Your guide to the emotions of pregnancy and early motherhood, from two of America’s top reproductive psychiatrists.
When you are pregnant, you get plenty of advice about your growing body and developing baby. Yet so much about motherhood happens in your head. What every pregnant woman really wants to know: is this normal? Is it normal for my sex drive to disappear or to go into overdrive? Is it normal to have nesting urges or an overloaded “mommy brain”? Is it normal for my parents to be acting out? Is it normal not to feel love at first sight for my baby? Is it normal to argue with my partner? For Dr. Sacks and Dr. Birndorf, the answer is yes.
In What No One Tells You, two of America’s top reproductive psychiatrists provide a road map for mothers-to-be, detailing the complicated emotions that bubble up and explaining the psychological and hormonal backstory as to why. With 30 years of combined experience counseling mothers, they show why it’s natural for “matrescence”—the birth of a mother—to be as stressful and transformative a period as adolescence. Here, finally, is the first ever practical guide to help new mothers feel less guilt and more self-esteem, less isolation and more kinship, less resentment and more intimacy, less exhaustion and more pleasure, and learn other tips to navigate the ups and downs of this exciting, demanding time.
Alexandra Sacks, MD, is a reproductive psychiatrist affiliated with the Women’s Program at the Columbia University Medical Center and a candidate at the Columbia University Psychoanalytic Center for Training and Research. A leading expert in “matrescence,” she is known for popularizing the concept in her TED talk with over one million views worldwide, and in her New York Times article “The Birth of a Mother,” the number one most read piece of 2017 for the “Well Family” section, where she is a regular contributor. Dr. Sacks was a scholar at the DeWitt Wallace Institute for the History of Psychiatry and serves on the American Psychoanalytic Association advisory board for media education. Her work on matrescence and “mommy brain” has been featured in TIME, NPR, TheWashington Post, and The Boston Globe. Dr. Sacks is developing a podcast with Gimlet Media. She is the author, with Catherine Birndorf, of What No One Tells You. Learn more @AlexandraSacksMD and AlexandraSacksMD.com.
Catherine Birndorf, MD, is Co-founder and Medical Director of The Motherhood Center, a treatment center in New York City for pregnant and new moms experiencing anxiety and depression. Dr. Birndorf is Founding Director of the Payne Whitney Women's Program at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell Medical Center, where she is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Obstetrics & Gynecology. Dr. Birndorf is a board member of Postpartum Support International, a non-profit organization for awareness, prevention, and treatment of mental health issues related to childbearing worldwide. For ten years, Dr. Birndorf was a regular mental health columnist for Self magazine and has appeared on numerous television programs, including the The Today Show, Good Morning America, MSNBC, and CNN. Her first book, The Nine Rooms of Happiness, co-authored with Lucy Danziger, was published in 2010. She is the author, with Alexandra Sacks, of What No One Tells You.