Hey Milton Moms, nice to meet you! I’m Jessica, and I’m a therapist for women with a private practice in Waltham. I’m also a part of Boston OBGYN in Brookline , where I am able to see clients in their office. My practice exclusively sees women, many of whom are managing feelings of depression and/or anxiety either while pregnant, or after giving birth. I also see women who are trying to get a handle on work/life blend, and general life transitions (like switching careers, or getting married). I’ll be guest blogging here on Milton Moms, talking to you about managing stress & anxiety, motherhood, loneliness and depression, friendships, relationships and sex, our relationship with food and our bodies, and what it takes to become more present and intentional about your life.
Right off the bat, I wish I had a magic bullet or “quick fix” for you…like, here are the top five things you should do to obtain mom perfection. LOL But, that’s not how any of this works, and perfection is not our goal. I hope this guest blog can be a place where we can learn together, where we can destigmatize all the feelings we have behind our instagram photos, and truly connect. Connection is what truly heals us and makes life worth living.
Today, I wanted to talk about something that we don’t really ‘get’ until we enter the secret club of motherhood. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately; when I was in middle school, I had to watch a super terrible video about getting my period. Do you remember this? Then after the video, we all got these like ‘gift bags” (curse bags? LOL) full of ‘supplies’. At the time, this was the most humiliating and disgusting thing that could possibly happen in gym class. But now that I’m older, I find myself wondering…why don’t we have a video for other phases of life? Where’s my supply bag for becoming a mother, or going through menopause? Why did learning about the developmental stages and phases of my body and emotional health stop at adolescence?
Doctor, mother, and author Alexandra Sacks has a book coming out soon, and recently did a TED Talk on this very topic, which she terms “Matrescence”. Matrescence is literally the transition into motherhood-not just the physical side, but also the emotional changes we go through. All of these concepts remain often unaddressed by both our popular culture and our physicians. But let the truth be told: You are the not the same woman you were before gave birth. For a while, especially in those early weeks of newborn haze, we may lose ourselves…and feel alone, scared, overwhelmed, and also some joy. But then…sometimes as soon as six weeks later, we are expected to rejoin the old life from before giving birth. Right back to it. As if nothing has happened.
Except SO MUCH has happened. Our body needs different things, and we expect that-pumping, and the like. But our minds and our emotions…those needs are different too. I want to start conversations about matrescence because I want them to become the norm. While hearing this can normalize some of the feelings we have postpartum, this should not discourage women from seeking help and more support! The postpartum time can be extremely difficult and meeting with a trained professional can ease things, and address “beyond the typical adjustment” issues of postpartum depression and anxiety (which, by the way, is extremely common as well-1 in 7 moms, and 1 in 10 dads!). If you or a friend needs more support around this transition to motherhood, I highly suggest the MA branch of Postpartum Support International. PSI of MA offers statewide resources and a ‘warmline’ that moms can call for resources and support. Talking about these issues leads to more connection among us-if you’re feeling this way, chances are, another mom you know is too.
If you have any topics you’d like me to cover, I’d love to hear from you, and I’ll do the best I can to help out.
Until next time, be good to yourself and to all moms everywhere,
Jessica Foley, MA, LMHC, LPCC is a therapist for women in Waltham and Boston, MA. She exclusively treats women in her practice and focuses on postpartum and perinatal wellness, in addition to helping women heal their relationship with food and their bodies. She has trained with author and clinician Karen Kleiman from the Postpartum Stress Center, LLC in PA, and holds a certificate from Postpartum Support International. Jessica is also part of “Mindful Eating Moms” with Corinne Crossley, LMHC. “Mindful Eating Moms” is a book, blog, and podcast that helps moms employ intuitive and mindful eating in their everyday lives. She is the past president of the MA Mental Health Counselors Association, and is licensed in MA, CA, and AZ, where she practices in person and online. Jessica loves yoga, going to Disneyworld with her husband, jumbo cupcakes from Party Favors, her dog and cat, and Netflixing on the couch under a weighted blanket. Jessica can be found on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and her website.