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I don’t feel connected to my baby. I don’t even like to look at them. Am I a monster?

Excerpt from Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

You’re not a monster. Not even a little bit. You’re one of the many women facing postpartum blues or postpartum depression. According to a study published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, one in nine women experience symptoms of postpartum depression. But some believe the number is actually much higher, as many mothers don’t feel comfortable talking about their depressive symptoms.

While it’s easy to convince yourself that the lack of connection with your baby is a sign you’re lacking some essential “good mother” chip, it probably just means that wonky hormones, plus the ingredients of exhaustion and extreme change, are impacting your ability to bond. However, just because the causes of what you’re experiencing aren’t dark and sinister doesn’t mean you’re not feeling like this is the end of the world. Many of us are given the consistent message — especially during pregnancy — that the bond between a mother and child is unbreakable. That it’s the greatest love story we’ll ever experience. When that’s not our reality, it can feel life shattering.

Something important to remember as you navigate this likely heartbreaking experience is that it’s temporary. While any form of anxiety or depression can easily trick us into thinking we’ll never feel better, that’s rarely the case.

If you’re sad and unable to develop a bond in the two weeks following baby’s birth, you might be facing the common phenomenon of postpartum blues, which is believed to be caused by a combination of your hormone levels plunging and a struggle to adapt to the abrupt changes of motherhood. If the feelings of sadness and disconnection don’t lift after two weeks, you might be experiencing postpartum depression.

It’s also important to realize that you’re not scarring your child, or your future bond with them, by not feeling connected now. The mother-child bond develops over a lifetime, and it will happen for you, even if you first have to navigate medical and emotional support. And it’s wise to seek that support. Sadly, about 60 percent of women with symptoms of depression do not receive a clinical diagnosis, and 50 percent of women with a diagnosis do not receive treatment. As added incentive to seek support, consider this: studies have shown that while postpartum depression can have short-term impacts on infants, there are rarely long-term emotional effects if the mother receives treatment early-on.

What to do

Get help, as you should not have to navigate this pain alone. While I totally get the resistance to being open about your depression (I waited two years before I asked for help!), I can almost guarantee that your care provider won’t judge you. They’ll probably be relieved you were brave enough to speak up. And I want to remind you again that postpartum blues or depression is not a fatal character flaw, it’s a very common by-product of going through the intense physical and mental shifts of pregnancy, childbirth, and early motherhood. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad mother, or that you’ll never bond with your baby. Asking for help is actually one of the best things you can do for your baby.

Here are a few support-steps you’ll likely need to take:

See your primary care provider. The first stop on the path to moving past postpartum blues or depression is your care provider. They can help evaluate what’s going on and refer you to a mental health specialist. They might also prescribe medication, like an antidepressant. For many women, medication is a key player in getting out of the grips of postpartum depression.

Be consistent with counseling. After you find a mental health specialist you resonate with, commit to showing up. When I was depressed, I cancelled on my therapist all the time because I felt too listless to leave the house. Needless to say, I didn’t get much out of the relationship. Years later I faced another bout of depression and forced myself to see my therapist once a week. If I couldn’t get out of bed, I would FaceTime her. I always felt lighter after our sessions and gleaned serious benefits from our time together — and I also needed medication.

As hard as it can be to keep showing up for counseling, it’s one of the most potent ways you can nurture yourself through depression. Even if some days you’re sure you have nothing to say to your therapist, you’ll benefit from simply arriving at the appointment.


Find quality care for baby. As you navigate this challenging time, it will be essential to ask trusted loved ones for help with your baby. Being their sole caregiver while trying to get through depression might feel impossible, which is why calling in reinforcements can ensure that you and baby get the care you deserve.

You might resist this because you don’t want to tell people about your depression. This is normal, but you’ll probably be amazed by how supportive friends and family are when you trust them with your vulnerability. (And you might also be surprised to learn that some of your loved ones have been through the same thing.)


Continue to spend time with baby. While being with your baby might be a painful reminder of how disconnected you feel, it’s important to continue being with them, even if you have to fake affection. Because “faking it ‘til you make it” might just help you develop an authentic bond with baby, and it will definitely support them in feeling bonded to you. If you don’t trust yourself to adequately care for your baby on your own, ask an adult to be with you when you’re spending time together.

Get your copy today.

birth podcast, Childbirth, Pregnancy, pregnancy podcast

What To Do About a Swollen Vulva During Pregnancy

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-riyd9-129503e

Insight into why the vulva might become swollen and discolored during pregnancy, when it’s a sign of a problem, and what to do about it.

To receive more support, get your copy of Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

And… 

Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

Email me at BaileyGaddis@yahoo.com if you have any questions about pregnancy, childbirth or early motherhood that you would like answered on this podcast 🙂

birth podcast, Childbirth, Pregnancy, pregnancy podcast

Why Your Vagina Might Smell Weird During Pregnancy

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-wuehs-127cd7f

Discover why your vagina might smell weird during pregnancy, what to do about the smell, and when it might be a sign of a problem. 

