Edition Number Four
Hi Everyone,

We’re deep into fall and I’m thinking about detoxing with agency. Detoxing because the holidaze are around the corner but also because we are nearing the end of what’s been a challenging and depleting year for my mind, body and spirit. I say detox with agency because if I’m going to reduce or eliminate my beloved sugar, dairy and caffeine then I need to feel empowered by the choice. I must choose to do so from my powerful, adult self rather than from my powerless, adolescent self who is submitting to someone else’s idea of what’s right for me. And the real truth is this: It is the right time to reflect upon and reduce my own “toxic load” in order to heal and change.

I sit and ask myself this: What am I consuming too much of and why? What could I release in order to make space for transformation? How can I be a healthy, conscious consumer of products, media and ideas for myself and my family? These questions also extend to my son. Am I allowing him to consume too much without agency -- too much media solely designed to monetize his attention rather than cultivate his mind? Are there toys with ideas that can empower him and is it OK if they don’t? I don’t know the answers but I do want to ask the questions.

In Edition Four you’ll find articles that may lead to more questions or provide some answers. In it you’ll find an uplifting Ted Talk about a kinder way to transition to motherhood; a positive announcement from The Wing to offer childcare; a guide to determining what makes a kids’ TV show “good;” and an older yet relevant article addressing the deplorable state of American post-partum care in what should be the most medically advanced nation in the world. Good news: It is improving, albeit at a glacial pace.

It’s also the season of giving and gratitude so I’ve included a primer on what it means to consume clean beauty, gift ideas for you, your not-so-littles and the ones they spend the majority of their time with: teachers.

Thank you, as always, for reading, thinking and sharing with me. By offering your attention you participate in a larger conversation about our collective growth and change as TBD Mamas. As always, I'd be very grateful if you shared this newsletter with a friend and follow me @tbd_mama on Instagram!


Matrescence:(n.) the great transition to motherhood. OMG, why have I never heard this word before? Have you? This short and sweet Ted Talk, presented by a relatable, reproductive psychiatrist (why did I not know this was a thing?) pulls from cultural anthropology in order to frame the conversation and name what happens to women when they become moms. It's a life stage as rapid, tremendous and frightening as “adolescence;” or what happens to a child when they transform into a young adult. Spoiler: It’s not a disease to feel bad after birthing what undoubtedly is a foreign object! There’s nothing wrong with you. Feeling ambivalent about your baby is normal. I certainly did and often still do. It’s refreshing to hear from a psychiatrist that wanting to focus on myself and preserve my own identity does not erase my desire to be a good mom. It is not only normal but, more importantly, is healthy for my entire family. If we are to understand, discuss and support each other through the transformative journey to becoming mothers, then let’s give it a name in order to constructively talk about how to proactively adapt into our new bodies, lives and communities.
We know the science is in that screens are out. So much so that some Silicon families are going Amish altogether. If you, however, live in a world more like mine then maybe you’re seeking balance as we adapt to the reality of multiple, often unsolicited screens all around us (i.e. the giant screen floating up and down the Hudson beaming ads for Jimmy Fallon into my son’s window!) This HuffPo piece offers practical criteria to think about before turning kids on to something you’d rather turn off. I appreciate the perfect “green smoothie” analogy; a child’s media mix should be blended, balanced, and kinda delicious too.
Hallelujah! Finally, someone in the giant, co-working space is making bold strides and introducing high-quality, albeit part-time childcare for members. While The Wing may not work for everyone (especially given their limited locations) it is an encouraging and forward-thinking model for other co-working companies and private clubs to think about whilst thinking about and improving the future of work for women and our families.
A garden-variety gift list for that tricky in-betweener. This includes some DIY (think knit-your-own-beanie), a little bit of high-tech (a basketball that tracks your percentages, awesome!), some old school classics (BOOKS! Hello Kitty!), and then, because these mega-brands just can not be avoided, something from the Minecraft universe and plenty of Harry Potter, if your tween still believes in magic.
I struggle to find "appropriate" gifts for my son's teachers given I know so little about their "non-teacher" selves. This round-up has some easy to please options. Even if you don’t head your classroom’s teacher appreciation committee, you can thank those special teachers in your lives with one, or two, of these sweet and simple gifts.
Come late Fall, I get into a total sweater rut and default to this ancient, black cashmere Jil Sander for Uniqlo turtleneck sweater that has lasted me a million seasons. While I may not opt for the mohair, rainbow popsicle number included in this list, I did welcome some “unbasic” sweater inspo from the ladies at Who What Wear. Because who has time to sweater stalk?
“Organic” and “All-Natural” should mean exactly that but in the unregulated skincare industry with no FDA oversight it unfortunately means bupkis. I know GOOP can skew a bit cuckoo but I like their introduction to what "clean beauty" entails; both the thorough lead up to what to look for in genuinely clean beauty, as well as a diverse list of clean brands to check out further. Because Mama don’t need to be expecting in order to expect non-toxic beauty.
But what about the mama? No one is talking about this with any regularity and that’s not OK; case in point this Slate article is from June. While this piece walks through important and encouraging new guidelines from The American Association of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (did it really take so long to recommend more than ONE post-partum visit?) these are guidelines only. Who knows how long it will take to implement or federally mandate any of their basic recommendations?

While the systemic message continues to be, “new mom, go fend for yourself,” there are companies committed to positive, high-quality post-partum care for the mamas. They are not, however, cheap or covered by insurers. So while it's nice that the AAOG has finally outlined saner post-partum measures we still have a long way to go toward providing meaningful support for women experiencing their own “fourth trimesters;” the ones who actually make and bake the babies.

  • "The baby is the candy. The Mom is the wrapper." - Alison Stuebe, Associate Professor at University of North Carolina School of Medicine