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The Motherhood Club: Help, Hope and Inspiration for New Mothers from New Mothers
     

The Motherhood Club: Help, Hope and Inspiration for New Mothers from New Mothers

by Shirley Washington, Ann L. Dunnewold
 

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From the sheer exhaustion of multiple middle-of-the-night feedings and diaper changes to the exasperation of a colicky baby, most women are completely unprepared for the reality of life as a new parent. No matter how hard they labored in the delivery room, the real work begins when they take their babies home. In today's mobile society, many women live far from

Overview

From the sheer exhaustion of multiple middle-of-the-night feedings and diaper changes to the exasperation of a colicky baby, most women are completely unprepared for the reality of life as a new parent. No matter how hard they labored in the delivery room, the real work begins when they take their babies home. In today's mobile society, many women live far from their families and often have no help past the first week or two postpartum. Until now, books read by mothers-to-be focus on the infant not the mother. In this fascinating book, new mothers share their most intimate thoughts on the joys and challenges of one of life's most precious and rewarding roles.

The Motherhood Club contains candid, reassuring stories by first-time moms from all walks of life as they adjust to motherhood. Their accounts will inspire, uplift and support new mothers as they learn to find their own way. Included are essays about loneliness, fear of putting baby into daycare, the trials and tribulations of breastfeeding, a changing body image, and the many moods of postpartum depression. At the end of each chapter, coauthors Shirley Washington and Ann Dunnewold, a licensed psychologist specializing in women's reproductive issues, dispel many myths of new motherhood with Dunnewold offering solid clinical analysis and advice.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780757300028
Publisher:
Health Communications, Incorporated
Publication date:
03/30/2002
Series:
Sally Jessy Raphael's Red Eyeglass Series
Pages:
250
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)

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Read an Excerpt

Introduction

Welcome to the Motherhood Club! It is an exclusive club that welcomes all women who have received the greatest gift ever: a baby. Because of your precious gift you have entered into the sanctity of motherhood and have earned the coveted and endearing title: Mother. You will wear that label proudlyùlike a badge of honorùbecause becoming a mother is the most wonderful, fulfilling and rewarding experience you will ever have.

It doesn't matter whether you received your gift in a courtroom or a delivery room, the fact is, you are now a full-fledged member of a highly elite club. Members include teen mothers, single mothers, married mothers, adoptive mothers, step mothers, stay-at-home mothers and working mothers. And while they come from various walks of life and various racial, social and economic backgrounds, they all share a common bond: They are mothers. No other event makes you so much an adult as becoming a mother: not education, establishing a career, buying a car, getting married or buying a house. And no other event changes you in such surprising and revealing ways as becoming a mother.

In order to maintain membership in the Motherhood Club, you must pay never-ending dues. They are tallied every time you hold, feed, burp, bathe, dress, undress, rock, shelter, protect and pray for your baby, and for yourself. I can attest to the fact that you will rely more and more on your religious faith as you settle into your most challenging and rewarding role. Sometimes, you will pray out loud; other times, you will mumble incoherently under your breath as you make your way through the first couple of weeks of mothering. I call that the "initiation period."

The initiation period is the time it takes to adjust to having a baby and to being a mother. It is one of the most physically, emotionally and psychologically challenging experiences you will ever have. It is a time when you will break down and cry, but you won't know why. It is a time when you will look in a mirror and hate everything about your body. And it is a time when you will exude the splendor of motherhood outside, but feel strong mixed emotions inside. That can be awfully confusing at times because society expects motherhood to be "the most wonderful time in your life." But the truth of the matter is we aren't very good about anticipating fear, panic and disenchantment. Those feelings aren't portrayed in the average media advertisements about motherhood.

The initiation period is also filled with intense change, much like the adjustment period after any other major life transition. For example, it is expected and perfectly understandable to have tears and doubts before your wedding, or to take time to feel like a couple with your new spouse. We expect to have to settle into a new job, or to take weeks to make a new house feel like home. And yet we expect to automatically feel like a mother. While some mothers settle into their new role in a matter of days, others take a few weeks or longer. The important thing is they adjust, and so will you.

The initiation period can be so overwhelming you will feel like you are losing your mind, but you're not. I know you are probably thinking, "That will never happen to me." Let me assure you, it will. All new mothers experience anxieties in one form or another. They are common and are inherent realities of being a mother. Therefore, there is no reason to fear being misunderstood, or feel ashamed. Joy, wonder, doubt and terror are all understandable because of the enormity of the change in your life and the importance of your new role. Honesty on this issue is very freeing. And knowing other new mothers have these feelings can help you feel not only less guilty but more connected with other mothers. That, of course, is good news.

