cover image To Have and to Hold: Motherhood, Marriage, and the Modern Dilemma

To Have and to Hold: Motherhood, Marriage, and the Modern Dilemma

Molly Millwood. Harper Wave, $26.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-283865-0

Millwood brings her experience as a clinical psychologist and mother to a compassionate book that affirms that emotional difficulties for new mothers are not anomalous but universal and can extend well past the immediate postpartum period, with profound effects on their relationships with their spouses. Millwood draws deeply on attachment theory, not only with regards to parents and children but to couples (the book focuses exclusively on heterosexual relationships, as the author notes at the start), considering how women who fail to find a sense of security and safety from their partners can feel undermined, similar to the way children struggle when they don’t firmly attach to their parents. Despite Millwood’s supportive tone, she still puts most of the onus on women, suggesting that they improve their social networks, let dads take on childcare chores even when they are bad at them, and remain open to criticism from their husbands. Despite this potential hurdle for some readers, Millwood performs a helpful task in giving mothers permission to acknowledge motherhood’s darker side, and in offering them help with their marriages as well as their parenting. (Apr.)