 

To receive more support, get your copy of Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

 

And… 

 

Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

 

Email me at BaileyGaddis@yahoo.com if you have any questions about pregnancy, childbirth or early motherhood that you would like answered on this podcast 🙂

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I find it really boring to take care of a baby all day. Does that make me a bad mom? Is there a way to make it more entertaining?

Excerpt from Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

Girl, I feel you. When Hudson was a baby I felt like I was on a hamster wheel of feeding, butt cleaning, spit-up dodging, cooking, not showering, and walking around in circles saying, “Shh.” I felt like my life had been drained of creative, thought-provoking stimulation. I was mega-bored hanging with a person who didn’t talk and cared only about my boobs. And I was pretty sure I was missing crucial mothering pieces.

It’s no wonder we feel like there’s something wrong with our boredom when we’re constantly told how magical it should be to interact, bond, and help baby learn about the world. These are all essential tasks that plant seeds for the emergence of independent, vibrant humans. So shouldn’t we feel inspired and excited by them? I suppose some women are, but I wasn’t.

If you relate, let me start by saying how super-duper normal you are for feeling this way. You’re not an evil Grinch incapable of connecting with your child. You’re an adult who craves activities that challenge your mind and awaken your creativity. At first glance, caring for a baby does none of these things, and often it just makes us feel incompetent and frustrated. But when we dive deeper into the nuances of baby care, there is something to be done about baby-care boredom.

What to do

Toy around with these ideas:

Incorporate your interests into baby care. For example, it’s important to talk to baby so they’re exposed to language, but who said you have to talk to them about mundane topics or read to them from cardboard books? Give your babe language exposure by reading aloud from a magazine or that book you’ve wanted to read. And music — scrap the Mozart (unless that’s your jam!), strap baby to your chest, and get a workout by shaking your butt to nineties hip-hop while making funny faces at baby.

Think of innovative ways to make baby tasks more interesting. Do this by listing your daily baby-care activities on one side of a sheet of paper and writing your interests and talents on the other half. Then, start brainstorming how you can fuse the lists, mixing and matching your interests and talents with baby-care obligations.

For me, diaper changes became more compelling when I used the time to challenge my writer’s brain to come up with new lyrics to favorite songs. Breastfeeding was made way less boring by putting a TV tray and my laptop by my nursing chair and writing weird poetry while Hudson ate. And I made sure I still interacted with him by asking questions about how I should get around tricky prose.

Remember that you don’t have to parent the way others do. Bringing your unique self into motherhood is one of the best ways you can quell boredom and foster an authentic bond with your baby — it will help them get to know the real you. And if your way doesn’t look anything like the way of your sister or the ladies in your mom group, that’s okay. We all get to forge our own path.

While life with baby will eventually become less boring, regardless of what you do, liven up your mama-baby relationship now by injecting motherhood with the stuff that makes your mind do a happy dance.

Get your copy today.

birth podcast, Childbirth, Pregnancy, pregnancy podcast

Essential Prenatal Sex Tips

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-7anwq-127cd7a

Learn how to feel more comfortable when having sex during pregnancy, and how to make it more pleasurable. 

 

To receive more support, get your copy of Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

 

And… 

 

Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

 

Email me at BaileyGaddis@yahoo.com if you have any questions about pregnancy, childbirth or early motherhood that you would like answered on this podcast 🙂

birth podcast, Childbirth, Pregnancy, pregnancy podcast

What To Do About a Swollen Vulva During Pregnancy

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-mcjpy-127cd70

How to deal with swelling, varicose veins, and discoloration in the vulva during pregnancy. 

 

To receive more support, get your copy of Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

 

And… 

 

Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

 

Email me at BaileyGaddis@yahoo.com if you have any questions about pregnancy, childbirth or early motherhood that you would like answered on this podcast 🙂

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I resent my baby for getting all the attention, and I feel invisible. How can I start feeling like I matter?

Excerpt from Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

Isn’t it a wild emotional shift to go from getting ample help and compliments when the baby is inside you, to suddenly being seen as their leaky accessory after going through all the work of getting them out? And sure, there are folks who ask about the birth and tell you how great you look (bless them), but really, most people are all about the baby. This can be nice at times, as you may score much-needed down time while others coo and ooh over the baby, but then there are the times when you crave to be seen as more than a mother — as more than the lady carrying around that adorable creation everyone wants to hold. You crave conversation about that book you’re writing, or that cat-grooming workshop you went to… or whatever your thing is. You want to be honored for being the power-house who grew and birthed a baby while also having all of these other amazing qualities. You’re not selfish for feeling this way.

For the first six months of Hudson’s life I felt completely invisible. When people came up to us, their eyes would immediately lock onto him. If they engaged me in conversation, their eyes would stay on him, and the topic would almost always be his eating, pooping, or weight-gaining habits. I felt like I was his personal assistant. Or PR rep.

