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Motherhood Sessions
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Motherhood Sessions

Author: Gimlet

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Being a mom is hard—everybody knows that. But usually we only hear about sleepless nights and diaper changes, not the profound identity shift that accompanies becoming a mother. Motherhood is a psychological big bang. And yet it’s rare to find emotionally honest conversations about it. On Gimlet Media’s Motherhood Sessions, Dr. Alexandra Sacks, a renowned reproductive psychiatrist, sits down with mothers and lets us listen in on conversations that are hard to have outside of a therapist’s office. Each episode features a woman struggling with some problem or question—from career uncertainty to sex to ambivalence about even being a mother—and she and Dr. Sacks work it through together.

22 Episodes
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Blurred Lines

Blurred Lines

2020-03-1927:324

[Season Finale] Two years ago, Penelope had a baby on her own. To save money and to create a stable environment for her child, she decided to move back in with her mother Rosa. But living together under the same roof has become increasingly challenging. Penelope appreciates her mom's support, but at the same time she's trying to find a way to assert her own independence and establish boundaries. CREDITS Motherhood Sessions is a production of Gimlet and Spotify. It’s produced by Kimmie Regler and Peter Bresnan. Our editors are Devon Taylor and Nazanin Rafsanjani. Music and mixing by Emma Munger. This podcast should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment. If you or someone you know is experiencing depression or anxiety during pregnancy, or in the postpartum period, contact Postpartum Support International at (800) 944-4773. If you or a family member are worried about safety, get help right away by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or dialing 911.
Miranda works at one of the top consulting firms in the country. She also has three young kids. After years of trying to balance the needs of her career with the needs of her family, Miranda is finally at a breaking point. She is physically and mentally exhausted, and worried about what will happen to her kids if she continues to prioritize her career. CREDITS Motherhood Sessions is a production of Gimlet and Spotify. It’s produced by Peter Bresnan and Kimmie Regler. Our editors are Devon Taylor and Nazanin Rafsanjani. Music and mixing by Emma Munger. This podcast should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment. If you or someone you know is experiencing depression or anxiety during pregnancy, or in the postpartum period, contact Postpartum Support International at (800) 944-4773. If you or a family member are worried about safety, get help right away by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or dialing 911.
Dr. Sacks introduces one of her favorite podcasts: Love Letters, hosted by the Boston Globe's Meredith Goldstein.
Alternate Universes

Alternate Universes

2020-02-2714:542

Last year we met Julia, a woman who was adopted from South Korea when she was just a few weeks old. She was raised by white parents who never encouraged her to explore her roots. However, after having her own children—the first biological relatives she’d ever seen—Julia began an active search to find her birth mother. Dr. Sacks spoke with Julia about this experience in a previous episode (“Rethinking Your Roots After Motherhood”). Then, over the summer, Julia told us that she'd actually booked a trip to Seoul so that she could meet her birth mom in person. In this special update episode, Julia takes us inside this journey back to where she was born, to reunite with the woman who gave her up more than 30 years ago. CREDITS Motherhood Sessions is a production of Gimlet and Spotify. It’s produced by Peter Bresnan and Kimmie Regler. Our editors are Devon Taylor and Nazanin Rafsanjani. Music and mixing by Emma Munger. This podcast should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment. If you or someone you know is experiencing depression or anxiety during pregnancy, or in the postpartum period, contact Postpartum Support International at (800) 944-4773. If you or a family member are worried about safety, get help right away by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or dialing 911.
When Regina and her husband decided to start a family, she took care to prepare him to be the father of a child of color. But when her daughter was born with blonde hair and light skin, Regina was caught completely off guard. Now, Regina is trying to help her daughter navigate increasingly complicated questions of race and identity, but is struggling to connect with her daughter's radically different experience of Blackness. CREDITS Motherhood Sessions is a production of Gimlet and Spotify. It’s produced by Kimmie Regler and Peter Bresnan. Our editors are Devon Taylor and Nazanin Rafsanjani. Music and mixing by Emma Munger. This podcast should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment. If you or someone you know is experiencing depression or anxiety during pregnancy, or in the postpartum period, contact Postpartum Support International at (800) 944-4773. If you or a family member are worried about safety, get help right away by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or dialing 911.
Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome

2020-02-1326:233

Harper met her second husband through a Facebook group called “Young, Widowed, and Dating.” The two connected through their shared grief—she’d lost her first husband in a car accident, and he’d lost his first wife to brain cancer. Now Harper is helping to raise her new husband’s five year-old daughter, and is struggling with the sense that she is an imposter in this family. Harper is afraid that she will always be overshadowed by the memory of the woman who died, and worries that her daughter will never see her as a real mom. CREDITS Motherhood Sessions is a production of Gimlet and Spotify. It’s produced by Kimmie Regler and Peter Bresnan. Our editors are Devon Taylor and Nazanin Rafsanjani. Music and mixing by Emma Munger. This podcast should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment. If you or someone you know is experiencing depression or anxiety during pregnancy, or in the postpartum period, contact Postpartum Support International at (800) 944-4773. If you or a family member are worried about safety, get help right away by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or dialing 911.
Two Years Without Sex

Two Years Without Sex

2020-02-0623:124

Cassie and Ray haven't had sex since the birth of their son, who's now two years-old. But becoming new parents has thrown their sex life into a brand new kind of turmoil. Now, they're trying to find their way back to one another—and to seeing themselves as individual sexual beings rather than just Mom and Dad. CREDITS Motherhood Sessions is a production of Gimlet and Spotify. It’s produced by Peter Bresnan and Kimmie Regler. Our editors are Devon Taylor and Nazanin Rafsanjani. Music and mixing by Emma Munger. This podcast should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment. If you or someone you know is experiencing depression or anxiety during pregnancy, or in the postpartum period, contact Postpartum Support International at (800) 944-4773. If you or a family member are worried about safety, get help right away by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or dialing 911.
Just Sh*t Luck

Just Sh*t Luck

2020-01-2330:255

When Audrey was pregnant for the first time, she asked a doctor about genetic testing; he told her it wasn’t necessary. But after giving birth to her second son, she learned that she’d passed a rare genetic disease down to both her children. Now, she’s wracked with intense feelings of guilt, and trying to figure out how to be the best mother she can be for two kids with special needs. Show transcript: http://bit.ly/383unwO CREDITS Motherhood Sessions is a production of Gimlet and Spotify. It’s produced by Peter Bresnan and Kimmie Regler. Our editors are Devon Taylor and Nazanin Rafsanjani. Music and mixing by Emma Munger. This podcast should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment. If you or someone you know is experiencing depression or anxiety during pregnancy, or in the postpartum period, contact Postpartum Support International at (800) 944-4773. If you or a family member are worried about safety, get help right away by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or dialing 911.
I Don't Trust His Ex

