Becoming a mother is full of joy, but it can also be full of frustration, anger, boredom, and anxiety. Talk to someone who has been there, and who is also a professional philosopher. I will help you sort out the confusion around motherhood, so that you can create an identity as a mother that feels integrated, powerful, and whole.

Moms groups are great, but they are usually devoted to sharing advice on how to get your baby to sleep or when to start solid foods. When I became a mother, I wanted someone who could understand me not just as a caretaker, but as an intellectual person, as well as a physical and emotional one. I wanted someone who would help me integrate my old, pre-baby self with the new mother self. I wanted someone who would help me think through this massive life change.

We're so often expected to say that motherhood is wonderful, natural, and easy. But the truth is that it can be a mess. I don't shy away from the more difficult realities of motherhood, and if you've felt any of the following, I can help:

  • Grieving a pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding that didn't go how you had hoped or planned

  • Missing your pre-child life and sense of self

  • Feelings of failing at being a "good mother"

  • Confused about conflicting parenting advice

  • Guilt about returning to work, or about staying home

  • Feeling like your work as mother is not taken seriously

  • Loss of connection and intimacy with your partner

  • Feeling uncomfortable in your post-baby body

  • Trying to understand yourself as both a mother and sexual being

  • Growing apart from friends who don't have kids

  • A shifting relationship with your own mother

  • Trying to understand what it means to create a human

  • Regrets or doubts about having children

Whether you have a two-month-old or a twelve-year-old (and five other kids), I will treat you like the fully intellectual, spiritual, emotional, and physical human that you are, so that you can feel like a more centered and confident mother. Let's get started.

Take a Course: The Meaning of Motherhood

Learn about my course, The Meaning of Motherhood: What Does it Mean to Make a Person? which I teach at the Portland Underground Graduate School Portland, OR. The next course is scheduled for May 6th-27th, 2019.

This is the course for moms who aren’t sure what they think about babies.

The Meaning of Motherhood course gives the mind-bending experience of creating a person the open, curious, honest reflection that it deserves.

“Finally, a safe space to have an honest, open and enlightening discussion about the true meaning of motherhood. This course is perfect for those struggling to make sense of the identity shift that takes place when a woman has a baby, and for those that are thinking about starting a family.”
— - Laura, Meaning of Motherhood alumn

Class Schedule

Week 1: The Birth of the Mother

The transition to motherhood is perhaps one of the biggest changes in a life, full of overwhelming and confusing emotions, huge physical changes, and profound mental shifts, but often doesn’t get the kind of recognition it deserves. In week 1, we’ll discuss the identity of motherhood and what it means to develop this new identity. What is lost, what is gained, and what does it mean to be a mother?

Week 2: Good Mom/Bad Mom

There are so many responsibilities, expectations, and judgments around what it means to be a mother. In week 2, we’ll explore, and challenge, some of the personal and cultural messages that we carry around that inform our judgments about what a good or bad mom is, and how these messages can impact the self-image and well-being of mothers.

Week 3: A New Consciousness

How do you wrap your head around making a person? How do you relate to a child with whom you are so intimately connected, but who has a distinct and unique experience with independent thoughts, desires, fears, and hopes. In week 3, we’ll explore how this creation of life can raise a deep sense of vulnerability, anxiety, and confusion about the meaning of mortality and human existence.

Week 4: The Village

It takes a village to raise a child, as they say. In week 4, we’ll explore the institutional and social supports, or lack thereof, in the form of family/maternity leave, child care, and norms around visitation, care, and community of motherhood. We’ll discuss ways that we may better support mothers, both at interpersonal and societal levels.

I took The Meaning of Motherhood as a person who is not a mother, hoping to explore the possibility of motherhood and what that might look like for me personally, while also studying the profound and complex subject of motherhood as a philosophical topic of interest. Class discussions were extremely thought-provoking, and we were encouraged to deeply and honestly engage with ideas around motherhood. I appreciated having a judgment-free space to ask my questions and share my hopes and fears about this mind-bending topic, and I came away with a lot of valuable insight, resources, and connections. I would highly recommend this class to all mothers and potential future mothers, as well as their support systems.
— Molly, Meaning of Motherhood alumn

My Motherhood Story


Before my daughter was born, I was a young professional, with a Ph.D. in philosophy and a wonderful teaching career, living in New York City. I was in control of my life. I ate well, did yoga, meditated, went out with friends. But as we were about to start a family, my partner and I wanted a more relaxed pace and lifestyle, so we moved to Portland, OR when I was five months pregnant. We were excited about starting our new life.

I wanted an intervention-free "natural" childbirth. I imagined soaking in a tub and squatting, pushing my child out in a euphoric hormonal connection with the primal goddess within. Instead, I ended up with a birth that involved nearly every medical intervention available. I felt angry and disappointed, and I had to grieve the loss of my ideal image of childbirth. I've published more of that story in a piece called "No Birth Plan Ever Survives Contact with the Enemy".

This is a picture I drew during an Art Therapy session while recovering from postpartum psychosis.  Read or listen to my story here.

This is a picture I drew during an Art Therapy session while recovering from postpartum psychosis. Read or listen to my story here.

From there, things got worse. The first two months with the new baby were a blur of sleeplessness and exhaustion, but I was doing ok, or so I thought. But when my daughter was about two and a half months old, I started down a cycle of insomnia and anxiety that was so severe that I started having panic attacks, delusional thoughts, and I could no longer tell what was real and what wasn't. I was hospitalized in a mental health facility for four days with postpartum psychosis. I've published more of that story in my piece "White Noise." You can also watch a video of me reading that piece.

With lots of therapy, support from loved ones, medication, and time, I was able to start feeling like myself again. Or rather, like a new version of myself--a better one, who understood my life and my mind in a whole new way, who had gone through darkness and come out on the other side. I felt whole again.

Since then, I have talked to so many mothers all over the country about their experience of motherhoodand how it isn't everything they had expected or hoped it would be. Too many of these women feel shame, guilt, and loneliness about these experiences, as if they are not living up to the ideal of motherhood, and they suffer quietly. Every journey of motherhood is unique, and as I go through mine, I want to be a support, a safe space, a listening ear, and a fellow traveler. I would be honored if you share your journey with me.