To Have and To Hold: Motherhood, Marriage, and the Modern Dilemma

Harper Wave. Mar. 2019. 288p. notes. index. ISBN 9780062838650. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062838681. PSYCH
Psychologist Millwood combines her experiences as a mother, the stories of her clients, and professional expertise to consider the challenging transition to motherhood. Despite the plethora of parenting books, Millwood found little regarding the complex emotions new mothers face and the strain parenthood places on a marriage. Without intentionally limiting her audience, Miller is predisposed to write about heterosexual, committed couples because most women become mothers in that context. Furthermore, many gender differences in our culture impact motherhood. With the addition of children in the home, women's worlds are changed more than men's, and couples tend to sink into gender stereotypes. Society sets expectations that make it difficult for women to admit mothering isn't easy. Parents receive little support; parental leave is often unpaid, and the close-knit community and extended family of the past have disintegrated.
VERDICT Miller's resonant message is that everyone should acknowledge all facets of motherhood, including the negative. Mothers-to-be and parents of babies and young children may find it reassuring that it's typical to feel conflicted and even angry owing to the upheaval and transformation of their lives.

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