An intriguing perspective on the permanent physical and emotional changes a woman experiences after giving birth.
There are countless books on the physical and emotional fluctuations women experience as they go through pregnancy, but far fewer delve into how those same transformations affect a woman long after the birth of her child. Millwood (Psychology/Saint Michael’s Coll.), a clinical psychologist who focuses on marital therapy and intimate relationships, expertly combines research and her personal story into a book that she wished she could have read during her struggles as a new mother. The author discusses how postpartum depression can affect a woman years after giving birth, how the stress caused by lack of sleep is prevalent yet not often discussed, and how the body keeps the memories of trauma embedded in its cells, which can resurface unexpectedly and at odd moments. Throughout, Millwood shares her own journey as a mother, from the elation of being pregnant to the reality that sometimes things got boring while nursing or running after her toddler, with no adult interaction for hours at a time. She explores the shame and guilt women feel for not being as happy as they anticipated with their new child, often exacerbated by the loss of personal freedom and spontaneity. Millwood also relates how having a child can affect women’s marriages and/or long-term relationships. Women are often upset at the apparent lack of sacrifices made by their significant others when comparing their before-child life to their post-child life—not to mention the burden placed on mothers to know everything about caring for a child, with the spouse in the role of helper instead of equal partner in all duties and responsibilities. Mothers who are struggling to accept their new role have a definite advocate in Millwood.
Informative, entertaining, and enlightening research and personal reflections on the multifaceted ways children change a person forever.