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
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, along with their partners (and women anxiously awaiting to adopt) will weed through a multitude of appointments and paperwork, plan who and how to care for their baby, navigate maternity/paternity leave, research baby items and prepare their home. Even before a bump and a baby, women start sacrificing their physical, mental and emotional needs in an effort to "start 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, we became pregnant once more. Rather than feeling relieved at my rainbow baby, I was overwhelmed with thoughts about how this pregnancy might also end in loss. My first trimester was fairly "normal", but included an international move, which added its own stress. 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. These experiences were invaluable to me recognizing when I needed help.
Into by second trimester I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Then I suffered pregnancy-induced arthralgia and arthritis making it difficult to walk, sit or lie down. My due date came and went. I was hospitalized and unsuccessfully induced for five days before giving birth by cesarean, birth plan cast aside and forever memorialized by a linear "tattoo" in my lower abdomen. My baby was not latching properly, but I was discharged anyway with the reassurance that my professional experiences would be enough for me to sort things out at home. The joy having a healthy newborn was quickly overshadowed by guilt over problems breastfeeding. Then came weeks of sleeplessness, more breastfeeding and pumping issues, a dairy allergy and postpartum anxiety. With no family or friends nearby and a partner back to work full time days after discharge, I recognized I needed help. Being new to the community, I found myself on a scavenger hunt for support. On a follow-up OB appointment, I asked for medication and a referral for postpartum mental health support. The name and phone number of one therapist was written on a piece of paper for me. The experience that followed was less than therapeutic. I called my mom. She was able to travel to help care for me and my baby those first few weeks. She was the miracle I needed. Not everyone has that. I pledged that some day I would create better support services for women and families in my community. Moxie was born from that experience.
Women on the quest toward motherhood deserve better support.
Women realizing their new role as mother (or mother again) 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 mothers.
Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders don’t just happen to other people. 1-in-5 women and 1-in-7 partners will suffer their symptoms. Psychosis only affects only 1 to 2 out of 1,000 women who give birth.
Take it seriously. Often, mothering does not resemble the perfect pictures you see on social media, and to believe it should is why expecting 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 people from reaching out.
Throw out your birth plan and replace it with a pregnancy and postpartum plan. If your OB mentions taking maternity leave from your job early, look into it. Require your partner to attend your appointments as much as possible. If you have the resources to engage a doula, house cleaner, or mother's helper, consider it. If you haven't seen friends in a while, plan time together before baby. If your friend wants to stock the freezer for you, yay. If a family member offers to watch 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, accept. If someone wants to pay for a night nurse, doula, or a few hours of babysitting, get out of the way. 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... demand 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? Reconsidering your decision to adopt? Difficulty concentrating? Mad at the world? Frustrated that nobody "gets it"? Breastfeeding problems got you down? Annoyed that motherhood isn't as great as everyone says? Wondering why you have the "difficult" baby? Overwhelmed every time you hear crying? Crying a lot yourself? Unable to sleep? Don't like your postpartum body? You are one of thousands of women (and men) who deal 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, adoption, 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. I have the credentials and clinical experience. 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
Gottman Method Couples Therapy
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