I Don't Trust His Ex

2020-01-1633:193

When Tom and Sandra got married, they both came with complicated personal histories. Tom brought three kids and a contentious relationship with his ex-wife. Sandra brought long-simmering feelings about her own parents’ messy divorce. Now, they are trying to navigate their complex dynamics of this new family, and trying to make sure their children are protected from the tension and conflict. Show transcript: http://bit.ly/35NPK3N CREDITS Motherhood Sessions is a production of Gimlet and Spotify. It’s produced by Peter Bresnan. Our editors are Devon Taylor and Nazanin Rafsanjani. Music and mixing by Emma Munger. This podcast should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment. If you or someone you know is experiencing depression or anxiety during pregnancy, or in the postpartum period, contact Postpartum Support International at (800) 944-4773. If you or a family member are worried about safety, get help right away by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or dialing 911.
Dee grew up in a low-income neighborhood in Kenya, where her family struggled to make ends meet. After racial violence flared up in her hometown, she came to the U.S. seeking asylum. Now she lives in a middle-class suburb of D.C. with her husband and her two year-old girl. But she’s unsure of how to raise a daughter in an environment so different from the one she grew up in. She’s worried that her daughter will become spoiled, and won’t learn the values Dee herself learned during her difficult upbringing—generosity, compassion, and gratitude. Show transcript: http://bit.ly/2NozrUH CREDITS Motherhood Sessions is a production of Gimlet and Spotify. It’s produced by Peter Bresnan. Our editors are Devon Taylor and Nazanin Rafsanjani. Music and mixing by Emma Munger. This podcast should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment. If you or someone you know is experiencing depression or anxiety during pregnancy, or in the postpartum period, contact Postpartum Support International at (800) 944-4773. If you or a family member are worried about safety, get help right away by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or dialing 911.
When Joni was 40 years old, she was financially independent, enjoying her life as a single woman, and feeling strong enough to have a baby on her own. But now that her daughter is seven months old, Joni is struggling with intense loneliness. She feels like a failure, and is surprised and embarrassed by her longing for a partner. CREDITS Motherhood Sessions is a production of Gimlet Media. It’s produced by Peter Bresnan. Our editors are Devon Taylor and Nazanin Rafsanjani. Mixing and music by Emma Munger. If you or someone you know is experiencing depression or anxiety during pregnancy, or in the postpartum period, contact Postpartum Support International at (800) 944-4773. If you or a family member are worried about safety, get help right away by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or dialing 911.
Does Biology Matter?

Does Biology Matter?

2019-06-2025:211

Mia and Laura had always imagined they would each carry one of their children. Laura delivered their first child, but as they approach planning for their second child, Mia—who presents as masculine-of-center—is afraid of how pregnancy will disrupt her body and her sense of self. She wonders if it even matters if she has a biological relationship to her child. CREDITS Motherhood Sessions is a production of Gimlet Media. It’s produced by Peter Bresnan. Our editors are Devon Taylor and Nazanin Rafsanjani. Mixing and music by Emma Munger. If you or someone you know is experiencing depression or anxiety during pregnancy, or in the postpartum period, contact Postpartum Support International at (800) 944-4773. If you or a family member are worried about safety, get help right away by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or dialing 911.
Camilla was a PhD student struggling with a feeling that she didn’t belong in academia. Then she got pregnant. Seven years and two children later, she’s never finished her dissertation. She’s feeling frustrated as a stay-at-home mom and angry at herself for abandoning her professional aspirations. CREDITS Motherhood Sessions is a production of Gimlet Media. It’s produced by Peter Bresnan and Molly Donahue. Our editors are Devon Taylor and Nazanin Rafsanjani. Mixing and music by Emma Munger. If you or someone you know is experiencing depression or anxiety during pregnancy, or in the postpartum period, contact Postpartum Support International at (800) 944-4773. If you or a family member are worried about safety, get help right away by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or dialing 911.
Brittany has always had a troubled relationship with her father, and the two have been estranged for years. After the birth of her daughter, he reconnected and is pushing to spend time with his grandchild. Brittany’s unsure if she should continue to maintain her distance from her father, or consider a new beginning. CREDITS Motherhood Sessions is a production of Gimlet Media. It’s produced by Peter Bresnan and Lauren Silverman. Our editors are Devon Taylor and Nazanin Rafsanjani. Mixing and music by Emma Munger. If you or someone you know is experiencing depression or anxiety during pregnancy, or in the postpartum period, contact Postpartum Support International at (800) 944-4773. If you or a family member are worried about safety, get help right away by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or dialing 911.
Margot and her wife always imagined having more than one child. But Margot’s first pregnancy was physically and emotionally exhausting, and she’s not sure she can go through it again. Now she’s afraid of disappointing her wife. CREDITS Motherhood Sessions is a production of Gimlet Media. It’s produced by Peter Bresnan, Molly Donahue, and Lauren Silverman. Our editors are Devon Taylor and Nazanin Rafsanjani. Mixing and music by Emma Munger. If you or someone you know is experiencing depression or anxiety during pregnancy, or in the postpartum period, contact Postpartum Support International at (800) 944-4773. If you or a family member are worried about safety, get help right away by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or dialing 911.
Parenting Through Trauma