The other good news is that members of the Motherhood Club will help you overcome the tremendous challenges you are facing. And they will help you emerge triumphantly so that you will enjoy the fruits of mothering. The members will help you because they understand what you are going through. They have walked thousands of miles down the path of motherhood. And they know it is paved with three Ms: miracles, magic and misery.

Through their strong, encouraging voices, the members will share the emotional, physical and psychological challenges they encountered while nestling into motherhood. They will share how they felt happy one minute and sad the next. They will share how they focused solely on their babies and neglected their mates. They will share how they smiled in the glow of motherhood and felt extremely happy most of the time. And they will share how they triumphed over their trials.

When you are stricken with basic anxieties, or what I call "Mother's Moody Blues," don't think for a second that you are the only one who has ever been hit with them. Because as much as you will want to believe that, you do not, I repeat, do not have exclusive rights to "Mother's Moody Blues." Members of the Motherhood Club will tell you that and a whole lot more.

Think back for just a second. Remember when you first found out you were pregnant? All attention focused directly on your baby, right? Your mate felt and kissed your stomach. Your doctor carefully calculated your baby's due date. Your mother was so thrilled about becoming a grandmother she shared the wonderful news with anyone who would listen. And your girlfriends, who are at your side no matter what, couldn't wait to give you a baby shower. They made sure the colors and theme were perfect, the games were fun, and the food and drink were delicious. But in the midst of all the excitement, no one bothered to tell you about the emotional ups and downs of motheringùnot until now, that is. That is the mission of the Motherhood Club. Through the members' fiercely personal and inspiring stories you will learn some of the most common emotional, physical and psychological effects of mothering and how to deal with them.

Each mother's story is organized around myths and themes she found most influential during her adjustment to motherhood. While some chapters contain only one story, others may contain up to three. They are followed by expert clinical analysis and explanations about the changes the mothers went through and the strategies that helped ease the adjustments in their lives. You will also learn concrete tools for handling your new life and role. And you will understand why you are experiencing a flood of emotions during what is supposed to be the happiest time of your life. And it will be, once you get through the initiation period.

Just remember, you are in a new club nowùthe Motherhood Club. Life as you know it will never be the same. Everything you were accustomed to in your old world has changed tremendously. You now inhabit a new world that is filled with wonder and life-altering challenges. Want a good night's sleep? Forget about it. Feeling spontaneous? Plan for it. Feeling frisky? Not today or tomorrow.

And don't forget you have also changed. Your body has gone through a traumatic experience and a dramatic transformation from head to toe. Can't wear those cute little jeans anymore? Buy new ones. Milk flows like a river from your breasts? Buy extra nursing pads. Your mind is playing tricks on you? Beat it at its own game. Believe me, you will survive "Mother's Moody Blues."

And the members of the Motherhood Club will be with you every step of the way. They will inform you, reassure you and uplift you. And they will hold your hand tightly as you make it through the initiation period. And when you reach the brighter side of motheringùand you willùyou will be extremely proud and honored to be a member of the Motherhood Club. Congratulations!

I Am A Mother



From the moment you were conceived

to the moment I felt you move inside me

I knew I was a mother.

From the moment I held you in my arms

to the moment I knew I would always love you

I knew I was a mother.

From the moment I saw your beautiful face

to the moment I felt the warmth of your breath

I knew I was a mother.

From the moment I felt tremendous fear

to the moment it disappeared

I knew I was a mother.

From the moment I raised my first question

to the moment I knew it wouldn't be the last

I knew I was a mother.

From the moment I felt responsible for you

to the moment I prayed for guidance

I knew I was a mother.

From the moment I knew you would face barriers

to the moment I knew I would help you climb over them

I knew I was a mother.

From the moment I saw tears of sadness stain your face

to the moment I prayed there would be few

I knew I was a mother.

From the moment I saw your eyes filled with wonder

to the moment I prayed all your dreams would come true

I knew I was a mother.

From the moment I saw you take your first steps

to the moment I prayed your path would be safe

I knew I was a mother.

From the moment I knew you would set out to change the world

to the moment I knew you would always be in my heart.

I knew I was a mother.

ùShirley Washington


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¬2002. All rights reserved. Reprinted from The Motherhood Club by Shirley Washington and Ann L. Dunnewold, Ph.D. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street,
Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.

Meet the Author

Shirley Washington is an Emmy award-winning television news anchor and reporter with KDFW-TV in Dallas, Texas. She is married and the mother of a beautiful boy. She and her family live in a Dallas suburb.

Ann L. Dunnewold, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist specializing in guiding women through the emotional turmoil of reproductive function including: postpartum depression, premenstrual syndrome, infertility, pregnancy loss and menopause. She has written two books on postpartum depression including Postpartum Survival Guide and has appeared in several videos on the subject.

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