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I feel certain my partner is going to stray while I’m pregnant. They’ve never shown warning signs, but I’m still terrified it will happen. Should I talk to them about it? Should I just ignore the fear?

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

There’s bad news and good news. The bad news is that 10 percent of males cheat when their partner is pregnant, according to the book What’s Your Pregnant Man Thinking? by psychologist Robert Rodriguez. Many other studies have mirrored these findings. While there’s not much research on infidelity in same-sex female relationships during pregnancy, studies done on general infidelity have found little difference between same-sex female and heterosexual couples.

So what’s the deal with prenatal cheating? Some suspect two primary factors at play in this unfortunate statistic. First, some women have a big drop in their libido during pregnancy, or are so physically ill that the only thing they want to slip under the sheets for is sleep. It’s also believed that this cheating might stem from the partner’s unmet emotional desires, as many women are navigating so many changes during pregnancy they don’t have room for their partner’s emotional needs. Of course, neither is an excuse for cheating. But these factors do provide a good jumping-off point for the conversation we’ll get to in the “What to do” section.

The good news is, you’re not a statistic! You and your partner are individuals who make autonomous decisions. It’s not a foregone conclusion that infidelity will play a part in your pregnancy. Your partner might even be one of the folks who’s incredibly turned on by your pregnant body and can’t get enough of you. Or because of a drop in testosterone (something that commonly happens to males during their partner’s pregnancy), they might have a diminished sex drive. Remember that your relationship is unique, and that there’s so much you can do to bypass infidelity.

What to do

Talk to your partner ASAP. In many situations, so much grief can be avoided if partners summon the courage to be candid with one another. Here’s how to navigate the conversation:

Kick off the conversation. When you’re in a good headspace — for example, after you’re well rested, well fed, and not distracted by to- dos — ask your partner for a sit-down. Preface the convo with a re- minder that you’re not accusing them of cheating. You can even blame me: “This book I’m reading was talking about infidelity rates during pregnancy, and I just thought a chat would calm my fears.”

Then, you can share some of the catalysts for cheating I listed: lack of sex or need for emotional nurturing. Ask your partner straight-up how they feel about those aspects of your relationship. If they try to shrug it off, remind them that opening up is one of the best ways they can help you have a more relaxed pregnancy.


Navigate challenges. As you get deeper into the conversation, some challenges might come up. For example, your partner might say they feel like you’re not attracted to them. Or maybe it comes out that both of you feel emotionally detached from the relationship. Whatever it is, resist the urge to blame, and instead commit to making a plan. If sexual connection is the issue, discuss ways to reignite the spark (covered in this book!). If the emotional glue is dissolving, brainstorm ways to fortify it. As you wrap up the conversation, I encourage you to commit to re-engaging in this honest sharing anytime either of you feel your lust or emotional intimacy slipping.

Consider counseling. If this talk makes you realize how much you don’t trust your partner, it could be a sign that you need to seek additional support to discover how to move forward. I recommend reaching out to a therapist in a private practice, or utilizing complimentary counseling services through a local pregnancy support organization. This mental health professional can help you determine where your concerns are coming from, and if further action is required.

Even if you’re not questioning your relationship, seeking some form of counseling can seriously nourish your pregnancy journey. This healthy outlet allows you to explore all the layers of your experience that pregnancy is exposing and to receive the emotional support you might not be getting enough of at home (which is so normal, even in the healthiest relationships). This release in a counselor’s office might also give you more patience and desire for nurturing your partner’s emotional needs, thus sidestepping that second aforementioned infidelity trigger. And while it’s hard to encourage someone who isn’t asking for help to see a counselor, it could be a good gentle suggestion to make if you see your partner struggling with emotions you don’t feel equipped to handle.

When I was pregnant, I had a lot of therapy — for many reasons. But a big one was the fear of infidelity. Eric couldn’t get enough of me, but I was still terrified he would stray. We became pregnant early in our relationship, and he had an ex who reached out more than I liked. That was enough to totally freak me out. Even though he showed no signs of straying, “What if?” kept scrolling through my mind. Even though my therapist urged me to talk with him, I hid my thoughts, thinking I would seem “hysterical” if I gave them a voice. I didn’t realize holding them in was what made me hysterical.

