The psychiatrist behind the matrescence TED talk explains the full range of feelings of pregnancy and parenting.
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You’re not insane, you’re not wrong, you’re not broken, and you’re not a terrible parent or a terrible worker if you’re having a hard time getting work done while also sustaining the full-time job of caring for a baby. Taking care of a baby is a huge job, one that requires the work of multiple adults. But instead, we ask women to do it all, without help or support, and then to work additional jobs on top of the round-the-clock work of childcare. It’s impossible.
Dr. Kyl Myers holds a PhD in sociology and gender studies, and is an award-winning educator and a globally recognized advocate for gender creative parenting. Since 2016, Kyl has been speaking and writing about gender creative parenting and using their own parenting story to help the world learn about and embrace a new type of childhood. Dr. Myers is the author of Raising Them: Our Adventure In Gender Creative Parenting. Join us for a fascinating conversation about parenting, gender, and what we can do as parents to help reduce gender violence, oppression against women and men, and create a more playful world.
Sometimes it takes a while for motherhood to grow on you—it’s not always instant or immediate. For Shama Hyder, she didn’t love the baby stage right away, and wondered if there was a “motherhood gene” she might be missing. Here’s her story of loving her business and adjusting to a new baby, and how long it really took for her to find her rhythm.
My first child was born on Mothers’ Day, 2016, the day before our anniversary. It blew me open, ripped my birth canal vagina more than I would have liked, and turned so much of my life upside down. So many of you are about to become mothers for the first, second, third time. You’re doing it in the middle of a pandemic, in the midst of changing rules and ideas, amidst a sea of changing information. Motherhood, in many ways, feels like a pandemic. The strange thing about the last four months is this eerie sense I have that this already feels familiar. I’ve been here before. We’ve been here before.
It’s hard enough being a working mom—or a working parent—by the end of the day I’m usually hiding in an unmade bed somewhere, scarfing cookies while watching terribly trashy television like The Bachelor or The Voice and trying to find a quiet moment to myself. After 14 hours on non-stop duty from 5:00am until 7:30pm, my resilience and my willpower are depleted. But here’s why it’s important to not compare yourself to others around you as a new parent or a working mom.
The process of adopting a child can be long, laborious and fraught with uncertainty. You never know when you’ll get the call or how long it will take, or when you might become a parent. For Priti Krishtel, she got the call late one night that her kid was here, and she jumped on a plane to be at the hospital on the other side of the country just 24 hours later.
Everyone tells women to bounce back after having a kid. Like, don’t change—don’t do anything except, of course, become a mom and be a mother 100% and love your kids and leave work because, obviously, you’ll leave work and you won’t be the same. Except also, don’t change. WTF?
In our culture, mothers are divided into two camps: the “Perfect Mother” or the “Bad Mom.” This false dichotomy robs women of a shared language to speak about motherhood as it really is: an expansive, grey emotional zone of swirling, conflicting feelings. Dr. Alexandra Sacks guides us a through a new way of looking at motherhood through the lens of “matrescence” — or the natural psychological experience that is the identity transition into motherhood.
The first weeks of parenting a newborn can be exhausting, traumatic, and completely confusing. You think you’ve read all the parenting books, but then those first few weeks hit you like a ton of bricks. Vanessa Van Edwards shares why she felt betrayed by this absence of information and how she dealt with a business crisis in the middle of her maternity leave.
This year, I’ve been playing around with more mantras and affirmations, or words of encouragement that I repeat to myself. By consciously choosing the words we use, I think we can gently encourage ourselves in new directions. I share some of my more personal mantras I’ve been mulling on as I go into the tender space of welcoming a new person into our lives, on the precipice of giving birth again.
Kate Northrup always knew she wanted to be a mother, and she pursued entrepreneurship partly because of the freedom it could afford her to be there for her kids. What Kate wasn’t counting on was the way pregnancy would change her drive and refocus her energy when it came to the business. She admits that it took her a long time to “get back in the game,” and that her husband and business partner, Mike, picked up the slack. But Kate credits having her daughter, Penelope, with initiating a personal evolution that allowed her to clarify her desires and ultimately renew her interest in the business and the way she thought about showing up for work in the first place. Perhaps there was something revolutionary here: because, as she shares in this episode, she found that she was able to achieve more even while doing less. And that some of her most productive weeks happened when she was working only 20 hours a week on the business. Today Kate shares her “shocking and awesome” birth experience, explaining how parenthood impacted her business as well as her marriage.
There were 10 of us. I came first and helped raise the rest. I did not want my mother’s life. I did not want to alternate between being pregnant and breastfeeding for twenty years, nor did I want the underlying lack of autonomy and choice that represented to me. Yet still, her legacy and example ran deep, and I was always sure that whatever edition of motherhood I might someday desire would come easily to me. I wasn’t prepared for what actually happened.
Courtney Skott is an award-winning, independent furniture and interior designer. She also wants to talk about blood: women have periods, they have miscarriages, and they have abortions. None of this should be shrouded in mystery or secrecy.
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