• To Have and to Hold

  • Motherhood, Marriage, and the Modern Dilemma
  • By: Molly Millwood
  • Narrated by: Molly Millwood
  • Length: 9 hrs and 1 min
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (234 ratings)

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Publisher's 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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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!

3 people found this helpful

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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!

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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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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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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.

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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!

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A MUST for new parents!

The message in this book is so essential. It is so honest. It’s helped me understand myself so much better during the transition to motherhood and it has helped strengthen my marriage. I would recommend this to any new parent for sure.

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Essential modern narrative to motherhood

A deeply emotional experience, thought provoking, realistic, and challenges the "how it should be" mindset. I listened during my pregnancy, it's helping me to process the many emotions of being an unplanned first time mom.

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must read for PPD/A

Great book for anyone with a new baby. Definitely normalizes everyday struggles of being a new mom.

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Changed my life

I know “changed my life” seems dramatic, but it’s honestly what this book did for me. It was the most validating piece of work I’ve ever encountered, and I will forever be grateful for this book. I genuinely believe all new moms should read this 💛

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  • Lucy
  • 07-23-21

Not a feel good read - but that's the point

Not a fun topic to read/listen at all because the subject matter is quite pessimistic, but this book is important for tampering unrealistic expectations of parenthood. I think new mothers could find this book to be really comforting.