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Publisher's Summary

A clinical psychologist’s exploration of the modern dilemmas women face in the wake of new motherhood.

When Molly Millwood became a mother, she was fully prepared for what she would gain: an adorable baby boy; hard-won mothering skills; and a messy, chaotic, beautiful life. But what she did not expect was what she would lose: aspects of her identity, a baseline level of happiness, a general sense of well-being. And though she had the benefit of a supportive husband during this transition, she also at times resented the fact that the disruption to his life seemed to pale in comparison to hers. 

As a clinical psychologist, Molly knew her experience was a normal response to a life-changing event. But without the advantage of such a perspective, many of the patients she treated in her private practice grappled with self-doubt, guilt, and fear and suffered the dual pain of not only the struggle to adjust, but also the overwhelming shame for struggling at all. 

In To Have and to Hold, Molly explores the complex terrain of new motherhood, illuminating the ways it affects women psychologically, emotionally, physically, and professionally - as well as how it impacts their partnership. Along with the arrival of a bundle of joy come thorny issues such as self-worth, control, autonomy, and dependency. And for most new mothers, these issues are experienced within the context of an intimate relationship, adding another layer of tension, conflict, and confusion to an already challenging time. 

As Molly examines the inextricable link between women’s well-being as new mothers and the well-being of their relationships, she offers guidance to help listeners reclaim their identities, overcome their guilt and shame, and repair their relationships. A blend of personal narrative, scientific research, and stories from Molly’s clinical practice, To Have and to Hold provides a much-needed lifeline to new mothers everywhere.

©2019 Molly Millwood (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about To Have and to Hold

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A new start

As a new mom, I quickly learned the struggles of motherhood, No, it wasn't just the breastfeeding, the sleepless nights it was beyond that, it was me, my feelings and my frustrations! Finally my understanding, ability to embrace the situation and feelings and dealing with it came with this book. Listening to it helped me to feel understood and normal for the first time in a long while. It gave me tools to work through it and better enjoy motherhood. I RECOMMEND IT all the time to my friends!

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Mother, Grandmother, Husband. Must read. Big help.

I’m the soon to be grandmother. This book helped me heal things in my life from my past parenting.
I felt overwhelmed by all “the negative” which I now define as truths. Good example of learning the live the good and the difficult.
This book has brought to my attention how I can be more sensitive and more gentle, standing as witness next to my daughter instead of trying move her from an emotion she is expressing. I feel more prepared to support my daughter and how she feels which will better help her through the momentum of the upcoming life changes.
This book has great insights for the whole family. I encourage husbands and grandfathers to listen to this book as well. Well done Molly!

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Amazing must read mommy book

I recommend reading this book before a baby and reread after having a baby. It really does allow those bottled up feelings that no parent wants to feel find a safe place to be understand and not frowned about but accepted and a better look into how common a lot of mommy feeling every women feels. Amazing book loved it from beginning to end that I bought the hard cover to add to my collection after listening to the audible version, that she reads herself which I loved even more hearing it from her.

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This is not a self-help book. It’s a reality check!

If you are expecting solutions, techniques, etc. this is not the book for you. This book had me in tears multiple times. It confirmed what I already had an idea of which is parenting is hard and people are not truthful about it. We are never told how complex parenting can be and the feelings arising with/from it. This book will make you realize how normal your struggles are as a mother and how you should not immediately assume something is wrong with you. For the dad’s reading this, it will hopefully shed a light on your partner’s feelings and behaviors.

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All parents (to be)

I wish I had found this book 6 years ago, when I became a mother. I feel like this book could and would benefit anyone that is expecting, mother and/or father.

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Great book! For all mamas.

Loved this. Related to so much, a lot def centers on first years of motherhood and while only 4 years in, I felt it.

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Pretty good

Good at identifying how I feel as a new mother, but didn’t really help me in anyway like expected. I did appreciate validation for my feelings but wish there would’ve been some advice in there!

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Great Read!

I enjoyed reading this book. It helped me not feel alone in this motherhood journey.

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Must-read for new moms!

I am 6 weeks postpartum with my first child and this book has been incredibly eye-opening. It validates the things I've been struggling with since entering motherhood, and helps me feel prepared for the challenges that will come as my daughter grows. I will be recommending it to ALL of my pregnant friends!

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Honest and Real

It is refreshing to hear Molly speak about motherhood and parenting in a realistic and honest way, creating space for women to feel emotions outside of just pure love and joy with parenting. I found this book extremely helpful and thought-provoking, both as a soon-to-be parent and as a wife.

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  • Lucy
  • 07-23-21

Not a feel good read - but that's the point

Not a fun topic to read/listen at all because the subject matter is quite pessimistic, but this book is important for tampering unrealistic expectations of parenthood. I think new mothers could find this book to be really comforting.