About 7 months ago, I was wandering through a used bookstore when a book literally jumped off the shelf at me: Primal Mothering In a Modern World, by Hygeia Halfmoon. The front cover has a picture of a beautiful family. The mother is topless and breastfeeding her youngest child. I knew that the book was made for me. I bought it without even reading the back cover.
When I got the book home, I was delighted to find that the book was written by a raw foodist, a fruitarian to be exact. Being a raw foodist myself, I was expecting to read a book about raising a raw family. Little did I know I was in for so much more.
The common thread throughout this book is not a raw food lifestyle, but women’s empowerment. Empowerment in the choices we make in our mates, in birth, education, where we live, and yes, the food we eat. Ms. Halfmoon uses her life as an example throughout the book to illustrate how women often get caught in the trap of societal and/or cultural norms without even realizing it. She begins her “counter-culture” choices toward empowerment when she decides to leave her abusive husband and live in a shelter just after her first daughter is born. Her choices continue as she turns down public assistance because she would have to stop breastfeeding her daughter to go to work, because the government would not support her. With many other twists and turns along the way, this courageous woman earns her Master’s Degree while living in a tent in Oklahoma, somehow finds enough money to move her whole family to Hawaii, and has an unassisted homebirth. She raises her 3 children and runs her own home business making baby slings as well as authors many empowering books. The story of this part of her life ends here, leaving you wishing to hear more.
After a quick Google search it is not hard to find the rest of the story and, unfortunately, it is not all good. Ms. Halfmoon ends up loosing her daughter to Florida State Child Protective Services, looses her standing in the raw community, and returns to alcoholism. It is unclear how this part of her life ends. I did find out that she is living right here in Northern Arizona as of a month ago, in Williams. It appears her sling business is still active and that she may have had more children. She is also now a grandmother.
Despite her recent misgivings, Primal Mothering is no less inspiring and empowering than before finding out about Ms. Halfmoon’s fall from grace. I feel so strongly about this book.