It all bubbled out the day before our baby shower. We were making a Costco list, and suddenly fat teardrops distorted the words “brownie mix” and “Metamucil.” A three-hour conversation, with lots of hugs, commenced. The results: a promise to encourage said-ex to cool it on the communication and a commitment to share our fears and concerns, no matter how out of place they seemed. While we still have plenty of issues, we’ve become obsessed with communication, piping up when anything feels off in our relationship. And I still frequent therapy.

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What To Do When You Don’t Believe You Can Give Birth

How to move past doubt in your birthing abilities, replacing it with confidence + empowerment.

If you would like more information about these topics, check out my book “Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood” – https://www.amazon.com/Feng-Shui-Mommy-Childbirth-Motherhood/dp/1608684717

P.S. My new book Asking For a Pregnant Friend : 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Ashamed or Scared to Ask About Pregnancy, Childbirth and Early Motherhood is coming out June 1, 2021 🙂

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My partner and I are fighting all the time. Can the baby hear us? Are we emotionally scarring them?

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

When I was pregnant, I wrapped a blanket around my stomach when Eric and I argued, figuring this would protect Hudson from our un-perfect relationship. I soon discovered I didn’t need to be as worried about what our son heard in utero as about the stress hormones he was exposed to. And before we all get stressed about being stressed, know that it’s impossible to have a completely stress-free pregnancy, where only rainbows and unicorn smiles pass through the placenta — stressor hormones are a normal part of life. But regularly elevated levels of said hormones don’t have to be.

So why do so many women experience elevated stress during pregnancy? As this Q&A implies, tension with a partner can be a big factor. As your body and many aspects of your life (and your partner’s) change — or prepare for change — it’s common to argue about finances, shifting priorities, intimacy, wet towels on the floor (oh wait, that’s always), and so much more. For many, our partner is our rock — our numero uno for emotional and physical support. So when it feels like they’re our adversary, we can crack.

When I was in my second trimester and Eric was in the throes of graduate school, he had a meltdown one evening while I was partaking in a joyful perineal tissue massage. He started sighing really loudly, which is usually my cue to say, “What’s wrong?” But I didn’t — I was focused on stretching out my vagina so a head could fit through it. His sighs turned to grunts, and I snapped. “Just say what’s bothering you!” I barked from the bathroom. And then it happened. He erupted in tears, complaints, and infuriating raised eyebrows. The pressure of school, working full time, and having parenthood looming in his near future was too much. He didn’t think he could do it, and he was terrified.

Usually, I would see this as a cry for help and let him vent as I fur- rowed my own brows and nodded. But not this time. I was pregnant, and he wasn’t. In that moment I believed he was just trying to make my life harder — that he was implying pregnancy was more difficult for him. I went off. We yelled, cried, and blamed…then he left .It was the worst fight we’d ever had, and I was a puddle. I convinced myself that he was never coming back, and that Hudson and I would have to forge ahead alone. I was shaking, and Hudson was going crazy in my uterus.

Something had to change. While Eric and I would obviously argue again, I had to make a plan for keeping things civil. My body and baby were giving me clear signals that what had just happened was toxic for all.

After Eric and I reconciled, I made a list of how to avoid that toxicity in the future —you’ll find it in the “What to do” section. I also researched the effects of high levels of stress on a fetus. It’s not great. When a pregnant woman is regularly in “fight or flight” mode, cortisol, adrenaline, epinephrine, and other stressor hormones flood the body. According to a study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, a fetus’s exposure to these hormones could potentially cause symptoms of anxiety, depression, and increased stress reactivity later in life. In addition, a study published in Women & Birth found that maternal stress could increase the risk for preterm birth. The final study I’ll drop, published in Obstetric Medicine, reported that prenatal stress could result in low birth weight and impact the child’s learning and memory. For mama, high levels of stress can lead to anxiety or depression, headaches, nausea, cramping, digestive issues, and sleep issues.

