Newsday, October 29, 2007
"... A must-read."
-San Diego Family
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Most mothers-to-be are so busy preparing for their babies that they fail to focus on themselves. But during this incredible, thrilling, life-changing time, it is more important than ever that they take the time to reflect. What kind of mother do they want to be? Will they fashion themselves after their own moms, or do they picture their lives differently? Filled
Most mothers-to-be are so busy preparing for their babies that they fail to focus on themselves. But during this incredible, thrilling, life-changing time, it is more important than ever that they take the time to reflect. What kind of mother do they want to be? Will they fashion themselves after their own moms, or do they picture their lives differently? Filled with practical advice and heartfelt wisdom, as well as anecdotes and hands-on exercises, Baby on Board is an encouraging and inspiring guide that helps readers figure out what motherhood means to them personally, while ensuring that they don’t lose their sense of self as they become parents.
Based on the authors’ successful life-coaching of women across the country, Baby on Board helps readers discover what will bring them balance and fulfillment as new mothers as they juggle career, family demands, social expectations, and their own needs and dreams. This unique book supports, encourages, and celebrates each woman's unique path to motherhood, giving each just the right amount of direction to let them lead themselves.
Newsday, October 29, 2007
"... A must-read."
-San Diego Family
INTRODUCTION: CREATING YOUR LIFE
“You can’t have relationships with other people until you give birth to yourself.”
When you found out you were pregnant, you knew you were creating a life. But
did you actually think about creating a life? Not just your baby’s life, but your
new life? You know things are going to change with a baby, but have you really
stopped to consider what those changes mean for you?
Who do you want to be as a mother? What will make your first year as a mom
ideal? What will you need to feel fulfilled in your new role, as well as in the rest of your
life? Taking the time to contemplate these questions will enable you to take charge of
your transition into motherhood—to define and create your new life on your terms.
There is plenty of advice for expecting moms—sometimes too much—on everything
from stretch marks to strollers. Books, magazines, websites, your mother, your
mother-in-law, your friends, and even strangers are eager to tell you what to do.
They all think you should do things their way because it worked for them.
We think you should do things your way. We believe you have your own
answers, or at least the ability to find them. Only you know what’s truly right for you.
We’ve designed this book to help you release your innate knowledge, wisdom, and
insight in creating your new life as a woman who is also a mother.
Becoming a Mother Without Losing Yourself
With this book, you give birth to your life as a mother. You think beyond the
baby shower and the birthing room and design your new life to reflect what you
value, what you believe, and who you intend to be. We refer to this book and our
step-by-step process as Becoming a Mother. Your journey through this book starts with
exploration and ends with celebration!
• You explore and imagine your ideal first year as a woman and mother, creating a personal vision for you and your family.
• You reflect on what is most important to you. You clarify what you believe about motherhood, developing a foundation that will serve as a guide for your new life.
• You declare what you want for your first year, capturing it all in a concrete prioritized list.
• You plan changes for your time, money, and space while working through the challenges that arise.
• You commit and take action, putting your new life into place before your baby arrives.
• You celebrate, acknowledging how extraordinary you are.
Each chapter encourages a combination of thinking and doing with examples,
exercises, and anecdotes to help you design your life ahead. The process is flexible—
you can work by yourself, with your husband or partner, or with other moms-to-be.
You choose how little or how much to do and with whom to do it. The tools in this
book are available for you now as you enter motherhood, as well as for the rest of
“In my process, I wrote down what I value—independence, growth, self-awareness,
and passion. These are the qualities I want to hold onto as I become a mother. I designed
my ideal first year as a giant learning opportunity—with a plan to dive into
child development books and classes, have some time every week to be by myself and
reflect, get a new digital camera, somehow find a part-time job based on my photography,
and go away for a weekend with Ron to celebrate our five-year anniversary.
It is so cool to write down what I want!” —FRANNIE, 7 MONTHS PREGNANT
Throughout the book, you will meet other women who have generously contributed
their thoughts and experiences of becoming a mother. They represent different
walks of life, career paths, family arrangements, financial circumstances, cultural
backgrounds, and opinions. We have changed their names and specific details out
of respect for their privacy. Their ideas, plans, and actions range from the lofty to the
practical. You will read about an expecting mother vowing to honor her integrity,
another letting go of her fear, and others who are taking a promotion, leaving a tenyear
career, finishing home repairs, adding a home office, and preparing for life with
a baby in dozens of other ways. We hope you embrace your process with the same
enthusiasm and commitment.
Different women will read this book at different times in their lives. For the sake of clarity,
we wrote for the expecting mom, but we also invite new moms, experienced
moms, and even sometime-in-the-future moms to enjoy the process of designing their
All women are welcome! Whether you’re part of a traditional marriage, a samesex
partnership, a single mother-to-be, a new stepmother, an adoptive mom, or a
mother in any other circumstance, you share in the joys and dilemmas that all mothers
face. For the sake of practicality, we used traditional language throughout the book (by
referring to fathers and husbands, for instance), but hope that you will feel included in
the ideas even if the limitations of language and space inhibit us from using the exact
terms that fit your situation.
All babies are welcome! You may be giving birth to twins, triplets, or multiples;
you may be adopting; your babies may have conditions we don’t address; or you may
have other children already in your family. We chose language reflecting common circumstances
and invite you to apply the information to suit your life and your family.