A big part of my frustration was that these interactions were a physical manifestation of what was going on in my own head. Almost every thought I had, every action I took, involved Hudson. I could barely remember what made me an individual. While I loved him deeply, I also felt twinges of resentment that he had robbed me of my individuality. Luckily, these feelings began to fade as he grew and became less dependent on me. And of course, because motherhood is crazy like this, him needing me less made me have moments where I missed him needing me all the time. Geesh.

What to do

Remember that in the early days of motherhood it’s so normal for your life and identity to feel fully wrapped up in baby. However, you can create a lifeline to your unique self by making a list:

1. Create a list of all the things that make you feel like you. This list can contain anything, from something as simple as taking a shower or organizing the closet to tasks as complex as creating a graphic novel or starting that business you’ve been dreaming of.

2. Put the items on the list into three categories. The first category will contain the actions that are absolute essentials and should be prioritized immediately (for example, taking a shower every day, and going on a walk three times a week). These are the things you’ll bring to your support system and say, “Let’s figure out who can watch baby during these times so I can do these things.”

The second category will consist of actions that are incredibly important to you but can be put on hold for six months, as month six is often when baby is a tad less dependent and able to be with others for longer periods. My top two items in this category were meditating for fifteen minutes and writing for one hour, every day.

Finally, move the remaining actions on your list into category three, which consists of the things that will come back into your life after baby’s first birthday. By this time, you’ll likely be in your groove with motherhood, sleeping fairly regularly, and feeling comfortable setting up consistent childcare. This is around the time I started teaching HypnoBirthing classes and amped up my writing career.


3. Use the list. Pull out your categorized list whenever you’re forgetting who you are or wondering if you’ll ever get back to that person. After a day of feeling invisible, this list helps you breathe and remember that there will come a time when life settles back into a more balanced rhythm. And no, life will never go back to feeling exactly like it did before baby was born, but it will start being more layered and consisting of people seeing you as a unique woman, not just the person that baby is clinging to. Things will get better.

Get your copy today.

birth podcast, Childbirth, Pregnancy, pregnancy podcast

Will You Be a Bad Mom If You Think Kids Are Irritating?

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-uf577-1267e5a

Learn more about what it means if you don’t really like kids but you’re pregnant or interested in getting pregnant.

 

To receive more support, get your copy of Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

 

And… 

 

Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

 

Email me at BaileyGaddis@yahoo.com if you have any questions about pregnancy, childbirth or early motherhood that you would like answered on this podcast 🙂

birth podcast, Childbirth, Pregnancy, pregnancy podcast

What To Do If You Feel Guilty That You Considered Abortion

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-2avr5-1267e57

Support for releasing guilt over initially considering terminating the pregnancy you now feel is right for your life.

 

To receive more support, get your copy of Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

 

And… 

 

Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

 

Email me at BaileyGaddis@yahoo.com if you have any questions about pregnancy, childbirth or early motherhood that you would like answered on this podcast 🙂

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My partner is showing signs they’re going to leave. Should I address these concerns, or try to ignore it? Can I do this alone if they do leave?

Excerpt from Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

I first want to acknowledge that regardless of whether or not your partner actually leaves, the fact that you’re feeling this way must be so hard. Parenting a newborn is stressful enough when all is well between the parents, but when you’re worried about your baby-raising partner skipping town, you’re forced to grapple with a mess of emotions no new mother should have to deal with. For example, you might feel scared, angry, sad, and a range of other emotions that could come with the major uncertainty you’re facing. Some might tell you to “just try to be strong, push the concerns aside, and power forward,” but I think bottling these emotions and ignoring your concerns just delays resolution. One of the strongest things you can do is feel the emotions and express those concerns. And don’t worry about trying to be strong, because you already are — your strength is a bright light at your core that can never be extinguished, no matter who enters or exits your life.

Regarding the path of parenting alone, you can absolutely walk it if you must. While it might feel like your world would end if your partner left, it wouldn’t break you. You are just as capable as the millions of single mothers out there, and you would find your footing even if it feels like the hardest thing you could ever do. I’m hands-down more impressed with the single mothers of the world than the Olympians, Academy Award winners, and Nobel Laureates, because these women are constantly summoning their courage, resilience, and dedication. They don’t get to clock out or take a sabbatical. They’re all-in, all the time. That might sound overwhelming, but you can do it if that’s how life unfolds.

What to do

Take small steps to figure out what’s going on, and build up your confidence and autonomy, which will be valuable even if your partner stays. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Address your fear. Instead of stewing in fear over whether your partner is planning to leave, tell them what you’re thinking. You’ll likely be met with one of two reactions. One: they’re shocked you’ve been thinking that and make moves to help you feel better. Two: they squirm because you’ve hit on something they’ve been considering. Either way, you’ve stepped out of the unknown and got the conversation started.