When I read about these risks I was overcome with guilt, certain that my blowout with Eric had led to irreparable baby-damage. But hold up. While studies like this can be frightening, they’re not saying our babies are doomed to a challenging life just because we’re occasionally stressed. After I chilled, I saw the potential risks as encouragement to do everything I could to limit my stress, work that list I made, and remember that while prenatal stress isn’t dire, it should be avoided as much as possible. So how do we do that? We do that by empowering ourselves to take back some control over our stress levels and creating a more harmonious relation- ship with our partners.

Note: If the fighting you’re experiencing contains even a thread of emotional or physical abuse, seek support. The National Domestic Violence Hotline (thehotline.org) offers guidance and referrals for women who are experiencing domestic abuse or wondering whether certain aspects of their relationship are unhealthy. It’s best to seek help now. As much as we want the birth of a baby to heal a deeply fractured relation- ship, it often does the opposite. You and your baby deserve an environment of emotional and physical safety and support.

What to do

Make a list of everything that stresses you out. When you get to how your partner stresses you out, be really specific about the topics you often argue about and the triggers you both have. This exercise takes the mystery out of your relationship stress and gives you a jumping-off point for resolution and eventual maintenance. With your list in hand, try out the following argument- and stress-reduction tools.

Pause. When you feel your anger sparked, resist the urge to vent. In- stead, take a pause. Go to a private space, take ten deep breaths, and look at what’s going on. Is your partner being a total jerk, or are you just reading into what they’re saying? Are they doing something that requires a talk, or can you let it go because your reaction’s coming from something else that’s going on with you? Take a hot second before you pounce on the opportunity to argue. (I used to be so bad at this.) This feels super awkward the first few times you do it, and if your partner’s not used to it, they may respond by trying to get you to react immediately. But if you stick with it, you can likely keep those stress levels in check and avoid unneeded disputes.

  • Fill your partner in on what it’s like to be pregnant. So many of the fights I had with Eric revolved around him not getting what I was going through. I thought he should just know what it’s like to have cankles that feel like they’ve been injected with Play-Doh, to feel bullied by the constant shifts of the hormones responsible for regulating my emotions, to be freaked by the idea of pushing a human out of my vagina. But he didn’t just know. So finally I told him. Do the same with your person. Tell them the nitty-gritty of what you’re experiencing, and then get specific about how they can help. Remind them that this is an incredibly tender time for you, and you’re going to need a lot of slack to be cut.
  • Give compliment sandwiches. Partners can be irritating and sometimes incredibly hurtful, which means there will be times when you need to speak up. And because all humans have sensitive egos (even those who swear otherwise) you can avoid critique-backlash by using the trusty compliment sandwich. Here’s one I remember recycling often when Hudson was a baby: “Hey babe. I love your dedication to surfing — it’s awesome to see how happy you are afterwards. While I definitely want you to keep having time to do that, it would be great if you could shorten the surf sessions. Maybe you could try to be back in two hours instead of three? Hudson and I really love having you around and it would be amazing to see more of you on your days off.” Kind of cheesy, but it usually worked. The times I forgot about this sandwiching technique and threw out, “It’s selfish and ridiculous how long you spend surfing!” he would usually peace out for even longer, and then we would fight. #SayYesToTheSandwich
  • Practice gratitude maintenance. The longer we’re paired with another human, the easier it is to see their annoying qualities and the harder it is to see their lovely ones. This natural phenomenon breeds contempt.

One of the quickest ways to replace contempt with appreciation is for you and your partner to make a list of ten things you appreciate about one another. It can be really specific, like, “I love the way you make a smoothie” or “You’re really skilled with your tongue” (never hurts to throw in some kinky gratitude!). When you have your lists, read them to each other. Don’t follow this up with lists of the things you don’t appreciate — just sit in the space of gratitude for a few minutes. Whenever you feel the contempt creeping back in, repeat the exercise. Give hugs. It’s really hard to hold on to stress and be mad at someone you love when you’re engaging in a long, warm hug. While it’s beautiful to embrace after you’ve resolved a conflict, you can also do some- thing wild and initiate the hug mid-argument. If you feel yourself spinning out or notice an argument is becoming unproductive, step forward, ask your partner if you can hug them, and then do it. Make it a long one. Hold the embrace until you feel them soften. This can be one of the simplest and most effective ways to hit the reset button.

