By Cat Saunders
It was 1995, and Christiane Northrup’s groundbreaking book, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, had just been released. One of my publishers sent me a review copy and asked if I’d like to interview Dr. Northrup. I said yes.
I still remember the first time I saw her in the publicity photos. I was struck by the depth of compassion in her face. I felt as if I was looking at a very old soul, someone who had witnessed much pain and had learned how to hold it in her heart with extraordinary tenderness and respect. Every time I’ve seen her since then, speaking on television or smiling out from the covers of her books, I see the same kind face, only the kindness has deepened and strengthened over time.
Although I have not yet met Christiane in person, I told her once in a letter that she seems to play the role of “Mystical Midwife” for me. For years now, she shows up in one way or another at key transition points in my life. Invariably, the transition points she midwifes are the ones that require me to listen more and more deeply to the wisdom of my body—which is, of course, the main theme of Christiane’s work.
The first time this happened was actually the first time I’d ever heard of her, when my publisher set up our telephone interview to talk about Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom. As it happened, I had to cancel the interview at the last minute due to a healing crisis—a cancer scare that required a uterine biopsy.
Fortunately, the cancer scare turned out to be just that: a scare. However, I’d never had to cancel an interview with anyone in a decade of doing them for all kinds of people. Also, the biopsy was such a ghastly experience that my body was screaming at me afterward, angry that I had submitted to such an invasive procedure instead of just asking it—my own womb—what was wrong.
In point of fact, the right direction of inquiry was inward, though the voice of my fear was also glad to have medical confirmation that no cancer was found. Once I put all the pieces together, I realized that I would have had to be deaf, dumb, and blind not to notice the “coincidence,” namely, that the biopsy forced me to cancel with none other than Christiane Northrup, who is one of the world’s foremost champions of feminine wisdom.
Thus, when I finally remembered to ask my own womb—the feminine center of creation—what was going on, the message came loud and clear: STOP WRITING ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE’S WORK AND GET ON WITH YOUR OWN!
I knew immediately what I had to do. For years, I’d allowed my other writing—especially all my interview work (which I loved)—to interfere with the completion of my own book. And so, I must give credit to Christiane Northrup’s mysterious “midwifing” effect on me that I changed course with my writing right then and there, stopped interviewing other people for years, and got on with the completion of Dr. Cat’s Helping Handbook (published in 2000 and revised in 2008).
The funny thing is, after my book came out, my “Mystical Midwife” showed up during another tectonic shift. This one was too big and too personal to talk about, but ironically, one of the punch lines is that I may be returning to interviews—except this time, they’ll be for one of my own books. Who knows, I may even ask Christiane for one!
For now, I encourage you to explore the website of this cream-of-the crop doc. Her site is loaded with information and support especially designed for women, and it’s expanding all the time. By the way, she has written two other masterpieces: The Wisdom of Menopause and Mother-Daughter Wisdom. I recommend them both!
In October 2008, Hay House released Christiane’s fourth book, The Secret Pleasures of Menopause. I don’t know how she keeps doing it, but this book is yet another groundbreaking resource for women—and it’s a book that men can learn from, too. After all, most men’s lives are populated by many different women, starting with their mothers!
Just as we women have learned a lot about our bodies from male doctors dispensing information based on countless studies conducted primarily by men on men, I think it’s past time for men to reap the benefits of learning more about their bodies from women—and Christiane Northrup is as good as it gets for a teacher extraordinaire!
Cat Saunders, Ph.D., is a counselor in private practice in Seattle, Washington. She is also the author of Dr. Cat’s Helping Handbook: A Compassionate Guide for Being Human (available through Amazon). Contact Cat by emailing her or by calling 206-329-0125 (24-hour voicemail).