Parenting Through Trauma

2019-05-1631:055

Cari gave birth to twins when she was only 23 weeks pregnant—the edge of viability for newborns. Four years later, the kids are still dealing with medical complications, and Cari and her husband Jay are struggling with residual guilt and an ongoing sense of helplessness. They wonder if parenthood will ever feel “normal.” CREDITS Motherhood Sessions is a production of Gimlet Media. It’s produced by Peter Bresnan, Molly Donahue, and Lauren Silverman. Our editors are Devon Taylor and Nazanin Rafsanjani. Mixing and music by Emma Munger. If you or someone you know is experiencing depression or anxiety during pregnancy, or in the postpartum period, contact Postpartum Support International at (800) 944-4773. If you or a family member are worried about safety, get help right away by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or dialing 911.
Julia was born in South Korea but was adopted and raised by a white family. Since giving birth to her own children—the first biological relatives she’s ever known—she’s become curious about where she came from, and is on a search to find her birth mother. CREDITS Motherhood Sessions is a production of Gimlet Media. It’s produced by Peter Bresnan, Molly Donahue, and Lauren Silverman. Our editors are Devon Taylor and Nazanin Rafsanjani. Mixing and music by Emma Munger. If you or someone you know is experiencing depression or anxiety during pregnancy, or in the postpartum period, contact Postpartum Support International at (800) 944-4773. If you or a family member are worried about safety, get help right away by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or dialing 911.
Weeks before the birth of her second daughter, Leigh is counting down the time she still has alone with her firstborn. She's feeling guilty about how the arrival of a new baby will impact her relationship with her older daughter. CREDITS Motherhood Sessions is a production of Gimlet Media. It’s produced by Peter Bresnan, Molly Donahue, and Lauren Silverman. Our editors are Devon Taylor and Nazanin Rafsanjani. Engineering and music by Emma Munger. If you or someone you know is experiencing depression or anxiety during pregnancy, or in the postpartum period, contact Postpartum Support International at (800) 944-4773. If you or a family member are worried about safety, get help right away by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or dialing 911.
Anne never wanted to be a mom. Now that she actually has a kid, she’s worried that she made a mistake. Her guilt and perfectionism is getting in the way of having a motherhood experience that might leave more room for herself. Credits Motherhood Sessions is a production of Gimlet Media. It’s produced by Lauren Silverman, Peter Bresnan, and Molly Donahue. Our editors are Devon Taylor and Nazanin Rafsanjani. Music and mixing by Emma Munger. If you or someone you know is experiencing depression or anxiety during pregnancy, or in the postpartum period, contact Postpartum Support International at (800) 944-4773. If you or a family member are worried about safety, get help right away by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or dialing 911.
Coparenting With Your Ex

Coparenting With Your Ex

2019-04-1144:0613

Zoe recently separated from the father of her two-year-old son, and now she feels stuck. She’s struggling to get past the anger she feels toward her ex and her shame about being a single mom. Credits Motherhood Sessions is a production of Gimlet Media. It’s produced by Peter Bresnan, Molly Donahue, and Lauren Silverman. Our editors are Devon Taylor and Nazanin Rafsanjani. Engineering and music by Emma Munger. Music by Emma Munger. Special thanks to: Sarah Abdurahman, Caitlin Kenny, and Jenny Wall. If you or someone you know is experiencing depression or anxiety during pregnancy, or in the postpartum period, contact Postpartum Support International at (800) 944-4773. If you or a family member are worried about safety, get help right away by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or dialing 911.
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Comments (33)

Carissa de Montgazon-Bain

I am the mother of a fair skinned black child, with light hair and green eyes. I am mixed and his father is black. We both have fair skin in our heritage. My mother is white with blue eyes and blond hair, but people do not see our heritage when they see him. Additionally, he is the fairest of 5 children; uniquely him. My husband and I have had to struggle with ignorant questions like...."but where do the green eyes come from. Neither of you has green eyes". And I am guilty of feeling panic in the first weeks, wondering, "did they give me the wrong baby" because he was so different than my others. It was a ridiculous thought in hindsight because he was with me from the moment he was born. I think he has struggled with his race....I know he has. But we have always taught him that racially, he is black and that black comes in all shades of brown. Those words have given him power to defend himself when people tell him he is not black (which they have....kids can be mean). He is confident to say.....I am black. I am just light. And although he hates that he has to defend his heritage. We have taught him to be proud it and to never let others opinion of him define him.