If they’re not planning on leaving but something about them is still making you uneasy, you can begin addressing their behavior and what you’d like them to change. If they are thinking of leaving, you can dive into why they’re feeling that way, if it’s something that can be resolved, and if you even want to resolve it.

As tempting as it can be to live in limbo, asking the question that’s probably been driving you crazy can untangle those knots in your stomach and give you something real to work with.

Consider whether you want them to stay. It might seem unfathomable that life could be better without your partner, but it’s worth considering. Once you move aside from the very natural fear of being alone, how do you feel about your relationship? Does your partner nurture your emotional, mental, and physical well-being? Or do they threaten or ignore it? Do you feel safe and cared-for when they’re with you? Or tense? Are you relieved when they’re out of the house for a few hours? Continue exploring your interpretations of the relation- ship until you get a hold on how you really feel about it. This deeper understanding can guide your feelings and actions moving forward.

Seek counseling. If you determine that you’re dedicated to keeping your partner in your life, and they’re willing to put in the work to mend the relationship, discuss the possibility of seeing a couple’s counselor. This objective support can give both of you an outlet for your emotions and healing strategies tailored to your unique situation. While some associate counseling with high costs, many mental health specialists accept insurance or provide pro bono services through family support centers.

Make a loose plan for what you’ll do if they leave. Many major changes seem insurmountable until we break them down into smaller steps. So to help yourself realize that you will make it through if your partner leaves, make a list of all the challenges that will erupt after they leave. For example, “Less income to pay rent. No one but me to watch the baby. A fear of being the only adult in the house at night. A loss of companionship.” Then start listing potential solutions to the changes. For example, “Find a new living situation. Ask friends and family members for help with childcare. Install a security system to enhance my sense of safety, or ask a family member to move in. Re- connect with my friends.” While this list won’t magically dissolve your challenges, it will at least show you that there’s a way forward.

Shift your focus to yourself. When we believe that much of our safety and happiness is based on our romantic partner, it’s easy to be terrified of the idea of them leaving. It can be crazy making to put so much stock in the actions of a person you can’t control.

Take back your sense of power and calm by shifting your focus from making sure your partner will stay to nurturing yourself — committing to actions that make you feel more whole and capable of caring for yourself and baby. Understandably, this is much easier when not navigating the fatigue, hormonal upheaval, and uncertainty of life with a newborn. But taking small actions like going on a morning walk with baby, drinking more water, making a list of career goals you’d like to pursue when you’ve gotten through the haze of early motherhood, calling a friend or family member who lifts you up, and doing anything else that makes you feel good, and isn’t based on your partner’s actions, can make a powerful difference.

The key to getting these small actions to actually help is that you’re doing them to support yourself, not to change into a person you think your partner will be more likely to stay with. Do it for you, the person you’ll always be in a relationship with.

Get your copy today.

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My partner and I fight all the time about how to care for our baby. It’s exhausting. What should we do?

Excerpt from Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

How to care for tiny, defenseless offspring can stir up major beef between parents — even parents who didn’t think they even had strong opinions about how to care for a baby. What some of us don’t realize is that we’re carrying all sorts of baggage into parenthood. Either we consciously or subconsciously believe that the way our parents parented is the way to go, or we want to do things the exact opposite of the way our parents did it, or we are somewhere in between. And of course, life experience sprinkles more baggage into the mix. If the baggage your partner brings to parenting conflicts with your own, major disagreements can arise. And these disagreements can get really heated, as you’re both fighting for what you think is best for your baby — a precious person you’ve likely fallen head over heels for. The stakes can feel unreasonably high. Ceding to the will of your partner might seem like an unimaginable scenario, much more so than when you’re arguing about less-precious topics.

Here’s an example: From day one, my mother-in-law has stood firm in the belief that babies should sleep in a crib, ideally in their own room. She is the leader of team “Let Them Cry It Out.” Because my husband treasures his parents, who have raised six kids, he believes they know what’s best in most realms of parenting. I also treasure my parents, who are not cry-it-out advocates and slept with my brother and I when we were infants, putting us either in their bed or in a crib in their room.

None of this initially seemed to be a problem. For the first few weeks of our son’s life, my husband didn’t argue when I decided to bed-share. Things were going great. Our son happily fed and snoozed by my side, we were all getting adequate sleep, and we were adhering to all the safety guidelines for bed-sharing. But then Eric’s mom started peppering us with questions about where the baby was sleeping. And next came the assertions that if he didn’t get used to sleeping on his own, he would be in our bed until college. The result: my previously “let the baby sleep wherever you want him to sleep” husband was suddenly pushing me to change the sleep plan.

