Friday, August 19, 2011

Purple Leaves, Red Cherries: A Gift for Mothers

Purple Leaves,
Red Cherries
A Gift for Mothers with Short Stories, Journal, and Toolkit,
Tania Elfersy and
Andrea Katzman,
Flower Cap Press, 2011

I thought there must be a way to embrace new mothers and make them feel like they are not alone; and there must be a way to provide mothers with an accessible outlet for creativity and expression, because these aspects of our core identity are so easily put aside when our lives are overwhelmed with the care of young children, often causing us to lose ourselves. - Tania Elfersy

Most mothers would probably agree that motherhood is one of the most transformative, amazing experiences in their lives - it changes a woman forever; it is overjoying and wonderful - and yet... how profoundly challenging and depleting those first months can be with a new baby. Purple Leaves, Red Cherries is a collection of very honest, open stories about motherhood, paired with a journal and "toolkit" designed to help new mothers keep their sense of self through reflection, writing, and other mindful practices.

Of the two aspects of the book, I most enjoyed the stories, many of which resonated with me as I recalled my own sleep-deprivation days as a new mom. The brief, personal stories, contributed by about thirty different women, touched on a wide range of issues including birth and nursing, expectations and feeling capable, changing roles, changing bodies, marriage and intimacy. I liked that the writers were so frank about their own experiences, and that the collection also includes stories from adoptive mothers, mothers who needed assistance conceiving, and mothers of children with health issues. Knowing you aren't alone can make all the difference, and such stories could be very meaningful to an exhausted and discouraged new mother.

Designed and intended as a gift, the book is very lovely. I read it in e-version, and would have loved to see the print copy - the illustrations throughout are colorful and cheerful, and the toolkit seems very stylish and pretty. (It almost verges upon the too-pretty-to-actually use - I myself would have a hard time writing my open, honest, grouchy, tired, new mommy-thoughts in such a pretty book, but then, you can't really give a friend a ratty old notebook for a present). There are some very nice suggestions in the toolkit section, including a "mother's declaration of rights" (absolutely do demand that daily shower, ladies!), a "today I am grateful for" reflection, and a list of small but meaningful projects to assign well-intentioned visitors who aren't sure how they can help. Some of the suggested practices may appeal more to some mothers than others, so keep your intended recipient in mind (I am thinking of Quote Decor- posting inspirational quotes around the house; or some of the pampering ideas, such as taking five minutes for a facial or making a delicious smoothie). All in all, I wouldn't have minded more stories, perhaps from a broader range of moms, but it is a lovely book and I would have been pleased to receive it. Well worth considering as a gift for a thoughtful woman who has newly become a mother.

You can learn more about the book at, which also includes a forum for reading, posting, and commenting on motherhood stories and tips.

Happy reading!

(Many thanks to the author for a complimentary copy of the book!)

1 comment :

  1. Sounds delightful. I am so blessed to have one of the greatest jobs on earth, being a mom. It has it's highs and lows, but I wouldn't trade it for anything else. My best tip would be to always make some "me" time. I will have to look into this book, thanks for sharing.


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