This fall my spirited daughter will head off to kindergarten. With the birthday cut-offs as they are in our area, she will be one of the youngest in her grade entering school at 4 years old. But this essay isn’t about that. Nor is it about whether or not to redshirt your kids. There are plenty of message boards and impassioned blog posts that do just that.Read More
Is summer travel with your kids stressing you out? There is no shortage of blog posts with great ideas to make traveling with your kids smoother. But have you ever thought about the impact of your own thinking on your travel stress?Read More
There is something uniquely beneficial about connecting with others who are simultaneously experiencing the role and identity shift that comes with parenting. Additionally, other moms can offer instrumental support, validation, gentle guidance, and connection in ways that are unique to these relationships. Whatever the reason, finding your tribe of other moms is crucial. So how do you make “mom friends” in a transitional city like Washington, D.C? Below are my 5 Tips.Read More
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.Read More
Every May, I find myself talking a lot about Mother’s Day in my therapy practice. For some Mother’s Day is a much-anticipated day of celebration and some well-deserved R&R, but for many, it’s an emotionally loaded day.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
Last week’s episode of the CW’s Jane the Virgin featured a subplot that addressed postnatal depression in men. In brief, after choosing to stay home with his newborn daughter, Rogelio (Jane’s father) claims to have developed male postpartum depression (paternal postnatal depression or PPND).Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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!Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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 parentingRead More
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.Read More
ABC’s “Black-ish” is no stranger to tackling tough topics in ways that manage to be creative and impactful, while somehow remaining funny and tremendously accessible. The most recent episode featured a powerful story line centered around Rainbow “Bow” Johnson’s struggles with postpartum depression (PPD) after giving birth to her son Devante.Read More