I immediately bristled. Not only was this arrangement the only one that allowed Hudson and I to sleep more than three hours a night and facilitated ample night-time feedings, but also it felt intuitively right to me. The thought of being pushed to not have my baby beside me at night triggered all my Mama Bear instincts. Intense arguing ensued. We would go at it. And honestly, we never really reached a resolution. It was a parenting stalemate. I just kept doing what felt right, and he stopped challenging me as much. This particular argument would flair up every now and again, but other baby care issues eventually took its place.

I’ve retrospectively discovered the suggestions in the “What to do” section, and I hope to use them with our second baby. For now, I hope I can help you do better than I did.

You see, you and your partner aren’t arguing because your relationship is broken, or because one of you is a bad parent. You’re arguing because you both feel like it’s your duty to protect the well-being of your offspring and you might believe your partner has a seriously misguided parenting point of view. Without intentional strategies and a mega-dose of active listening and understanding, it might be tricky to pull out of the cycle of baby-care arguments. So putting in the work to implement these positive changes is worth it, because ultimately, finding peace with your significant other and figuring out ways to parent as a team will likely benefit your baby more than any decision in all the topics you’re fighting about.

What to do

Just yell, “Mama knows best!” when your partner questions your parenting….Sigh. If only it were that easy. Because it’s not, try these strategies instead:

Get other people out of the mix. Regardless of how wise your parents, in-laws, siblings, friends, or whoever are about parenting, they shouldn’t get a say in how you care for your baby. I would get furious when I felt like my husband was parroting parenting views I knew he’d gotten from his mom. And I’m sure he felt the same. We both wanted to communicate with our partner, not with a proxy for our mothers-in-law. You can kick those people out of your conversations by mutually agreeing to ask your parents (or whoever is in your ear) to stop providing parenting opinions unless you ask for them. Let them know you respect their point of view but need to go at it without their input.

Get the right person in the mix. While I just told you to get other people out of your baby care decisions, the one exception could be a pediatrician you both resonate with. This neutral party can ideally provide information that guides your parenting decisions and resolves discord. But the key here is that your partner goes with you to these appointments, as they’ll likely be more open to the guidance if it’s received firsthand. This will also give them the chance to ask illuminating questions.

Determine the root of your parenting opinions. It can be wild to discover what our true beliefs are after unraveling ourselves from the parenting influences of our past. To start that unraveling, ask yourself the following questions about any belief you and your partner are in conflict about:

  • Is this a parenting method I came to believe in because it’s what my parents, siblings, or other loved ones did and insist on as the way to go?
  • Did I do extensive research that led me to believe this was the right choice for my family?
  • Does this instinctually feel right? Or does it feel wrong, but
    the idea of finding a new way feels scary and unknown?

Keep digging into the layers of the belief until you discover where it came from. From there, you can determine if this is a belief that truly feels like the best choice for your family, or begin building a new belief based on fresh experiences and research.

Write each other letters. As you probably know, it can be really hard to get your point across, or absorb your partner’s point of view, when you’re in a heated argument. You can bypass that distracting, unwanted heat by both composing letters about how you’re feeling, explaining your beliefs about the baby-care situation in question.

This letter allows you to really explore where you’re coming from and communicate in a way that’s fueled by a desire to help your partner understand you, rather than to make them agree that you’re right and they’re wrong. In turn, reading your partner’s letter can open your mind and heart to where they’re coming from, and help you move forward with the decision-making process with enhanced understanding for the “other side.”

Agree to not discuss the letters until you’ve both had time to process them and can talk without strong emotions distracting from the main objective: finding a solution that’s best for your baby.

Try out your partner’s baby-care wishes on a trial basis. If the baby-care strategy your partner is suggesting is not something you believe would be damaging to your child, you could agree to try it their way for a few days. For example, if they’re all for cloth diapers and you’re a disposable devotee, you might agree to give cloth diapers a go for a week. At the end of that trial you might still loathe cloth diapers, but your partner will at least feel like you heard them and gave their preference a whirl. And maybe some of these trials could transform a few of your parenting views. At the very least they’ll bring more harmony and respect into your relationship.

Create a safe word. Help prevent your arguments from getting into damaging territory by creating a safe word or phrase. This is a word or phrase that can be used when one of you realizes the conversation has taken a turn for the worse and is no longer productive.

Because Eric and I usually argue in the evening, our phrase is, “We need to go to bed” — and not in a sexy way. This phrase helps us realize fatigue and short fuses are making us mean and irrational. It doesn’t always stop the argument, but it at least makes us check ourselves.

Research together. When you can’t find common ground on a certain baby-care issue, research solutions together. Skim the same parenting books, peruse articles and studies about the baby-care topic, speak with your pediatrician, or engage in any other activity that allows you to absorb the same information. This joint research gets you on the same page (or at least in the same chapter), so you can find a solution without too much arguing.

