Sometimes, we have one of those moments that shifts our lives into an unexpected direction and takes us down a path we never expected. This is something that Shannon Watts experienced in 2012. Once living an "ordinary life" as a stay-at-home mom, her life suddenly changed when she learned of the news of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT that killed 26 people, mostly children. Shannon expressed increased concern as she reflected upon not just the Sandy Hook shooting, but previous mass shootings from recent years, especially as a mother of five children.
With heavy emotions, she decided that enough was enough and decided take action, starting with creating a simple Facebook group for other moms to have an online conversation with. This group page was called, “One Million Moms for Gun Control.” What she did not expect was that this action took her on a journey, with a new set of challenges. She would go on to become the founder of “MOMS Demand Action for Gun Sense in America,” a grassroots movement and platform for mothers, fathers, students, survivors, and families working together to fight for public safety measures to protect people from gun violence. This book is her story and her ambitious endeavor to fight for public safety against gun violence and the many lessons she learned along the way.
Watts’ resolve in establishing and (later) maintaining a novel grassroots movement reflects upon our own tenacity as human beings and what we could achieve individually and as a community, whether it be being a nurse, a doctor, a lawyer, a professional athlete, etc. Watts recounts various events that allowed her to be a driving force for change in a daunting and cutthroat political environment. As In these particular moments, she demonstrated the importance of having a mother in the family/organization and the unique power of women can provide in their respective communities and in society as a whole, both figuratively and literally. A mother’s will power and ability to multi-task are, at times, underappreciated and this book is an emphatic reminder of the uniqueness of their role in society.
Fight Like a Mother is an inspirational story of courage, determination, perseverance, patience, and using your voice to advocate for something more than yourself. The book provides a realistic, but optimistic perspective on how people can take action to advocate for policies to protect and save lives. Readers will be moved by Watts’ story and her ability to transform members of her movement to becoming leaders themselves in the movement to reduce gun violence in their own respective communities. Readers will find that they, themselves, can discover a greater purpose in their own lives. In Watts’ eyes, anyone and everyone (especially women) can take that leap of faith in anything that they are passionate (or emotional) about. In the words of Watts herself,
Whatever emotion is pulling at your heartstrings, go with it. Those intense feelings aren’t meant to torture you, or to make you feel disempowered, but exactly the opposite. Any heartache you may be feeling about where the world is headed means one thing: it’s time to go from outraged to engaged (p. 18-19).
To say that I recommend Fight Like a Mother as a great read sells the book short. Fight Like a Mother shines as a story of hope and empowerment. This book can be considered one of the best uplifting books for modern society. From a nursing and public health perspective, health care workers can gain from reading this book and strive to become better advocates and leaders in their institutions and communities, themselves, especially in terms of improving health care policies, not just gun policy and reform.
Conflict of Interest
There is no conflict of interest to note for this review.
Watts, S. (2019). Fight Like A Mother. HarperOne.