Writing

Blog Posts and Articles from Across the Web

Mindful Return: You May Have Been Prepared for Labor…But Are you Prepared for Emotional Labor?

A few weeks ago on my blog, I spoke about the dip in marital satisfaction that 67% of married couples report after having a baby. There are many reasons why this happens.  But in my opinion, the most common culprit is emotional labor.

Emotional labor refers to the invisible (and unpaid) work of caring for your feelings, as well as managing the feelings of others. It is the mental load of managing households.  Being the one to remember important dates and appointments.  Remembering birthdays.  Ordering food before the fridge is empty. It is work that falls disproportionately on women’s shoulders.

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Emma Basch
Maternity Matters: We had a Baby and Now We Can’t Stand Each Other

Sleepless nights, pelvic floor pain, plugged milk ducts. We talk frequently about these and other effects of having a baby, but you don’t hear a lot about relationships. More specifically, many of my clients come to me in distress about the state of their marriage after having children. They feel irritated with their partners, are fighting more frequently, and are disconnected. 

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Emma Basch
Maternity Matters: Paternity Leave-A Feminist Issue

In my last post, I laid out several of the problems with the current structure of maternity leave and flexible work policies in the United States, including the gender gap in earnings and the expectation that women will still be responsible for childcare and domestic tasks implicit in many leave policies. As I outlined, these policies don’t fix the problem and may actually make it worse.

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Emma Basch
Maternity Matters: The Child Birth Penalty and the Myth of the Family Friendly Office

A few weeks ago, Senator Tammy Duckworth announced that she is pregnant with her second child. When she gives birth later this year she will be the first Senator to ever give birth while in office. Predictably, her announcement has sparked questions about her capacity to serve in office with a new baby, and has generated conversations about the grossly insufficient family leave policies and lack of accommodations for new parents in the United States.

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Emma Basch
Interviewed for World Of Psychology: Are You a Mom Who Holds These Stress-Boosting, Joy-Squashing Beliefs?

Moms hold a variety of beliefs that stress us out and squash our joy. Beliefs about who we should be and how we should feel. Beliefs about how we should work and parent and practice self-care. Beliefs about what we should get done. Beliefs about what we must expect from ourselves.

Many of Emma Basch’s clients feel massive pressure to “lean in” in all areas of their lives. And if they don’t move up at work, be fully involved in their child’s school, manage their household and have an active social life, they feel a profound sense of failure.

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Emma Basch
Maternity Matters: Racial Disparities in Perinatal Mental Health: 5 Concrete Steps Towards Change

In planning my first blog post of 2018, I’ve been thinking a lot about intentions, and specifically about why I started Maternity Matters. My goal in penning this blog was to give voice to the many nuanced aspects of perinatal mental health that are often difficult, painful, or uncomfortable to discuss. To that end, I wanted to start the year in line with that intention by highlighting an issue that should make us all deeply uncomfortable and deserves attention. Specifically, I want to address the enormous racial disparities in perinatal health outcomes, and share some thoughts on how to tackle this problem. 

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Emma Basch
Mindful Return: Enough with Work-Family Balance: It’s Time to Learn to Sway

Ready to give up the ubiquitous – but rather inaccurate – term “work-life balance” this year?  Dr. Emma Basch joins us again on the Mindful Return blog to offer her preferred alternative to the concept: embracing the idea of “swaying.”  Here’s Dr. Basch with 8 concrete suggestions that will help you feel more confident about that working mama juggling act.

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Emma Basch
Maternity Matters: Mom Guilt: It’s Time to Stop Struggling and Start Living

Last week, I spoke about guilt in the context of sibling transitions.  But, of course, guilt is everywhere in the perinatal context, and the notion of “mommy guilt” is pervasive and pernicious.

From pregnancy to parenting, and everywhere in between, our culture is rife with judgmental messages and unrealistic expectations. We are supposed to love being pregnant, have the perfect birth experience, exclusively breastfeed, make our own organic baby food, attend every soccer game, and lean in at work. What a set up for endless guilt!

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Emma Basch
Maternity Matters: Sibling Transitions and Guilt

Guilt is present in so many aspects of expanding a family and is something I speak to clients about with great frequency. However, like most things in the perinatal sphere, guilt is deeply steeped in shame. For that reason, I find that many of my clients have trouble speaking openly about it or joke about it to mask what they are really feeling. In an effort to encourage an open and honest conversation about that guilt, here are four examples of how that guilt arises when expanding your family.

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Emma Basch
Maternity Matters: Turkey with A Side of Grief: Coping with Pregnancy Loss and Infertility During the Holidays

In three days families all around the country will gather together to celebrate Thanksgiving, marking the start of the holiday season. While this can be a joyous time of year for so many, it can be painful one. In my clinical practice, I work with many women who have experienced pregnancy loss or who are coping with infertility. For them, this is often a time of year marked by unacknowledged grief, insensitive comments, and various emotional landmines.

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Emma Basch
Maternity Matters: Sticks and Stones-The Problem with the Language of Birth

Last week, Time magazine’s cover story “The Goddess Myth: How a Vision of Perfect Motherhood Hurts Moms” spoke eloquently about the impact of mom-shaming and how an extreme emphasis on “natural” birthing and motherhood leads to tremendous guilt, shame, and sadness in new moms. This article got me thinking a lot about language, specifically the words we use to talk about birth and parenting

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Emma Basch
Maternity Matters: This is What Choice Really Looks Like

In the last few weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about the language we use to talk about abortion. There is a lot of focus on when an abortion is “acceptable” (life of the mother is threatened, rape, incest), when a fetus may or may not feel pain, and when life begins. This highly polarized language is extremely problematic as it implies that the choice to terminate a pregnancy can be boiled down to an overly simplified belief structure.

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Emma Basch
Maternity Matters: It's Time to Talk about Abortion

Earlier this month Bernie Sanders and 16 other Democrats in the Senate have introduced a “Medicare-for-All” single-payer health care bill that would offer comprehensive reproductive health care and expand access to abortions by eliminating the Hyde Amendment, which restricts federal funding for abortion services.

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Emma Basch
Maternity Matters: 10 TIPS FOR SURVIVING THE NICU

In continued recognition of NICU AWARENESS MONTH, I’m focusing this week on how to take care of your emotional wellbeing during a NICU stay. In addition to drawing from my clinical experience, I am especially grateful to have had some NICU moms weigh in on this piece. Meagan Owensby Garibay is a former NICU nurse and mom of two children who both spent time in the NICU stays. Seema Aghera is a mother of three girls and experienced a NICU stay with her youngest daughter. I am also speaking from my personal experience as a NICU mom. My NICU baby celebrated a birthday this month so it is also in honor of her that I write this.

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Emma Basch
Maternity Matters: Vote No! Ivanka Trump, Postpartum Depression, and The Graham Cassidy Bill

Earlier this week during an interview on the “Dr. Oz” show, Ivanka Trump revealed a personal battle with postpartum depression. She joins a chorus of celebrities speaking out about their experiences and bringing much needed attention to an issue that impacts millions of women and families each year.  While I applaud anyone willing to speak about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, I can’t help but note the absurdity in the timing of her revelation. 

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Emma Basch
Maternity Matters: Neonatal Intensive Care Awareness (NICA) Month

September is Neonatal Intensive Care Awareness (NICA) Month. Every year approximately 10-15% of all babies born in the United States spend some time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit(NICU). Reasons for NICU admissions vary but can include prematurity, birth defects, breathing problems, infections, low blood sugar, and seizures.

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Emma Basch