To Have and To Hold by Molly Millwood, Ph.D. | HarperCollins | Book Review

To Have and To Hold

To Have and To Hold by Molly Millwood, Ph.D.

Book Summary:

A clinical therapist’s exploration of the complexities of early motherhood, including its impact on a marriage, in a book that offers comfort, camaraderie, and practical guidance to new mothers.

When Molly Millwood became a mother, she was fully prepared for all that she would gain: an adorable baby boy, hard-won mothering skills, and a messy, chaotic, love-filled home. But she didn’t anticipate what she would lose: an identity, a baseline level of happiness, a general sense of wellbeing. And just when she was feeling her most vulnerable, her happy marriage-long a bedrock of stability and comfort-seemed to shift in unexpected ways too, tinged by anger and resentment.

As a clinical psychologist, Molly knew her experience was a normal response to a life-changing event-she was not broken, and neither was her marriage. But without the benefit of such a perspective, many of women she saw in treatment grappled with shame, self-doubt, and fear-all the while struggling to confide in, trust, or seek comfort in their partners.

In To Have and To Hold, Molly illuminates the ways in which motherhood impacts a woman emotionally, psychologically, physically, and professionally-as well as how it impacts the stability and harmony of her relationship. Along with the arrival of a bundle of joy comes thorny issues such as identity, control, autonomy, and dependency. And these issues are, most often, experienced within the context of an intimate relationship, adding another layer of complication, conflict, and confusion to an already challenging time.

As Molly examines the inextricable link between women’s wellbeing as new mothers and the wellbeing of their relationships, she offers information and guidance to help readers reclaim their identities and repair their relationships. A blend of personal narrative, rigorous research, and stories from Molly’s clinical practice, To Have and To Hold provides a lifeline to new mothers everywhere.”

Publication Date:

March 26th, 2019

Genre:

Motherhood/Parenting

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

My Review:

To Have and To Hold by Molly Millwood

Motherhood is the hardest AND most wonderful thing I have ever done. While I am lucky to have had many conversations with the people in my personal life, never have I read something that explains the complexities of motherhood and marriage in such a profound manner until I read this book. The highs and lows of parenthood, the immense love and also the intense quest to reclaim ourselves as women and partners when our lives will never be the same are so real and valid.

To Have and to Hold spoke to me on so many levels. Millwood’s ability to write with both her voice as a professional and her voice as a mother was a perfect balance. It is relatable and real and I can’t stop thinking about it which is the sign of a 5-star book for me. ⁣If you haven’t already checked this one out I highly recommend and she was absolutely wonderful on audio.

 

Coffee Talk Wednesday | Currently…Libraries, Afterschool Popcorn & Audiobooks

Coffee Talk Tuesday:

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Checking-in:

Today it’s another edition of Coffee Talk Wednesday! How is your week going? It has been a busy one work wise and I can’t believe we only have one week left of school before April break. After that, the rest of the school year flies right by…it snowed last night so it doesn’t feel like spring here in Vermont but I know warmer weather will be here eventually…

Currently Loving…

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Our local library!! I had a great meeting this morning with Susanna at the Charlotte Library and I am excited about the project we are working on together to teach more people about the Libby App. I am talking about the Libby app in my next column for the Charlotte News and we are also planning a Libby Q&A in May.

I am so grateful to our town library for making reading so accessible for our family. We may live in a small town but the library love is strong here and so many people use it and appreciate it which makes me so happy.

It is also pretty amazing how much libraries have grown with the times to accommodate the ever-changing ways we consume content and media. Hard copy books aren’t going anywhere but the Libby app is such a wonderful way to read ebooks and listen to audiobooks, for FREE! One of the things I love about reading is that is really is accessible for almost anyone, and there are so many amazing people and resources that make this possible.

Currently eating…

There is nothing that makes me feel like more of a parent than when I prepare an afterschool snack for a group of hungry kids. I wouldn’t call myself super domestic, but I can make a mean bowl of popcorn. 😉

popcorn popper

I love our Nordicware popcorn popper and it makes it so easy! I pop this thing in our microwave and 3 minutes later we have perfect popcorn that just needs a little salt! I like making it with oil and it reminds me of the popcorn maker we had in our high school lobby…so many memories!