Regarding the other life-stuff that stresses you out, try the following when the going gets gruff:

  • Sing. Music helps control cortisol levels. So when you feel stress escalating, turn on your favorite jam and belt it out.
  • Decompress. Even when all seems merry and bright, pregnancy hormones can dump a load of stress on you. When this happens, wind down from the tension by meditating, taking a warm bath, getting a prenatal massage or acupuncture, listening to good old Enya, or doing anything else that helps your mind and body release.

And finally, ask your partner to do any or all of the above. As much as we try to shield ourselves from our partner’s moods, they still impact us. So getting your person to utilize some of the same argument-soothers and stress-relievers you’re trying can help you both land in emotional equilibrium.

Childbirth, Video

What To Do If You Don’t Like Your Labor + Delivery Nurse

How to figure out what type of labor and delivery nurse you want, and how to ask for a new nurse if the one you’re assigned doesn’t make you feel calm and supported.

If you would like more information about these topics, check out my book “Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood” – https://www.amazon.com/Feng-Shui-Mommy-Childbirth-Motherhood/dp/1608684717

P.S. My new book Asking For a Pregnant Friend : 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Ashamed or Scared to Ask About Pregnancy, Childbirth and Early Motherhood is coming out June 1, 2021 🙂

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Childbirth Support For Survivors of Sexual Trauma

Discover ideas for navigating childbirth if you’re a survivor of sexual trauma, and how to determine what type of birth you feel most comfortable with.

If you would like more information about these topics, check out my book “Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood” – https://www.amazon.com/Feng-Shui-Mommy-Childbirth-Motherhood/dp/1608684717

P.S. My new book Asking For a Pregnant Friend : 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Ashamed or Scared to Ask About Pregnancy, Childbirth and Early Motherhood is coming out June 1, 2021 🙂

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Why do I think my partner is the most irritating person in the world? How can I start liking them again?

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

Don’t tell my husband, but I was pissed he didn’t have to live off saltines for three months, didn’t have an always-aching groin, and didn’t have to do the whole push-a-baby-out thing. Pissed. I felt enraged by the injustice of his simply having to contribute sperm. Beyond that, just about every- thing else he did irritated me. Left a drop of pee on the toilet seat . . . Aargh! Didn’t shut the silverware drawer all the way…Why, I oughta! Didn’t get the right kind of ice cream…I won’t even go there. There was a lot of rage. But I never talked about it. I didn’t want to be seen as the irrational pregnant woman who stirred up conflict for no reason. But it turns out there was a reason.

When we’re pregnant, our bodies flood with a confused cocktail of estrogen and progesterone that can make our emotions range from crying over a Hallmark card to wanting to pop the tires of that guy who cut in front of us at the grocery store — all within a sixty-second span. It’s a lot. And we shouldn’t feel wrong, or out of control, for having this cacophony of feels — it’s all part of the journey.

Because your partner is likely the person you feel emotionally safest with, they get the brunt of the more unpleasant emotions stirred up by those hormones. But those emotions aren’t always the hormones talking — sometimes our partners are just really freaking irritating.

A potential cause for this irritating behavior is the changes your partner is going through. Both of you are navigating a massive shift — a rite of passage our culture doesn’t appropriately acknowledge or support. Men are often especially inept at processing this change because most of them were raised to believe they should manage their emotions on their own. And then society tells them they shouldn’t complain because they’re not the one growing a baby (something I’ve been guilty of saying to my husband). Sometimes men aren’t even aware of how impending fatherhood is molding their behavior — they don’t see how their fears over losing their autonomy or masculinity are making them extra selfish and annoying. Their subconscious mind might be saying, “I will not bend to parenthood. I will still be me. Here look, I’ll show you!” (Cue the annoying behavior.)

I speak from experience when I tell you that this mix of hormones in us and aggravating behavior in our partners can make us feel rage…

and fear…and sadness…and more rage. While you have every right to feel these feelings, I’ll also take a wild guess and bet it doesn’t feel great to always feel like you and your significant other are on opposing teams. During this time, more than any other phase of life, we crave companion- ship and harmony. So it can be frustrating when our emotions offer up the recipe for the total opposite.