Write down your joint parenting philosophy. Once you’ve worked through most of your disputes about baby care, work together to create a shared parenting philosophy. As you create it, consider questions like these:

  • What type of parents do we want to be?
  • What values are important to us?
  • How do we want to nurture our baby?
  • What type of emotional climate do we want to create in our family?
  • How do we want to handle disputes and discipline when our baby is older?
  • What do we hope to get out of parenting?
  • In what ways do we hope parenting helps us change and grow?
  • What aspects of our childhoods do we want to infuse in to our child’s life?
  • What aspects of our childhoods do we want to leave behind?

Keep riffing, exploring, and taking notes until you’ve created a document that can inform your parenting decisions moving forward. And of course, this document can be adapted as your family evolves.

Get your copy today.

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My partner seems resentful of my relationship with our baby. I don’t want my romantic relationship to suffer, but I also think my partner should understand how important it is for me to bond with our baby. What should I do?

Excerpt from Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

“I laughed at him when he told me he was jealous of my connection with the baby,” Madison said. “I seriously thought he was joking. I had blood leaking out of the pad attached to my disposable underwear, our baby was latched on to one nipple, and milk was leaking out the other. When I realized he wasn’t joking, I yelled at him. I was so mad. Then he started crying, and I walked away.” Madison, a past doula client, called me the day after this went down with her husband. Insulted by how he was feeling, she got a little pissed when I suggested we try to see things from his side. I don’t blame her; I would’ve also been miffed if someone tried to make me see my husband’s point of view if he even insinuated that anything was hard for him when our son was a newborn. However, staying in the space of anger and defensiveness only blocks us from strengthening our relationship with the person who’s supposed to be our biggest supporter in early parenthood.

This is such a tricky situation because many of the emotions being triggered in you and your partner are likely coming from subconscious programming. For example, your partner’s inbuilt fears of abandonment or inadequacy could be sparked when you begin to devote time to baby that used to be reserved for them. And then there’s your emotions: if the primal instinct to care for your infant feels threatened, you could easily lose empathy for your partner’s emotions.

In addition to those subconscious responses, the resentment your partner feels about your relationship with baby could stem from circumstances that developed during pregnancy. For example, your partner probably wasn’t able to experience the same level of connection you might have fostered with the baby when pregnant — and that might have been hard on them. And now you’re nine months ahead of them when it comes to bonding with the baby. In addition, if you decide to breastfeed, there’s another significant bonding activity your partner can’t participate in. It’s understandable that they might feel left out. But of course, you’ve done nothing wrong by growing your child and choosing to breastfeed. Like I said, it’s tricky.

Both of you might find it near impossible to fully understand where the other is coming from, as each person’s point of view will feel so completely “right” to them. But strangely, that’s a great place to start — realizing you’re both just doing and expressing what feels true for you. Neither of you intends to hurt the other (I assume). From the base of that understanding you can start to build resolution.

What to do

Work through the following strategies while constantly reminding yourself that this isn’t a “win or lose” situation. There’s not one party that gets to be the righteous victor. The only “winning” comes when you both develop some empathy about what the other is feeling, and you start working together instead of apart.

Talk it out. Create the ideal environment for a productive conversation by setting a communication ground rule: you each get the opportunity to share without interruption. As hard as it is, don’t let yourself get bogged down in rebuttals and thoughts about that thing you feel like you really, really have to say right this second. Because then you don’t hear anything your partner says, because you’re just trying to remember that thing you wanted to say. Let that inclination go in favor of truly hearing what your partner is trying to express. If something really needs to be said, you’ll remember it when your turn comes.

Then, when your partner lets you know they’re done sharing, resist the urge to immediately jump into what you disagree with. Instead, first repeat the key messages you feel they’re trying to express. They can then let you know if you interpreted it correctly, or if there’s something important you misperceived. This will help them feel heard and give you an opportunity to objectively review what they shared. Then, take a beat before getting into how you feel, as the pause can help you get into a thoughtful space, instead of a defensive one.

This process might feel super frustrating at first, and it can be really hard to stick with, but by doing your best to follow it you’ll set yourself up for a productive conversation that doesn’t spiral into hurt feelings and a fractured relationship.

Create more opportunities for your partner to bond with baby. A great way to help your partner release jealously over your relationship with baby is to help them foster their own relationship with baby. Once they get to see what all the fuss is about, they’ll be less inclined to judge you for wanting to spend all your time with that adorable little nugget. You can support this bonding by giving them alone time with baby. This is important because when you’re near, baby will likely only have eyes for you. They can start with small activities like short walks, bottle feedings, and diaper changes. It’s simple stuff that can make a big difference.

Accept your partner’s help, even if they don’t do things your way. I’ve talked to numerous partners (my husband included) who felt like they were more of a nuisance than a help after their baby was born. I get this. Us mamas usually develop routines and preferred methods for caring for our babies pretty early on. When our partner tries to take on some of those responsibilities but doesn’t do it in the way we’ve labeled as “best,” it can be easy to feel like it’s more efficient for us to just take care of all the baby business. But as hard as it is to cede control over a task you’re probably the master of, giving your partner more responsibility when it comes to baby will help them feel like a part of the team, instead of an outsider peering in.