Oct 14th
Reply

Nina Nis

such a waist of time...not worth listening...all this crying...we all have fears and tears but to choose to put them out there just to annoy anybody else. I did not connect with one single phrase said.

Jun 7th
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V B

I wish the therapist had more empathetic responses and addressed Audrey's acute sense of loss and guilt more. I'm sure though that it was difficult to do in one session. I hope Audrey was able to connect with ongoing supportive services. Sending prayers to her and her family ❤

May 25th
Reply

Christie Densmore

I have to be honest with you. I'm white and have a biracial child. I have had far more comments from African Americans that I ever have from White people. other black children make comments to her because she is light skinned. it is so hurtful to her.

Mar 27th
Reply

OliviaLee

Love this podcast! BUT goodness gracious the woman in this episode is SO shallow. I feel bad for her kids having to deal with her.

Mar 13th
Reply

Our little Family

I feel this is me going through the same phase. I felt kind of relived thinking that i am not alone and I have to get up and face my fears.

Mar 5th
Reply

Heather Burrows

O

Feb 22nd
Reply

Heather Burrows

O

Feb 22nd
Reply

Heather Burrows

I see w as vdb

Feb 22nd
Reply

Heather Burrows

O

Feb 22nd
Reply

Heather Burrows

I see w as vd

Feb 22nd
Reply

Fia Wilborn

This woman is me. I feel everything she's saying. I had my son at 32. (I'm 37 now). I didn't want kids but my husband wanted a son. I felt that it was my wife duty to give my husband a child. After he was born, I realized I would've been great if I didn't have a child, and that motherhood wasn't for me. No one understands that sometimes you don't know that motherhood is not for you until you have a child. So, I immediately knew I didn't want anymore kids. It's hard for me to deal with all the crying/tantrums. I have so much anxiety from being a mother. I don't want to go through it again. I love my son, but I don't want to have another one.

Jan 22nd
Reply

Davara Howard

I'm so moved by this episode cause I have wanted to have this conversation with other moms.

Jan 10th
Reply

J Zaidiguez

I am so happy to have found this podcast. I am a single mom with a preteen girl. I love her but I feel lonely and unloved by her at times. Those hormonal changes are difficult on both of us! I can definitely relate to this episode.

Jan 8th
Reply

Lana Tsydenova

Thanks Anne for sharing her story.

Dec 20th
Reply

Allison Bothley

I felt this woman a lot and cried along with her. Thanks for this episode.

Jun 19th
Reply

Brittany D

This is great. I have an ex and a current husband and it’s really the same for me. But not the same relationship I have with my ex it’s my husband. Thank you for sharing your story!!

Jun 12th
Reply

Cody Buttron

I wish my wife and I could find help like this. Being a NICU parent was a crushing experience and it has caused a lot of pain and trauma that just hasn't been delt with

May 29th
Reply (3)

Shannon OC

I needed to hear this. I've had such a hard time wrapping my mind around the possibility of having a second child, and the guilt I feel in taking attention away from my son, and his time as The Baby. This session was enlightening, and raw, and very real. Anyway, I love this podcast. Thank you Leigh for sharing your vulnerability and experiences with us.

Apr 28th
Reply

Marie

Thank you for sharing this episode. I always wanted kids but I also feel the same desire to check things off like a list without failure... and it makes me feel sometimes like I'm not cut out for motherhood. you're not alone, Anne, in your being overwhelmed or guilty or missing your life before motherhood.

Apr 25th
Reply
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