Friday, December 6, 2013

Women and Friendship

Earlier this year while writing an article for BlogHer, I read of a study done at Harvard Medical School. It was on mental health and what women need. I had my suspicions that friendship was an essential to this, but I had never seen it formally researched before. Well, indeed... according to the results of what is now known as the Nurse's Health Study, the more friends women have, they less likely they are to develop physical ailments. And though obvious to us, it's finally noted and quantifiable: women with friendships lead a more joyful life than those without.

A joyful life from having friends, confidants. Without someone close in our lives, we risk poor health. 

I kind of knew that already. It was what I was writing about: What to do when you feel lonely.

After having my first baby, my husband and I made the decision for me to stay home. I naively thought that this long awaited baby would be all I needed. It took only three weeks of me being home alone with my baby before I began to feel a choking isolation that left me weepy and anxious.

I couldn't eat or sleep, I couldn't focus, I had trouble getting out of the house. Everything was so hard, and I had no one to talk to.

I was lonely.

That season in my life is all I ever need as the proof of something I long knew to be true: women need the bond of friendships.
After my essay On Being Lonely was published on BlogHer, Jessica Smock and Stephanie Sprenger sent me an email regarding an anthology they were working on together, The HerStories Project: 50 women and their writing on friendships. Their goal was to create a collection of powerful essays; the joys, the loss, the moment in time, the presence, of other women in and throughout our lives. 50 tales of friendship, and all the complexities that go along with this intimacy of love and sometimes, heartbreak.

Stephanie and Jessica wanted to include my voice among these women, and I am honored to be part of their published work, The HerStories Project.

In The HerStories Project, you will find stirring essays from some of the blogging world’s most engaging voices and discover new writers. Women writing of how friendships have shaped their lives, and how the reality of being connected with other women is the essential piece of what community means to us. This beautiful book is for us, about us.

*I am giving away a copy here. Please leave a comment, and a random winner will be picked.*

After reading The HerStories Project, I came away knowing what I felt in my bones for years, that relationships need effort, even when everything else is tugging at us in the opposite direction. We can revive a long lost friendship, affirm the constant one in our present life, or sadly, let that one that saps us, go. Once you start reading the deeply personal stories in this anthology, it's hard to put this book down; the main reason being the world of friendship we're drawn into. We don’t make enough of our friendships, these relationships that should be celebrated, or mourned. They matter, and we’re not odd to yearn for this connection.

I know you will enjoy The HerStories Project for yourself, but what a great gift for that close friend of yours. Win her a copy here today.

“[This] is a labor of love between two friends, Jessica and Stephanie, as they committed to the gathering and telling of women’s friendships stories; but it’s also a labor of love from all the women who bared their hearts and revealed their truth as they literally showed up in relationship, practicing love with someone else.  This isn’t fiction.  These are real women, real feelings, real elation, and real disappointment.” [The HerStories Project]

The HerStories Project is available through Amazon.

Visit HerStoriesProject. com to learn more about the editors, contributors, and the project.

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  1. hey i would read some HERstories, though i am not a HER i do like stories...and i def believe we were not intended to walk life alone...and often it is the companions we choose along the way that make all the difference in our lives...

  2. Alexandra I can't get over how similar our experiences of new motherhood were. I could not wrap my brain around the idea that I had my beautiful, long awaited for baby and yet felt profoundly alone. I needed friends. And when I found them I became a much better mother. I loved your essay in The HerStories Project and am beyond thrilled to have an essay in the same book with you, one of my blogging idols! As always, I love your post!!

  3. I am SO proud of you. I would love to win it. But if I don't, I will buy it.

  4. Congratulations! You are one of the most fantastic friends I've had the privilege of knowing. Love you.

  5. Good luck everyone! (I can't recommend this book enough... it covers everything on how the people in our lives -- whether they remain, or not -- shape us.

  6. congratulations, Alexandra! I read a chunk of HerStories in advance because they asked me to write a review. Of course I read your piece, which was familiar to me because I'd read it on BlogHer/your blog. cried again and again over it. because even though i'm not really a new mom anymore? i still feel lonely. for lots of reasons. and it's probably time i try to change that. xo

  7. I love you, Erin Margolin. We're all in this together. I hope my essay helps others to find a way out of that darkness. xo

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    1. Dear Alexandra, Thank you for your consistent posting. I love seeing your titles in my inbox. And congratulations for the anthology. I had a very similar experience with full time mothering. It was my creativity that saved me...and my knitting circle...and the book group I found...all these ways to connect. Blessings on the book! xo S

  9. Fantastic, Alexandra! Cheers and congrats!


  10. This sounds great. Looking forward to picking this one up!

  11. We are so thrilled to have your beautiful essay as part of this book- it is clear it has already resonated with so many people. Thank you for being part of the project, and for such a lovely post today!

  12. I've so loved being part of this project. Such great writers and quality people. And it's so true what you said about the importance of female bonding to stave off loneliness and for so much more, too. I really loved your piece, Alexandra.

  13. I love your role here -- the dig deep, bare it all, truth teller. Congrats on the book, this is all so exciting! xo

  14. Thank you for your reflection on the reading of the anthology. It's so encouraging and assuring. Congratulations!

  15. Congratulations to you, my friend. I was so disconnected when I had Annie, I didn't know how to tell anyone what I was going through. I didn't understand it. We need your voice, your beautiful writing out there. Thank you for sharing your story. So proud of you.

  16. Your experience with a newborn sounds so much like my own. I knew that I needed the company of other mothers instinctively, and searched them out even though it goes so much against my grain to put myself out there. I love the idea of a book on female friendships. What a great gift idea for my girlfriends, too!



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