Remember that your partner is also going through big emotional and physical shifts. While you definitely win the award for navigating the biggest changes, your partner is also working through sleep deprivation, an identity upheaval, and a slew of other shakeups that are likely enhancing their feelings of confusion over where they stand, and their need to talk to you about it. Under “normal” circumstances they might have more perspective about what’s going on and might even be able to move past it without discussion — but in the raw state they’re in, the shift in your relationship could feel like the end of the world. I say all of this to give you a frame of reference for where your partner is coming from. Remember that neither of you is doing anything wrong; you are both doing the best you can to navigate your brave new world.

Notice if you start pulling away from your baby. If your partner’s jealousy is severe enough that it’s impacting your bond with baby, consider seeking professional support to work out the most effective and safest way to move forward. While it’s normal for your partner to feel resistance to the changes in your relationship, you shouldn’t be made to feel like you have to choose between them or your baby.

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My friends are a huge part of my life, but none of them have kids. I’m starting to feel really isolated. What should I do?

Excerpt from Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

Let me paint you a picture. Lady gets pregnant with Baby. Lady’s friends are super excited for her and want to support her. They throw a baby shower. They do most of the same things they’ve always done, only Lady’s wine is replaced by mocktails. Everyone is confident their friendship will seamlessly flow into Lady’s life with Baby, but no one talks about what that will look like. And then Lady has Baby. The friends show up to ooh and aah, then everyone leaves. Friends want to invite Lady to this and that, but they don’t want to pressure her or make her feel bummed she’s missing out, so the invites dry up. Friends want to call, but they don’t want to bother Lady. “Maybe she’s trying to nurse? Or sleep? I should probably just let her call me when she’s ready.” Lady is elbow-deep in diapers and exhaustion and at first doesn’t notice the radio silence. But then the fog of the fourth trimester begins to fade, and she notices. She notices that she feels isolated. She wants to call Friends, but doesn’t. She thinks she’ll just bore them with mom-talk.

This is a classic case of Postpartum Friendship Dissolution. As you probably noticed, much of it is birthed from lack of communication.

While your relationships with your buddies will definitely change, they don’t have to end. Your life circumstances have been shaken up and turned upside down, but you’re still you — the you that loves your friends, and vice versa. There has to be a way to save those friendships. But how? How do you side-step Postpartum Friendship Dissolution and walk the path of Postpartum Friendship Evolution?

What to do

Talk to your friends, one at a time, about how you’re feeling. (If you’re reading this while pregnant, talk to them before you have the baby, so you can all prepare for the changes.) These conversations aren’t meant to cause guilt for either party — they’re opportunities for you to be vulnerable and to co-create a plan for how the relationship will look moving forward. After you let them know you value their friendship and need more of them in your life, the two of you can brainstorm ways you can connect. For example . . .

  • Maybe your friend loves talking on the phone, and you can schedule calls for times you’ll be on a walk with baby.
  • Or maybe this friend lives nearby and is often free to join you for those walks.
  • Maybe this is the friend you used to see live music with or take dance classes with. While it will likely be hard to meet up for your activity of choice as often as you used to, you could commit to doing it once a month — or whatever works best for your schedules.

After you’ve created the plan, forewarn your friend that you won’t be as reliable as you were before baby. Motherhood is predictably unpredictable, potentially causing you to cancel plans at the last minute because of a sick child, or an AWOL babysitter. Being forthright with this information will hopefully prevent your friend from being annoyed that you’re not able to show up for the friendship in the same way you used to.

In addition, ask them to reach out if they haven’t heard from you in awhile. As a foggy-brained new parent, it can feel near impossible to remember how many days you’ve been wearing those pajama bottoms, much less when you last contacted your friends. Remind them that radio silence doesn’t mean you don’t care, it just means you’re overwhelmed.

Here are some additional considerations when navigating friendships as a new mom:

Be thoughtful of conversation topics. While your non-mom friends probably won’t mind hearing a bit about motherhood, they won’t be able to relate to it and will likely tire of the topic if it’s not kept to a minimum. Ensure your time with friends is filled with connection by asking each one about their life, and bringing up topics you used to love gabbing about. If you’re worried you’re incapable of thinking of anything but mom-topics, keep a running list of conversation starters you think would be interesting to your friend. For example, if the two of you love celebrity gossip, write down juicy tidbits you can bring up. If you’re politics fanatics, list hot topics you want to get their opinion on. You won’t always have to put this much effort into talking points, but while you’re trying to find your footing on the balance beam of parenthood and friendship, this forethought will pay off.

Note: If your friend is not child-free by choice, it might be best to steer clear of all talk of baby, unless they ask. Hearing about you living the life they desperately want could be devastating, and it could drive a wedge in the friendship. For more on this, see question 7.