What to do

First off, let yourself feel the emotions. When irritation pops up, resist the urge to talk yourself out of it or ignore it. Go to a private space where you won’t be tempted to unleash that irritation on your partner, then let your- self go. Talk smack about them in the mirror, stomp your feet, do a silent scream. Then count to ninety. People much smarter than me have found it takes any emotion ninety seconds to pass through the mind and body… if we do nothing to shut it down. So let it flow. Then…

  • Take a few moments to examine what just happened. Look at what triggered you. In the case of your partner pissing you off, determine whether the offending action is something they do repeatedly that you would really like them to stop doing — like if they said something that was offensive and that warrants an apology — or is something that really wasn’t a big deal and can be let go of. Because you’ve re- leased the emotions around the event, you’re able to make a more logical, objective decision about how to move forward. The gist: give yourself alone time when your partner makes you steam.
  • Check in with your partner once a week. When you’re both well rested, not distracted, and in a good head space, sit down for a talk about how you’re both feeling. Before you begin, lay some communication ground rules — for example, avoid name calling, don’t cut off the other mid-sentence, and be dedicated to finding solutions and common ground instead of trying to prove that you’re right. Airing your feelings on a regular basis can keep you from feeling like a pow- der keg, and it will help you feel more heard and connected — all things that will make your partner seem way less irritating.
  • Assign parenting tasks. During one of those weekly check-ins, break down the impending parenting responsibilities and decide who will tackle what. Because a hunk of the stress you and your partner are feeling probably stems from all the unknowns of parenthood, this planning session can be a surprisingly effective salve, helping you get clear on what to expect from parent-life.

To start, make a list of everything that needs to be done when you have a baby (e.g., diaper changes, feeding, cooking meals, taking out the trash, washing dishes, doing laundry, setting up health insurance for baby, paying the bills, researching childcare, etc.).

Then, go through each item and discuss who will take responsibility for it. If you decide to share responsibility for a certain task, break down what that will look like. Make sure to write down your decisions so there’s no confusion when your brains are eventually possessed by parenthood and no sleep.

In addition, make sure your name isn’t next to 75 percent of the tasks. Women often have to put in double the work to be seen as an equal contributor. That’s a BS social dynamic we need to change. Split the tasks evenly because you deserve equality in your home just as much as you deserve it at work…and everywhere.

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What Your Doctor Might Not Tell You About Pitocin and Epidurals

Insight into the potential side effects of pitocin and epidurals to help you make a more informed decision.

If you would like more information about these topics, check out my book “Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood” – https://www.amazon.com/Feng-Shui-Mommy-Childbirth-Motherhood/dp/1608684717

(My new book “Asking For a Pregnant Friend : 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Ashamed or Scared to Ask About Pregnancy, Childbirth and Early Motherhood” is coming out Spring 2021 🙂

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Why Won’t People Talk to Me About More Than Baby Stuff?!

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

I’m really sick of everyone talking to me only about pregnancy, childbirth, and babies. How can I still have conversations about other aspects of my life and be seen as more than a pregnant woman?

Talk about an identity shift, right?! One day you’re viewed as a woman unique for her special sauce of personality traits, talents, and interests, then the next day your belly is blooming and most people lump you into the pregnancy/mommy crew, assuming you just want to talk about labor positions and the merits of cloth diapers over disposables. It’s frustrating. And sometimes it’s identity crisis–inducing. Most women already have that little voice, constantly worrying about how they’ll change as they wander into motherhood, so it’s understandable that they freak when folks seem to stop perceiving them as dynamic individuals and see only the generic “mom.” (I don’t care who you are, you’re not a generic mom — you’re a badass individual.)

But before we start ragging on those nameless folks, it’s important to note that most people don’t actually think of you as a generic mom; they are simply latching on to something about you they can relate to. More than almost anything, humans want to connect and feel understood, so when we see someone showing visible signs of something we have experience with, we want to talk about that thing. I’ll bet that if people find out you’re an architect (for example), and they have a passion for design, they’ll happily shift the conversation.