Currently listening to…

Molly Millwood

I am still working my way through To Have and To Hold by Molly Millwood on Audible and I am just loving it. It is so relatable and she has the perfect balance of her professional experience mixed with her own life as a parent. I am excited to share my full review soon!

Currently trying…

Green Lipstick

No this isn’t a late April fools joke…I have been trying and loving Lipstick Queen Lipstick in Frog Prince. Now before you think I have gone way out of my comfort zone, this isn’t actually a green lipstick…but it adapts according to your PH and skin tone to create the perfect rosebud pink shade!

I love tinted lip balm and lipsticks that are moisturizing and this is another one I am adding to my lipstick arsenal. Its the perfect color and I love that it feels like a balm with the perfect amount of color.


I hope you have a great rest of your Wednesday! xo

Coffee Talk | Currently Loving…Documentaries & Poke Bowls

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Coffee Talk WEDNESDAY!

Hello! Do you notice anything different around here?! I feel like I have been trying to fit a square peg into a round hole with having Coffee Talk Tuesday. Absolutely NO ONE cares what day I post this, but I work best by external motivators so having a day I do things keeps me accountable.

Do you have a day of the week that always feels more frantic than the others? Tuesday is that for me. It is a shorter school day which means everything else is crammed into fewer hours and this blog, as much as I love, doesn’t always end up being my top priority. And I love sharing what I am currently loving, so I am devoting an entirely new day to it!

I often end up starting these posts (or any posts on here) and needing to come back to finish it later. I have this fantasy of writing pre-scheduled posts but I don’t know… I could do that with reviews and but I really like the journaling in real time aspect of blogging like this. Maybe it is because I was a “blogger” 10 years ago too and that is how it was done! I miss those days, times were so simple. 😉

Do you still read a lot of blogs? I still follow a ton on “Bloglovin” which I don’t think is entirely user-friendly but I like that it lets me know when blogs I follow are updated. I miss Google Reader and I was so sad when they shut it down because I haven’t found anything that compares…it was the best!

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Alright, enough of that…on to what I am currently up to this week…


Currently Loving…

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First, I need to give a shout out to the 24/7 chat support at WordPress! As I have been working on making this blog more user-friendly, content heavy and sometimes just more pleasing to the eye, I have had A LOT of questions. They are so helpful! It’s so nice to have immediate help even at 5 in the morning…So if you have a WordPress blog and have no idea what you are doing too…check out the help section!

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I am also loving all the sunshine this week, it truly makes such a big difference. We have had winter weather here since November and although it doesn’t look like spring quite yet, just having the longer days and some sunny days is so good for your soul and your mental health!

Currently Watching…

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We have been watching the HBO documentary about Adnan Syed and it is totally making me want to listen to Serial again! It has been so long that is hard for me to remember all the details. Like a lot of people, it was the first podcast I ever listened to and it opened my eyes to a whole new world of content!

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We also watched The Inventor: Out For Blood in Silicon Valley and now I really wanted to read Bad Blood. Have you read it? I have heard such great things!

Currently eating…

Well, I am not currently eating this but we have been on a poke bowl kick from The Scale lately and oh my gosh, it is just the best lunch ever! I have mine with salmon or tuna and Kristy likes chicken. We don’t get them a lot but is a fun lunch treat and is always so filling.

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Today I had a mozzarella burrata ball, carrot sticks, and 4 thin mints, so you can’t win them all…but it was delicious!

Currently listening to…

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I love listening to non-fiction on Audible and I am so excited to start this new book that was recommended by a reading friend. After being very disappointed by Girl, Stop Apologizing (review to come soon!),I am so excited to be moving on to something I think I will connect a lot more with.

Molly Millwood is a local psychologist and I am so looking forward to her conversation in To Have and to Hold regarding motherhood and marriage…As someone who struggled immensely during the transition to parenthood, I can so relate to how the addition of a small baby can rock your world in such a life-changing way.

