Proven Strategies to Fight the Anxiety, Guilt, and Overwhelming Emotions of Motherhood—and Relax into Your New Self
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Becoming a mother is a joyful rite of passage, but it can also bring overwhelming emotional upheaval, exhaustion, and self-doubt. And is it any wonder? Motherhood changes everything, right down to a woman's brain chemistry. No one understands mom brain better than psychologist Ilyse Dobrow DiMarco, a mother of two herself who specializes in treating women with young children. In this compassionate guide, Dr. Dobrow DiMarco shares science-based psychological strategies to help moms cope with common challenges and make peace with their transformed identity. Candid, witty stories from her own life and the lives of women she has worked with illustrate ways to tame self-critical thoughts; navigate the new normal of work, marriage, and friendships; and mindfully accept the highs and lows of parenting--even in the toughest moments.
Table of Contents
Introduction 1. “What’s Happened to My Head?”: “Mom Brain” and How CBT Can Help 2. “What’s Happened to My Heart?”: Understanding the Emotional Roller-Coaster Ride of Motherhood 3. “Who Am I Now That I’m a Mom?”: Redefining Who You Are and How You Work 4. “Why Can’t I Stop Worrying?”: How to Cope When You Sweat the Small (and Big) Stuff 5. “Why Don’t I Feel Safe?”: Managing Fears about Injury, Illness, and Other Threats 6. “How Can I Possibly Find Time to Shower When I Have to Take My Toddler to Her French Lessons?”: Taking Care of Yourself While You’re Taking Care of Your Kids 7. “Why Can’t My Life Be More Instagrammable?”: Coping with Comparison-Making and Social Media 8. “Why Can’t I Mom Perfectly?”: What to Do When You Expect Too Much of Yourself 9. “How Can I Nurture My Relationship When I’m Busy Nurturing This Kid?”: Navigating Changes and Challenges with Your Partner 10. “Who’s the Mother Here?”: Coping with Extended Family 11. “Where Has My Social Life Gone?”: Fitting Friendships into Your New Life 12. “Why Isn’t Anyone Having Fun?”: Surviving Vacations, Holidays, and Special Events with Young Kids Appendix: Values Worksheet Resources Index
Ilyse Dobrow DiMarco, PhD, is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Summit, New Jersey. She specializes in helping women use cognitive-behavioral therapy and related evidence-based strategies to navigate the myriad challenges of motherhood. Her writing has been featured in Motherly, Motherwell, Pop Sugar Moms, Psychology Today, Scary Mommy, and The Week, as well as on her own blog, http://drcbtmom.com. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and two sons.
Dr. Dobrow DiMarco is the wise, funny, relatable, and brutally honest girlfriend that every new mom needs--and she's also a seasoned psychologist who shows how tested clinical techniques can be used to address the worries, fears, frustrations, and feelings of loneliness that inevitably attend motherhood. Mom Brain is an outstanding contribution and a gift to new moms everywhere.--Lisa Damour, PhD, author of Untangled and Under Pressure I can’t wait to recommend Mom Brain to my friends--both moms-to-be and those who have been around the block a time or two! This book has helped me define and prioritize what is important to me, and look at my relationships through a different lens. Most importantly, I no longer feel like I’m letting my baby and others down when I stand up for myself and my needs. I rarely reread books, but this one is different. I look forward to using it as a resource as both my son and I grow.--Blair B., Raleigh, North Carolina This is a terrific book that all mothers should read. With a healthy dose of humor, Dr. Dobrow Dimarco shows you that it is normal to sometimes feel anxious and depressed about parenting--but that there are tools available to help. I'm a mother and a psychologist, and I still learned some new strategies for managing my own 'mom brain' by reading this book!--Shireen L. Rizvi, PhD, ABPP, Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey Dr. Dobrow DiMarco gets me--and that's not easy! Finally, someone has written about 'mom brain' with both impressive knowledge and self-deprecating compassion, acknowledging the complexity while simultaneously keeping things simple. As both a clinical psychologist and a mother of young kids, I have only two things to say to Dr. Dobrow DiMarco: Bravo, and thank you.--Rebecca Schrag Hershberg, PhD, author of The Tantrum Survival Guide-