It’s also common for women to feel guilty about not wanting to always talk about pregnancy, birth, and the mama-hood when they’re in the thick of those experiences. Some feel like it’s a betrayal of the baby to be irked when someone asks yet again whether you’re planning on having a vaginal birth. But let it really sink in: you have every right to feel like you’re more than a vessel for new life — because you absolutely are. You are a well- rounded woman who will be a better mother because you are committed to holding on to the things that make you feel like you. A dedication to the nourishment of your whole self will teach your child that they also deserve a life in which their personal interests and needs matter.

What to do

When someone starts chatting you up about everything your belly makes them think of and you’re not feeling the mommy-talk, try one of the following:

  • Come up with a go-to question or response for changing the subject. For example, you can describe how pregnancy is impacting your career, or how you’re concerned motherhood will change your interests. This will hopefully inspire the other person to start talking about similar experiences, allowing you to learn what their interests are and giving you golden material for a new topic of conversation. “Oh wow, so you worked in the circus before you became a parent? Did you know the bearded lady?”
  • Straight-up tell them you don’t feel like talking about birth or babies. “You know what? I’m usually so down to talk baby stuff, but I feel like that’s all I’ve been going on about lately. Can we talk about something else? Maybe some Bachelor Nation gossip?”

Besides navigating tricky conversations, it’s also good to remind yourself that you have many fascinating layers. So add the following to your to-do list:

  • Commit to putting yourself in situations that stimulate your favorite parts of who you are. For example, taking a class or joining a club that’s devoted to one of your interests will allow you to hang with people who are probably more interested in the activity or topic you’re there to explore than in what’s going on in your uterus. And spending time with colleagues can help you connect to the side of you that’s passionate about your career, as it’s easy to find not-baby-related common ground with these people.
  • Nurture your dynamic layers after birth. When baby is born, you can hold on to parts of your pre-pregnancy identity by making a plan with your support team for engaging in the activities you love. For example, maybe you’ll schedule your mom to watch baby for an hour every other day so you can work on a passion project.

Something I found so amazing about motherhood was that after I got through the first few months of postpartum chaos, I was filled with inspiration. I started writing the book proposal for Feng Shui Mommy, crafting and pitching a TV show I’m now so grateful never graced the small screen, and volunteering for a cancer resource center. It was like my newfound purpose as a mother awakened all these other sources of purpose. And I’m not unique. Most moms I know began their most exciting endeavors soon after having a baby. I’m not telling you this to make you feel like you need to change the world while you’re still trying to figure out how to get your boobs to stop leaking. I just want you to feel hopeful that your best self and life might be yet to come.

Get your copy now.

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What a Vaginal Tear Feels Like, And How To Prevent It

Insight into what vaginal tears feel like, the degrees of severity, and how to minimize the chance of experiencing one during childbirth.

If you would like more information about these topics, check out my book “Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood” – https://www.amazon.com/Feng-Shui-Mommy-Childbirth-Motherhood/dp/1608684717

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Asking for a Pregnant Friend – Intro

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

Hey, mama. I see you. I see the questions you push away in embarrassment at your prenatal appointments. I see the wariness you feel over the bombardment of emotions you’ve been navigating as your belly blooms. I see the dark thoughts you have about motherhood. I see you doing everything you can to lead a healthy, happy, and informed pregnancy but still feeling confused, like there’s a big chunk of information and support missing from the sea of guidance on pregnancy, childbirth, and early motherhood. I see you wondering if you’re the only one who feels this way.

I see you because I am you. When I was pregnant with my son Hudson, there were so many deep, murky layers of the baby-making journey I found perplexing and, in many ways, shame-inducing. This confusion and shame stuck because I didn’t think I could talk to anyone about what I was experiencing. I felt like I was hiding. Hiding my insatiable lust. Hiding my kinky dreams. Hiding my swollen labia (you’re welcome, world). Hiding my “Should I have gotten an abortion?” question. On the outside I looked like a bloated, fairly content, baby-grower with shiny hair. On the inside, I had pulled out all that shiny hair and was cowering in a corner while judgy fingers pointed at me.

To soothe my fried nerves and scrambled brain, I tried to secretly find candid answers to my questions, especially those society has labeled taboo.

