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  • To Have and to Hold

  • Motherhood, Marriage, and the Modern Dilemma
  • By: Molly Millwood
  • Narrated by: Molly Millwood
  • Length: 9 hrs and 1 min
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (26 ratings)

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Summary

A clinical psychologist’s exploration of the modern dilemmas women face in the wake of new motherhood.

When Molly Millwood became a mother, she was fully prepared for what she would gain: an adorable baby boy; hard-won mothering skills; and a messy, chaotic, beautiful life. But what she did not expect was what she would lose: aspects of her identity, a baseline level of happiness, a general sense of well-being. And though she had the benefit of a supportive husband during this transition, she also at times resented the fact that the disruption to his life seemed to pale in comparison to hers. 

As a clinical psychologist, Molly knew her experience was a normal response to a life-changing event. But without the advantage of such a perspective, many of the patients she treated in her private practice grappled with self-doubt, guilt, and fear and suffered the dual pain of not only the struggle to adjust, but also the overwhelming shame for struggling at all. 

In To Have and to Hold, Molly explores the complex terrain of new motherhood, illuminating the ways it affects women psychologically, emotionally, physically, and professionally - as well as how it impacts their partnership. Along with the arrival of a bundle of joy come thorny issues such as self-worth, control, autonomy, and dependency. And for most new mothers, these issues are experienced within the context of an intimate relationship, adding another layer of tension, conflict, and confusion to an already challenging time. 

As Molly examines the inextricable link between women’s well-being as new mothers and the well-being of their relationships, she offers guidance to help listeners reclaim their identities, overcome their guilt and shame, and repair their relationships. A blend of personal narrative, scientific research, and stories from Molly’s clinical practice, To Have and to Hold provides a much-needed lifeline to new mothers everywhere.

©2019 Molly Millwood (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about To Have and to Hold

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What I needed

Saved me from my own mind... realising so many people had similar feelings despite different experiences was refreshing. I've cried a number of times through this sense of being seen as the writer has given me words for how I'm feeling has been a balm for my soul.

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A balm to my mothering soul

I loved hearing my thoughts about motherhood echoed.

It's a book full of hope.

Read it if you are struggling with the Modern dilemma.

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Every mother needs to read this

It's as if the author got inside my brain and wrote down everything I was thinking but struggled to articulate as a new mother. Enlightening, funny, sad and the most relatable book I've ever read. I've recommended it to all my female friends already! I also want Molly as my therapist;)

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Every thought you’d ever had about your life and marriage after motherhood

Recommend If you’ve been disillusioned by modern motherhood or your partnership is challenged by your children.

It’s a good reminder that the struggles are universal and not permanent.

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  • C Sandell
  • 07-03-21

Pretty good

Good at identifying how I feel as a new mother, but didn’t really help me in anyway like expected. I did appreciate validation for my feelings but wish there would’ve been some advice in there!

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-02-20

For every expecting mom, new mama, or mom with young kids!

My January read was To Have and To Hold by @molly.millwood.phd

I read this as a hard copy and listened to it as an audiobook. I ended up annotating so many parts of the book because my greatest takeaway was I WISHED I WOULD’VE READ THIS SOONER.

If you’re pregnant (first, second or third time), read this book.

If you have young kids, read this book.

If you felt/feel resentment building or displaced emotions, read this book.

If the transition to motherhood has made you question your ability, read this book.

If your marriage is rocky and you’re at your wit’s end because of parenthood, read this book.

If you’re in constant survival or crisis mode because of motherhood , read this book.

If you need to feel less lonely on this journey, read this book.

This book has helped me understand the emotions attributed to being a first time mom is SO normal. Grieving the person you were before kids is part of the process.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Felicia Dias
  • 13-06-19

A new start

As a new mom, I quickly learned the struggles of motherhood, No, it wasn't just the breastfeeding, the sleepless nights it was beyond that, it was me, my feelings and my frustrations! Finally my understanding, ability to embrace the situation and feelings and dealing with it came with this book. Listening to it helped me to feel understood and normal for the first time in a long while. It gave me tools to work through it and better enjoy motherhood. I RECOMMEND IT all the time to my friends!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 29-05-19

Mother, Grandmother, Husband. Must read. Big help.

I’m the soon to be grandmother. This book helped me heal things in my life from my past parenting.
I felt overwhelmed by all “the negative” which I now define as truths. Good example of learning the live the good and the difficult.
This book has brought to my attention how I can be more sensitive and more gentle, standing as witness next to my daughter instead of trying move her from an emotion she is expressing. I feel more prepared to support my daughter and how she feels which will better help her through the momentum of the upcoming life changes.
This book has great insights for the whole family. I encourage husbands and grandfathers to listen to this book as well. Well done Molly!

2 people found this helpful

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  • CA Guynes
  • 21-02-22

Amazing insight!

I sent this book to every new mother I know! The most insightful and impactful listen regarding relationships and the profound changes, both body and mind, that the new mother goes through. Thank you Molly!!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Michelle R.
  • 14-06-21

All parents (to be)

I wish I had found this book 6 years ago, when I became a mother. I feel like this book could and would benefit anyone that is expecting, mother and/or father.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Hayley
  • 02-10-22

Highly Recommend for New Moms

I started out reading this and then found I was more available to listen than to read. The first half of the book was especially helpful for me and there were many moments of "yes!" where feelings I had not been able to put into words were there in the book explained so well. I would recommend this to anyone planning to become pregnant or anyone who is a new parent.

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  • E F
  • 01-09-22

speaking to my SOUL

Every single word of this book I have found to be relatable at a time when I'm needing it most.

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  • RachelCO
  • 20-08-22

Validating but lacking actionable info

as a brand new mom, this was recommended to me. it was full of validating info that reflected how I'm feeling and helped me put words to and understand the rich tapestry of what I'm experiencing (aka the full catastrophe) -- but this felt very incomplete because I didn't hear anything that would actually help me navigate the stresses on myself and my marriage. it was like she was saying here are all the things that correlate to more stressful/less happy marriages, but you're on your own to avoid it or prevent it! even still it was a good read during my middle of the night pumping sessions. just go in with low expectations.

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  • K. Ruppel
  • 04-08-22

You will feel seen reading this book!

I am a psychologist with two toddlers. This is the first book I have read that really touched on all the complexities of parenting. My husband read the book and said that it was the first time he heard anyone else (besides me) talk about motherhood as a grieving and growing process. I have already listened to it twice.

Dr. Millwood’s style of writing was beautiful- one minute I was laughing and the next I was crying.

I loved it so much, I am going to buy a hard copy too!

Thank you!