Know that you might need to let go of some friends. Not all friendships will stand the test of motherhood. While it might be painful to let those friends drift away, you can honor them by sitting with the idea that they were meant to be in your life for a certain period of time, and now it’s time to part. This parting will likely be made easier by the fact that your time is now seriously limited, and you have to be selective about who you spend time with.

After I had Hudson, only three of my prebaby friends were still standing. These were the friends who weren’t offended if I forgot to call or text back, or didn’t reach out for months at a time. These were the friends who would try to make a meetup happen if I randomly had a free hour and reached out to them last minute. These were the friends who would come to Hudson’s birthday parties, even when they were the only ones without kids. They understood the constraints of my new circumstances and didn’t fault me for them. They were free of drama (at least the not-fun kind) and always there when I needed them.

Find new friends. One of the most natural parts of parenthood is making new friends. The playgroups, time at the park or library, and other baby-centered gatherings all create organic opportunities for fostering fresh friendships. And many of these connections will feel refreshing as you can gab about the trials and triumphs of parenthood without feeling self-conscious.

While these new relationships will likely be easier to maintain and should absolutely be nurtured and enjoyed, you should still use the suggestions above to hold on to at least a few of your pre-parenthood friends. Those are the folks you probably feel most comfortable being your unfiltered self around, which is a dynamic that can feel like gold as you navigate the unsure footing of early motherhood.

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What if part of my placenta doesn’t come out of my uterus? What will my care provider do?

Excerpt from Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

If part of your placenta doesn’t vacate your uterus within around thirty minutes after baby is born (something called a retained placenta), it will be evicted. As a full or partial retained placenta could cause hemorrhage (excessive bleeding) or infection, your care provider will utilize various methods until the entire organ has been birthed or removed. But you don’t have to be too worried about this, as it’s pretty rare. According to an article in the International Journal of Women’s Health, a retained placenta occurs in only 1 to 3 percent of deliveries.

There are three types of retained placenta:

1. Placenta adherens occurs when contractions are too weak to push the placenta out and it remains loosely attached to the uterus. This is the most common type of retained placenta.

2. Trapped placenta is when the cervix begins to close before the placenta has been expelled.

3. Placenta accreta occurs when the placenta attaches to the muscular walls of the uterus, instead of the lining of the walls. This is sometimes diagnosed before birth and usually results in the care provider recommending a C-section.

You care provider will check your placenta after its birth to confirm that it’s fully intact. If they suspect part of it is missing, they may perform an ultrasound to confirm. From there, they’ll take steps to remove the remaining pieces. However, it’s possible for a care provider to miss that a portion of the placenta is still in the uterus. In that situation, you might experience a fever, excessive bleeding, constant pain, or stinky discharge.

How does my care provider get it out? One of the first things they’ll likely do is administer medication that encourages the uterus to continue contracting. (This is often done preemptively.) Breastfeeding can also trigger contractions. You might also be told to urinate, as a full bladder can impede the placenta’s expulsion. If these methods don’t work, they may have to move on to manual removal, or surgery. In the case of manual removal, the care provider administers anesthesia and/or analgesia, reaches their hand into your uterus, and “sweeps.” Essentially, they feel around and remove lingering placenta. This doesn’t feel great — but it usually works. Surgeries to remove the placenta include dilatation and curettage (aka D&C), hysteroscopy, and laparoscopy. A hysterectomy is needed in rare cases. Antibiotics are given after the treatment to reduce risk of infection.

What to do

While there’s not much you can do to avoid the rare occurrence of a retained placenta, there are a few ways to be proactive:

Avoid prolonged use of Pitocin. According to the article in International Journal of Women’s Health, prolonged use of Pitocin could increase the risk of a retained placenta. So use Pitocin only if it’s absolutely necessary — not just because a care provider thinks it would be cool to speed things up.

Pay attention to your postpartum symptoms. If your care provider believes the full placenta was birthed but you experience fever, excessive bleeding, constant pain, or stinky discharge, or you just feel that something is off, let your care provider know so they can confirm you don’t have pieces of retained placenta.


Know how to stay calm if you experience a retained placenta. Stick a few of these retained-placenta-relaxation tools in your back pocket for the unlikelihood of this happening to you:

  1. If you’re told you have a retained placenta, immediately start taking deep breaths, helping to prevent panic from taking over.
  2. Have someone on hand to hold the baby, as pain medication may need to be administered. However, continue focusing solely on your baby until a recommendation is made and you make a decision. This can help your mind from spiraling into a place of fear.
  3. Keep reminding yourself that you’re being taken care of by trained professionals. While it’s not fun to have a retained placenta, they’ll take care of you, and you’ll be fine.
  4. If a manual removal or surgery is needed, close your eyes and envision your body filled with and surrounded by a warm, golden light that’s keeping you calm and safe.

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