(I also developed a “Clear Browsing History” obsession.) I thought that if I could just find an online resource or book that named what I was feeling and told me it was normal, I might stop feeling like I was broken. But I didn’t find it. I found only watered-down answers to the G-rated cousins of my questions, and lots of books that told me how to glow during pregnancy, not die during childbirth, and breastfeed during motherhood. Sure, they were helpful, but they weren’t what I was looking for. And so my pregnant brain logically assumed everyone else just magically knows about the super strange physical changes of pregnancy, that no one else has morbid, scary thoughts about childbirth, and that all the other ladies have the whole postpartum sex thing figured out.

I didn’t discover how wrong I was until I started teaching childbirth preparation classes and my clients pulled me aside to ask questions. Their questions were my questions, and I was thrilled. I wasn’t alone! I wasn’t broken. Hearing other women name many of the unspeakable queries I had on my journey into motherhood emboldened me to start asking physicians and mental health specialists these questions. The answers I received were fascinating and liberating. Turns out there were totally legit reasons for every thought, physical phenomenon, and emotion that had made me feel different or unfit for motherhood. I started adding this in- formation to my classes, and the response has been awesome. When I talk about how orgasms during pregnancy won’t hurt the baby, or what all the weird smells from all the places mean, women light up (and men often blush and shuffle off to the bathroom). They’re getting answers to the questions they were praying someone else would ask. But the coolest part is, my bringing up these topics often gives them the confidence to share their experiences with said topics. We get into some really interesting con- versations.

These moments of sharing and connection in my classes caused me to become That Lady at dinner parties, conferences, back-to-school nights, and heck, pretty much every other social situation, who asks unsuspecting women about all the stuff they never thought they could talk about during pregnancy and beyond. Sometimes people slowly back away, but most of the time they open up.

I’ve learned that we’re part of a massive secret society. There are thousands of us slipping away from prying eyes to scan chat rooms and forums, flip through books, and make our fingers numb with Google searches as we look for answers to the same things you came to this book wondering about — maps to the same paths you’re wandering. But I don’t want you to feel like tracking down answers is a full-time job. I want you to have all the answers in one place, from a friendly, accurate source. I also want those answers to come from a friend who would never judge or make you feel like a weirdo for asking that “TMI” question.

So… can we be friends? Can I be the person who never judges you and is always up for talking about sex, smells, scary thoughts, feeling like you want to lock your partner out of the house, and all the other stuff we deal with as we make, birth, and nurture babies?

It’s my hope that during this friendship you will be freed from many of the barriers to a joy-filled journey into motherhood. I also hope that this friendship will bolster your confidence so that you can begin speak- ing more freely about the “underbelly” of your motherhood experiences IRL. And I hope you start finding women you trust and talking with them about the things they’re also worrying about or confused by. But hey, even if you just talk to this book, I hope the experience fills you with relief, and compassion for your amazing self, who is doing the best she can.

Where Did These Questions Come From?

These questions have been sourced from women just like you over the past five years. Even when I wasn’t aware that I was collecting these questions, I was collecting these questions. They’ve come in whispers after childbirth classes, from girlfriends who look over their shoulder at the cafe to make sure no one is listening, or from my YouTube viewers and social media buddies who email their questions because they don’t want them seen on public forums. And when the idea for the book was sparked, I began asking everyone who would talk to me what their hidden questions were during the wild entry into motherhood. People talked, fascinating discus- sions were had, and juicy questions emerged.

Why Are These Questions So Embarrassing?

The questions are embarrassing because they require that we come to terms with the fact that we don’t have it all together, they force us to develop a new relationship with our bodies and sexuality, and they often uncover emotional or mental challenges. This is big stuff. It’s stuff we innately shy away from because it’s usually really uncomfortable to take an honest look at who we are and how pregnancy and motherhood are changing us. Sometimes we shy away from these questions so fiercely we don’t even know they’re our questions until we see or hear them.

But the beauty of shared questions and experiences is that they often wipe away the grime of embarrassment. Think about it: If you’re walking down the street and you trip in front of a group of people, you’re probably going to feel embarrassed. But if another person trips just as you’re getting up, much of that embarrassment will dissolve because, hey look, you’re not the only one who trips! It’s all good! That’s what this book is, all us ladies tripping through pregnancy, childbirth, and early motherhood together, then helping one another up.

Who Is Answering These Questions?

