small and quiet? Why do they hold back professionally and personally? What fuels the uncertainty and lack of confidence so many women often feel? In this paradigm-shifting book, leading feminist thinker Bethany Webster identifies the source of women’s trauma. She calls it the Mother Wound—the systemic disenfranchisement of women by the patriarchy—and reveals how this cycle is perpetuated by wounded mothers who unconsciously pass on damaging beliefs and behaviors to their daughters.
In her workshops, online courses, and talks, Webster has helped countless women re-examine their lives and their relationships with their mothers, giving them the vocabulary to voice their pain, and encouraging them to share their experiences. In this manifesto and self-help guide, she offers practical tools for identifying the manifestations of the Mother Wound in our daily life and strategies we can use to heal ourselves and prevent our daughters from enduring the same pain. In addition, she offers step-by-step advice on how to reconnect with our inner child, grieve the mother we didn’t have, stop people-pleasing, and, ultimately, transform our heartache and anger into healing and self-love.
Revealing how women are affected by the Mother Wound, even if they don’t personally identify as survivors, Discovering the Inner Mother revolutionizes how we view mother-daughter relationships and gives us the inspiration and guidance we need to improve our lives and ultimately create a more equitable society for all.
Webster, facilitator of workshops based on her personal healing method, debuts with a comforting if diffuse explanation of her methods for alleviating "intergenerational trauma" among women. She defines the "Mother Wound" as the effect on women of the "pervasive, patriarchal, capitalist cultures rooted in colonization and destruction of the earth that have come to dominate much of the world," which manifest as "a set of internalized limiting beliefs and patterns." She discusses various ways this plays out silencing women's voices, placing women in reductive roles and provides prompts for how the reader may respond. To do so, Webster uses composite examples of her workshop students that illustrate her teachings, followed by discussion questions. For instance, Webster tells the story of a woman whose mother raised her as a "surrogate spouse" and "family mediator," distorting her sense of independence as an adult. Webster then uses this case study to spur readers to question how "principles of patriarchy" have affected their own life. Unfortunately, there isn't much in the way of guidance here, and Webster mentions but never shares her "seven-step process" to "support other women in healing the Mother Wound," which gives the book at times the feel of being a marketing extension of her workshops. Women who grapple with self-limiting beliefs may glean some insights from the examples given, but the dearth of concrete advice is a disappointment.