“A clinical therapist’s exploration of the complexities of early motherhood, including its impact on a marriage, in a book that offers comfort, camaraderie, and practical guidance to new mothers.

When Molly Millwood became a mother, she was fully prepared for all that she would gain: an adorable baby boy, hard-won mothering skills, and a messy, chaotic, love-filled home. But she didn’t anticipate what she would lose: an identity, a baseline level of happiness, a general sense of wellbeing. And just when she was feeling her most vulnerable, her happy marriage-long a bedrock of stability and comfort-seemed to shift in unexpected ways too, tinged by anger and resentment.

As a clinical psychologist, Molly knew her experience was a normal response to a life-changing event-she was not broken, and neither was her marriage. But without the benefit of such a perspective, many of women she saw in treatment grappled with shame, self-doubt, and fear-all the while struggling to confide in, trust, or seek comfort in their partners.

In To Have and To Hold, Molly illuminates the ways in which motherhood impacts a woman emotionally, psychologically, physically, and professionally as well as how it impacts the stability and harmony of her relationship. Along with the arrival of a bundle of joy comes thorny issues such as identity, control, autonomy, and dependency. And these issues are, most often, experienced within the context of an intimate relationship, adding another layer of complication, conflict, and confusion to an already challenging time.

As Molly examines the inextricable link between women’s wellbeing as new mothers and the wellbeing of their relationships, she offers information and guidance to help readers reclaim their identities and repair their relationships. A blend of personal narrative, rigorous research, and stories from Molly’s clinical practice, To Have and To Hold provides a lifeline to new mothers everywhere.”


That’s all for today! I hope you have a great rest of your Wednesday. <3

My Most Memorable Books from 2018 | Book Recommendations by Genre

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If you are looking for some amazing books to start off your year with, these were some of my very favorites from 2018. I rated all these 5 stars on Goodreads which means that not only did I love them but they stuck with me long after I was done reading. <3

Memoirs:

And Now We Have Everything by Meaghan O’Connell

Small Animals by Kim Brooks (I listened on Audible)

Becoming by Michelle Obama (I listened on Audible)

All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung ( I listened on Audible)


Fiction:

Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win by Jo Piazza

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain

You Were Always Mine by Nicole Baart

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne


Self-Help/Personal Development:

You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero

 

Call Me American: A Memoir | Audible Book Review

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From Goodreads.com:

“The incredible true story of a boy living in war-torn Somalia who escapes to America–first by way of the movies; years later, through a miraculous green card.

Abdi Nor Iftin first fell in love with America from afar. As a child, he learned English by listening to American pop artists like Michael Jackson and watching films starring action heroes like Arnold Schwarzenegger. When U.S. marines landed in Mogadishu to take on the warlords, Abdi cheered the arrival of these real Americans, who seemed as heroic as those of the movies.

Sporting American clothes and dance moves, he became known around Mogadishu as Abdi American, but when the radical Islamist group al-Shabaab rose to power in 2006, it suddenly became dangerous to celebrate Western culture. Desperate to make a living, Abdi used his language skills to post secret dispatches to NPR and the Internet, which found an audience of worldwide listeners. But as life in Somalia grew more dangerous, Abdi was left with no choice but to flee to Kenya as a refugee.

In an amazing stroke of luck, Abdi won entrance to the U.S. in the annual visa lottery, though his route to America–filled with twists and turns and a harrowing sequence of events that nearly stranded him in Nairobi–did not come easily. Parts of his story were first heard on the BBC World Service and This American Life. Now a proud resident of Maine, on the path to citizenship, Abdi Nor Iftin’s dramatic, deeply stirring memoir is truly a story for our time: a vivid reminder of why western democracies still beckon to those looking to make a better life.”


This was an amazing story. I listened to Abdi Nor Iftin’s book on Audible and it is one of the most amazing non-fiction books I have ever read. It was heartbreaking and also filled with hope, and his persistence was just so inspiring.

Call Me American is an amazing addition to the American immigrant literature genre and something I hope to read more of in 2019. Before reading this I did not know a lot about Somalia and so I learned so much not only about Iftin and his journey to America but also the modern history of Somalia. The war-torn country and his years-long journey to become an American citizen is something I will never forget.