Mostly me: Bailey Gaddis. I’m a mother, the author of Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood, a childbirth preparation educator, birth and postpartum doula, and certified hypnotherapist. As I answered the 101 questions in this book, I also drew on the experience of midwives, OB-GYNs, and doulas I’ve worked with over the years, and my lady buddy, Meghan Rudd Van Alstine, PhD, who is a licensed psychologist. Insights from peer-reviewed studies were also a big piece of the puzzle. I bundled all this wisdom together into a book of science, intuition, and experience-based guidance for ladies who are ready to be liberated from those taboo curiosities and crippling fears that keep them up at night.

So here they are, the juicy and totally legit things a woman would only ask that treasured friend who never, ever judges. The questions some women get brave enough to ask online but are then flayed by trolls about and never ask again. Welcome to the first step in leading a shame-free and super empowered journey into motherhood.

Childbirth, Video

Overcoming the Fear of Dying During Childbirth

How to release the fear of dying during childbirth, and other fears that could impact your birth experience.

If you would like more information about these topics, check out my book “Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood” – https://www.amazon.com/Feng-Shui-Mommy-Childbirth-Motherhood/dp/1608684717

Childbirth, Video

Preparing to Push a Baby Out

Tips for preparing your perineum, pelvis, and overall body + mind for pushing a baby out.

If you would like more information about these topics, check out my book “Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood” – https://www.amazon.com/Feng-Shui-Mommy-Childbirth-Motherhood/dp/1608684717

Childbirth, Video

What It’s Like to Push a Baby Out

Learn what it feels like to push a baby out, how long it takes, and how to make it easier.

If you would like more information about these topics, check out my book “Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood” – https://www.amazon.com/Feng-Shui-Mommy-Childbirth-Motherhood/dp/1608684717

Childbirth, Video

Is An Unmedicated Birth Possible?

Learn what to do when everyone tells you “you’ll definitely end up with an epidural,” and how to advocate for your desire for unmedicated childbirth.

If you would like more information about these topics, check out my book “Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood” – https://www.amazon.com/Feng-Shui-Mommy-Childbirth-Motherhood/dp/1608684717

Childbirth, Video

Can An Epidural Cause Paralysis?

Discover how likely it is for an epidural to cause paralysis, and how you can soothe this fear.

If you would like more information about these topics, check out my book “Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood” – https://www.amazon.com/Feng-Shui-Mommy-Childbirth-Motherhood/dp/1608684717

Parenting, Video

A Guide to Baby Sunscreen

The ingredients to avoid + look for in baby sunscreen, in addition to other tips for protecting baby’s sensitive skin.

If you would like more information about these topics, check out my book “Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood” – https://www.amazon.com/Feng-Shui-Mommy-Childbirth-Motherhood/dp/1608684717

Childbirth, Video

Does Modesty Screw Up Childbirth?

Discover what to do if you’re worried about having your private parts exposed, cussing, or moaning during childbirth.

If you would like more information about these topics, check out my book “Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood” – https://www.amazon.com/Feng-Shui-Mommy-Childbirth-Motherhood/dp/1608684717

Childbirth, Pregnancy, Video

How to Turn a Breech Baby

Effective techniques for turning a breech baby, and what to do if you can’t turn the baby. Breech Baby Guided Meditation: https://gum.co/sFPXo

If you would like more information about these topics, check out my book “Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood” – https://www.amazon.com/Feng-Shui-Mommy-Childbirth-Motherhood/dp/1608684717

Childbirth, Video

Does Anyone Actually Pay Attention to Birth Preferences?

Discover if medical care providers will honor your birth preferences as much as possible, or roll their eyes and treat you the way they want to treat you.

Birth Preferences Template Download: YourSereneLife.wordpress.com/birth-preferences/

If you would like more information about these topics, check out my book “Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood” – https://www.amazon.com/Feng-Shui-Mommy-Childbirth-Motherhood/dp/1608684717

Childbirth, Video

How to Have an Orgasmic Birth

Tips + tricks for having this coveted type of euphoric birth. It’s possible ladies!

If you would like more information about these topics, check out my book “Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood” – https://www.amazon.com/Feng-Shui-Mommy-Childbirth-Motherhood/dp/1608684717