Moxie Motherhood is focused on supporting the strongest version of you through the motherhood journey. I help with this through counseling, life coaching and support groups. I also teach classes on a number of relevant topics that strengthen your relationships to withstand the emotional challenges presented by infertility and pregnancy through parenting. My educational background is in the fields of psychology and clinical social work. My professional experiences have been in hospitals and clinics, the U.S. Military, nonprofits and private practice.
"Prioritizing our maternal mental health before and after baby needs to become the norm — not the exception." -Jen Schwartz
Did you know?
Women are becoming mothers later in life. In 2014, only 39% of women in their early 40s had become mothers by age 24.
About 10 percent of women (6.1 million) in the United States ages 15-44 have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant.
1-in-4 pregnancies will end in miscarriage, often within the first trimester.
1-in-5 pregnant women suffer from a maternal mental health issue (depression, anxiety, etc). 1-in-10 fathers suffer symptoms of postpartum depression and anxiety.
In the U.S., there are nearly 7 infant deaths during the first year of life per 1000 live births.
In 2016, moms spent around 25 hours a week on paid work. At the same time, they spent 14 hours a week on child care. BTW-Dads, too, are spending more time on child care.
In addition to caring for their children, 12% of parents are also caring for an adult.
More than 70% of moms with kids younger than 18 were in the labor force in 2015. In fact, mothers are the primary breadwinners in 4-out-of-10 U.S. families. In 46% of households with a mother and father, both parents are employed full time.
24% of mothers are raising their children on their own, equating to about 9 million mothers in the U.S.
77% of adults say women face a lot of pressure to be an involved parent. In contrast, 76% say men face a lot of pressure to support their family financially.
Women trying to conceive and those who are pregnant will likely spend most of their time managing nausea, fatigue, swelling, moodiness and other discomforts. Their diets and schedules will change. They will anxiously await a multitude of appointments, plan how to care for their baby (and who will help if they return to a career), research baby items and prepare a nursery. They will hope that each OB visit brings them closer to their dreams of motherhood. Even before a bump and a baby, women start sacrificing their physical, mental and emotional needs in an effort to "grow a family".
I was among the ranks of women who was conflicted over whether motherhood fit in my life, dreading the thought of nine months of unknown physical and psychological consequences, fearful that I would not be able to become pregnant "at my age" and that even if I became pregnant, I was at higher risk for complications. Still, we rolled the dice and were fortunate to see the "+" sign. We were excited, nervous and planning our next chapter. Then, we lost the heartbeat and the hope that it symbolized. We questioned what it meant for us going forward.
Having taken a significant respite to grieve the loss of this pregnancy, we decided to try again. Several months later, I became pregnant once more. Rather than feeling relieved at my rainbow baby, I was overwhelmed with thoughts about how this pregnancy might "end". As a mental health provider, I had supported numerous women on their motherhood journey, and not just through 40 weeks of readiness, but also through infertility, pregnancy loss and postpartum complications such as depression and anxiety. Still, I was less than prepared when postpartum anxiety hit me even before the delivery room.
The second half of my pregnancy had been difficult due to joint pain that made it difficult to walk, sit or lie down. My due date came and went and I was subsequently induced for five days. My birth had not gone as planned, evident by a large incision in my lower abdomen. My baby was not latching properly, but I was discharged with the reassurance from my doctor that my previous professional experiences would be enough for me to sort things out at home. Instead, the joy of seeing my newborn was quickly overshadowed by guilt that I "couldn't even feed him". Then came weeks of sleeplessness, more breastfeeding and pumping issues, a dairy allergy and purging of a freezer full of milk. With no family or friends nearby and a partner back to work full time, I recognized I needed help. Being new to the community forced me on a scavenger hunt for support. On a follow-up OB appointment, I asked for an evaluation for postpartum anxiety, medication and a referral to a counselor. The name and phone number of one therapist was written on a piece of paper for me. That therapy experience was unhelpful. I pledged that some day I would create better support services for women and families in my community. Then I called my mom. Thank goodness she was able to travel across state lines to help care for me and my baby those first months. She was the miracle I needed. Not everyone has that. Women on the quest toward motherhood deserve better support. Women realizing their new role as mother deserve better support.
Here’s what I wish was provided as part of every conversation from the moment women begin to discuss the possibility of becoming pregnant.
Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders don’t just happen to other people. It didn't matter that I was a "subject expert". It didn't matter that I had years of experience counseling women. It didn't matter that I was excited to be a mom, married to a supportive partner and financially secure. Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders don't care, and I probably suffered more because I thought I was immune.
Take it seriously. While depression doesn’t mean you're going crazy, it occurs in as many as 1 in 5 moms and 1 in 7 dads. (Psychosis only affects only 1 to 2 out of 1,000 women who give birth). Mothering is the hardest job you will ever love. It does not resemble the perfect pictures you see on social media, and to believe it should is why pregnant and new moms often suffer in silence. Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders are real illnesses that need professional treatment. They often require counseling, peer support and even medication, all of which carry a stigma in our society that often inhibits women and men from reaching out.
Throw out your birth plan and replace it with a pregnancy and postpartum plan. You don’t have to face pregnancy or motherhood alone and you don’t have to feel guilty asking for what you need. You need a village of peers who "get it". If your OB mentions taking maternity leave from your job early, look into it. If your partner offers to attend your appointments with you, embrace it. If you have the resources to engage a professional or volunteer to clean you home, seize the moment. If you haven't seen your best friend in a while, consider a girls' trip- even a day away. If your MIL wants to stock the freezer for you, be grateful. If a family member or friend offers to bathe and rock the baby so you can sleep, say yes. If your neighbor offers to come over to help with the laundry and dishes, let them. If a coworker offers to set up a meal train or walk the dog, invite them in. If your parents or employer want to pay for a night nurse, postpartum doula, or a few hours of babysitting, accept their offer. If you are experiencing baby blues beyond the first two weeks, sleeplessness or intrusive thoughts, tell someone you trust and your OB and get yourself to a therapist... the right therapist.
There is nothing "wrong" with you. Missing that pregnancy glow? Unable to sleep due to worries this IVF won't take? Panicking between ultrasounds? Desperate to hear a heartbeat? Having trouble leaving the house? Don't want to get out of bed? Feeling guilty for not wanting a baby shower? Difficulty concentrating? Mad at the world? Frustrated that nobody "gets it"? Breastfeeding problems got you down? Annoyed that everyone lied when they said motherhood was so great? Wondering why you have the "difficult" baby? Overwhelmed by nervousness every time you leave the nursery, leave baby with another carer, hear crying? Unable to sleep? Don't like your postpartum body? You are one of thousands of women (and men) who were dealing with thoughts like these. Still feel too ashamed to get help?
The journey to and through motherhood will test you in ways nothing else can. You’re allowed to struggle. You’re allowed to fall apart. You’re allowed to feel like quitting. Don’t keep your struggles with infertility, pregnancy, loss and motherhood to yourself. Find your people — the ones who always keep it real, but never judge. They’re the ones who will support and accept you no matter what.
If I can be one of your people, let me know. One of the gifts of my loss, pregnancy and postpartum experiences is greater empathy and a passion for helping other women and their partners. Please find the counseling tab to learn more about my services. Additionally, check out my passion project, MomSquad Napa Valley.
Motherhood brings you to your knees in a way that doesn't leave room for you to judge others. It makes you see that there's no ideal - a constant struggle, constantly compromising, but ultimate love. -Maggie Gyllenhaal
Jennifer Hampton, LCSW
Force of character; determination; nerve; vigor; verve; pep; courage; resolve; spunk; tenacity; skill; know-how. The ability to face difficulty with spirit and courage.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker, License No. LCSW 82213
(Texas License No. 35678)
Master of Science in Social Work, University of Texas at Austin
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, University of Texas at Austin
Associate of Arts Degree in Spanish, Monterey Defense Language Institute
Your Beyond Coaching, Course Completion
Group Coaching Expands the Independent Practice, Course Completion
Premarital Interpersonal Choices and Knowledge, Instructor Certification
Lasting Intimacy through Nurturing Knowledge and Skills, Instructor Certification
Love and Logic Parenting, Instructor Certification
123 Magic Parenting, Curriculum Instruction
Common Sense Parenting, Curriculum Instruction
Postpartum Support International Maternal Mental Health Certificate Training for Mental Health and Clinical Professionals
2020Mom Ambassador (2019)
Napa Moms, Co-Director of MomSquad Napa Valley
National Association of Social Workers Member