It was such an important reminder for me about just how many people live in places like this and are fleeing their countries just for a chance at survival.

“My future was a mystery, but at least I was leaving hell forever.”

I think this should be required reading for everyone. Thank you to Abdi Iftin for sharing your incredible story.

Audible 2-for-1 Sale! | Audio Book Recommendations

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Are you a fan of audio books? I listen to at least 1-2 books a month on Audible and it has made my daily commute, computer work, and random cleaning around the house so much more enjoyable! Above are some of my suggestions that are a part of this great deal.

And if you haven’t read any Brene Brown books yet, this is your chance! The Gifts Of Imperfection and I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t) are two of my favorites and were life changing for me.  <3

Becoming by Michelle Obama | Audible Book Review

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Quoted from Goodreads.com:

An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States.

In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African-American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare. 

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. 

Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.


This past week I finished listening to Becoming by Michelle Obama. To be upfront, I was a fan of the Obama administration but this book is so much more than that and I wouldn’t call it a super political book in general. This book is about the life of someone who I(and so many others) find incredibly admirable and inspiring for so many reasons…most, not just being her political choices.

“For every door that’s been opened to me, I’ve tried to open my door to others. And here is what I have to say, finally: Let’s invite one another in. Maybe then we can begin to fear less, to make fewer wrong assumptions, to let go of the biases and stereotypes that unnecessarily divide us. Maybe we can better embrace the ways we are the same. It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about where you get yourself in the end. There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there’s grace in being willing to know and hear others. This, for me, is how we become.”
― Michelle Obama, Becoming

What I loved most about this book was Obama’s honestly about so many things, including her ambivalence about being involved in politics even through their time in the White House. Reading this book felt a lot like having a meaningful conversation about life, race, careers, marriage, parenting and being a citizen in our country. I love memoirs in general and find nothing more fascinating than learning about the experiences that have shaped someone as a person.

From Obama’s childhood on the Southside of Chicago to her time living in the White House, she finds the delicate balance of being real but also being deeply aware and insightful of both the challenges and triumphs that helped her on her path of becoming.

“Now I think it’s one of the most useless questions an adult can ask a child—What do you want to be when you grow up? As if growing up is finite. As if at some point you become something and that’s the end.” 
― Michelle Obama, Becoming

I enjoyed this book immensely and although it is on the longer side, it felt like a conversation that I mourned when it was over…which I think is a sign of a wonderful book. I highly recommend this one and especially enjoyed listening to Obama narrate it herself as not only is she a gifted writer but an amazing orator.

 

 

Small Animals: Parenthood in the Age of Fear | Book Conversation

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Quoted from Goodreads.com:

“One morning, Kim Brooks made a split-second decision to leave her four-year old son in the car while she ran into a store. What happened would consume the next several years of her life and spur her to investigate the broader role America’s culture of fear plays in parenthood. In Small Animals, Brooks asks, Of all the emotions inherent in parenting, is there any more universal or profound than fear? Why have our notions of what it means to be a good parent changed so radically? In what ways do these changes impact the lives of parents, children, and the structure of society at large? And what, in the end, does the rise of fearful parenting tell us about ourselves?”

This week I started listening to Small Animals on Audible and I am now about halfway through. This book came highly recommended from many of my peers and it has not disappointed.  Brooks is a talented writer who not only shares a memoir type style story of her own journey as a mother but also presents a well researched look at modern parenting in America. She shares about the challenges we face today as mothers ourselves and also how this affects the  relationships with have with our children and with one another.

I have found this book to be very relatable and find myself nodding frequently as I listen along. Parenting no longer feels like something we just do in the privacy of our own homes and this idea that the world is watching as we parent can sometimes feel completely debilitating. Between the worries, fears, pressures, expectations, and frequent judgments (from one another and also sometimes from ourselves) it sometimes feels like you can’t win. Brooks is a wonderful narrator and not only is this book really resonating with me but it has also given me a lot to think about in my experience as parent in today’s society.  I look forward to discussing this more when I finish.

Have you read this book? I would love to know your thoughts!

-Genevieve