Husbands and partners are welcome, too! Throughout the book we talk directly
to you and walk you through the process as if you are going through it alone,
because you are the one becoming a mother! However, we encourage you to collaborate
with your husband or partner whenever possible.
Being Your Best
As a mother-to-be, you are starting a lifelong adventure. So much potential lies
ahead—so much hope and possibility! When you are expecting a baby and getting
ready for the changes that will bring, you are truly at a new beginning.
As you embark on this journey, you will be embracing a new way of life. You
will be bringing a precious soul into your family and expanding your relationships.
Seeing through your baby’s eyes, you will experience the world around you as if for
the first time.
It’s true that motherhood can change you. Your heart will grow. Your relationships
will deepen. You will see people differently, as your husband or partner becomes
a father, your parents become grandparents, and your friends and relatives become
role models for your baby. Perhaps most significant of all, you will redefine
yourself. You will forever identify as a mother—the central, unifying figure for a little
person who depends on you. So yes, your life is going to change.
At the same time, you can also protect the amazing qualities that make you
who you are. Your strengths and talents. Your sense of humor. Your style. The life
lessons you’ve learned, the contributions you’ve made, your accomplishments, your
principles, and your sense of self. You can choose a life in which you maintain and
enhance the best of yourself, for you and your baby. By becoming a mother without
losing yourself, you will welcome your baby in a way that honors all of who you
“I am reminded how powerful I can be not only as a mother, but a wife, friend,
and professional. When I choose to do the things that will benefit me, they will ultimately
benefit my family. It takes a lot of courage to start making decisions that
you want, and it is amazing how people come to respect you for doing that.”
—LENA, 6 MONTHS PREGNANT
As personal coaches, we work with women across the country to help each one create
the life she wants. We’ve learned that every new mother has her own hopes and
dreams, challenges to overcome, and distinctive ways of designing her life. As do we.
We too used this process to become mothers without losing ourselves. Here are our
Joelle. As a busy consultant, I found myself working evenings and weekends,
feeling generally rushed and stressed out about life. Before I was even ready to be
a mother, I could see this was no life for a baby. I wanted to be attentive, fun-loving,
and relaxed as a mother—not harried and absent. I could see something seriously
needed to change.
I started asking myself questions, re-envisioning my life, getting clear on my priorities,
and making decisions that would make that kind of motherhood possible
without compromising the career I was working so hard to achieve. Little by little, I
started making room for a baby.
At work, I remodeled my business so that I could work a little less and make a
little more. I kept the projects I loved and gave away the rest. I cut out the “extras”
in my life—volunteering for a girls’ club, being the recorder for my professional association,
and doing small projects for an old client. At home, Tim and I sat down
and sketched out our new lives. We figured out a way to take care of a baby while
still making time for the things we loved to do on our own, like golfing, skiing, and
reading. We found the daycare. We bought the SUV. It may sound crazy, but I literally
had a color-coded calendar system that proved we could make it all work. When
my maternity leave started—two weeks before Jackson was born—I was ready.
Having my first baby still wasn’t easy. There were tears and late nights. There
was stress and confusion. But I felt better able to handle it. I remember one night
holding Jackson as he cried and cried. I felt tired, fat, and messy. And yet, I felt
strangely . . . okay. I might have been clueless, but I wasn’t out of control. Instead
of falling apart as I’d once feared I might, I remember reassuring my son, “Don’t
worry. We’ll figure this out.” And somehow that’s what we did.
Amy. When I became pregnant, I was nervous and excited. I knew that as a life
coach who helps clients create balanced and fulfilled lives as mothers, I had better
practice what I preach!
As I started down the path to motherhood, I thought about how much selfgrowth
work I had done over the years. Despite all that effort, pregnancy was already
challenging me in new ways. Many of my old, familiar issues started popping back
up, like defining my worth by how much I get done and needing to do everything
At the same time, I was really excited about the baby! Married at 38, pregnant
at 39, with a bonus gift of three stepdaughters and a career that I loved, I had almost
everything I always dreamed about. I felt like I was holding my breath—afraid that
I couldn’t have it all, that I would be forced to give something up. “Can I really have
all of this?” I kept wondering. “Is there going to be some catch?”
I dedicated myself to preserving the parts of my life I wanted to keep, planning
for the baby I was so grateful to be having, and deciding what I didn’t mind letting
go. I carved out the four-month maternity leave I craved, put my convertible up for
sale, and bought the crib we really wanted. I told my stepdaughters that I hoped they
would see the baby as their brother not as their stepmother’s child. I asked Mike for
extra “Daddy duty” so I could pursue publishing this book and told friends I didn’t
want stuffed animals or blankets but did want prepared meals and chocolate chip
I posted the commitments I made to myself—my values, my beliefs, and my
intention—on the wall next to my rocking chair. Months later, with Matt in my arms,
I would read the words as I rocked him to sleep. Those words are still an anchor for
me, keeping me tethered to my commitment to bring all of who I am to my son.
Joelle Jay (Reno, NV) and Amy Kovarick (Santa Barbara, CA) are cofounders of the successful company Empowered Motherhood™. Both hold credentials from the Coaches Training Institute and the International Coach Federation. In addition, Joelle holds a Ph.D. in learning and leadership, and Amy has a Master’s in counseling psychology.
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A uniquely designed book, this title coaches the reader through strategies that helps one enjoy becoming a mother. Amy and Joelle don't tell you what is right or wrong, they encourage the mom- to- be to decide what is best for mom. And, they share their a few secrets of their own journey. A must read even if you are already a mom.