Empty Nest: The Continuing Story of Anna: Book Four

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You may also have a period of getting to know each other again. In some cases, when couples have more time to focus on their relationship, it becomes stronger — in some cases, they realize that their relationship has run its course and it is in their best interest to separate.

After the last kid leaves the house, there will be a period of transition as the family finds a new normal. Ask yourself, 'How can I take good care of you emotionally? What would bring you a greater sense of meaning or joy? Whom do you want to spend time with? Remember, your attention has often been focused outside yourself, on your child or children, for almost two decades, maybe more! It's also hard to resist the urge to cling to your role as caregiver. They might also focus their anxiety on their children.

They may wonder if their child is eating, sleeping, and caring for themselves. Sarkis adds.

Empty Nesters

This should start well before the kids leave the house, ideally throughout the duration of child-rearing. Often times, the 'Syndrome' is exacerbated by feelings of guilt that we didn't spend enough time with our children when they were younger so we want those years back. Make multiple trips to the microwave a thing of the past with a app-controlled smart mug that'll keep your coffee or tea at the exact temperature you prefer for up to an hour.

Our new favorite flannel boasts an easy-to-wear drapey fit and a flattering curved shirttail hem. Stay warm while looking cool in this iconic jean jacket, featuring teddy bear-soft fleece lining and a trendy oversized fit. Practical and stylish, this cozy scarf adds a pop of color—well, colors —to any winter ensemble.

This digital picture frame is perfect for mamas who stay up late scrolling through their phone's photo album to glimpse their kiddos being adorable. By sending them to this smart frame to view throughout the day, you can get a few extra minutes of sleep at night! Busy mamas will appreciate that this supersoft, super versatile Merino wool sweater is machine washable.

This article was sponsored by GAP. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and Mamas. It has been edited for clarity and length. Thank you, Blessing and Mother Honestly for this great honor to be among so many inspiring women today.

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The feeling is electric—do you feel it? What's happening here today is an example of women lifting women and is exactly how we change the world. I'm excited for all we are going to experience together today—whether you are an entrepreneur, a SAHM, or a working mom, there is something here for you, from inspiring fireside chats to headshots and a great marketplace, and many other resources to inspire and support you. We are living in an important and exciting! It's time we take motherhood seriously—it's time we take ourselves as mothers seriously and demand change, moving what has been treated as niche issues into the mainstream.

Because the reality is, motherhood is one of the most universal experiences that we as human beings share. At Motherly, we believe that mothers deserve way more support—and way less judgment. Each month, 30 million women read or watch Motherly content—and we hear their voices loud and clear. Speaking on behalf of this generation, we are leading the conversation demanding change. Because the truth is, American mothers are carrying heavy burdens. The burden is so heavy, and so many other women are carrying it too, that we can start to assume it's normal.

That this is what it's supposed to be like.

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And that everyone else is carrying it well—that it's just you that is struggling. Mama, it's not just you. Motherhood shouldn't be this hard. It is society that is failing, not you. We live in a culture that gives lip service to the importance of family, but sees investment in women and children as an 'entitlement' too far.

We operate in a business climate that prizes consumption and profitability above all, and leaves families, and especially women, behind in its wake.

We're citizens in a country where 'women's issues' are seen as side-issues, rather than foundational functions of our society. Motherhood is way harder than it should be because for too long, our stories have been pushed to the sidelines. Despite all of this, I am incredibly optimistic. We are living in an era of major consciousness-raising, where women no longer fight one another in some kind of 'mommy war,' and instead are looking around us at the root causes of this profound unfairness. And from where I sit, these are major signs of progress for women, mothers, and society at large.

It's not a secret that American motherhood is incredibly burdensome. Even before they have children, women sense a lack of support that makes motherhood overwhelming—it's this anxiety that sells books like "Lean In" and fuels a never-ending debate over whether women can ever "have it all. About one-third of moms said that their mental and physical health is suffering. Society is asking you to nurture in an environment that does not nurture you back. So, let me pause here so you can truly hear me: You are not imagining your burnout.

And your burnout is not your fault.

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Discrimination against women, and women of color in particular, has led to an appalling maternal health crisis—where women's voices are not heard and women's needs are not met. American mothers die in childbirth at a higher rate than in any other country in the developed world —and the mortality rates actually getting worse, not better. According to research in the New York Times , "Black women are three to four times as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes as their white counterparts," with racism playing a direct role.

In the United States, in , sexism and racism interplay in a dangerous mix that puts all new mothers at risk. One in four new mothers return to work out of economic necessity within two weeks of giving birth. Recent statistics from the U. The United States remains the only country in the developed world that does not guarantee paid family leave upon the birth of a baby. For all our talk about being family-focused, we refuse to act on it. Case in point, women experience tons of pressure to breastfeed, but little support.

Before and after birth, breastfeeding education and support is hit or miss—there is no routine education for new mothers to learn how to nurse. Breastfeeding might be 'natural,' but it is a learned skill. Women routinely are forced to figure it out on their own—a reality that leads to anguish for mom, and struggle for baby.

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Private lactation consultants often cost hundreds of dollars, an expense that is frequently out of reach during this financially stressful time in life. And if a woman formula feeds her baby, for whatever reason, she is made to feel that she has made a lesser choice for her child. Our society expects mothers to be endlessly self-sacrificing, but is unwilling to give her the support she needs along the way.

While newborns are typically seen at least four times in their first two months of life, their mothers routinely have no postpartum care from 48 hours after birth until 6 weeks. During these critical weeks of physical recovery and a psychological transition to parenthood, women are left to figure it out alone. A lack of consistent postpartum screening and support leads to record levels of physical and mental health problems. The incredibly high cost of childcare puts enormous stress on families. The high cost is a leading reason that so many American women drop out of the workforce when they become moms.

It's a barrier to entry for them to start a business. It's a massive strain on family finances. Families today pay a huge price to work—one that the federal government nor the majority of employers do much to support. Motherly's State of Motherhood survey revealed that the majority of women scaled down their careers after the birth of a baby, while their partners often scaled up—a split that sometimes happens by choice, but other times happens by default, thanks to a lack of paid family leave, the high cost of childcare, and inflexible work environments for parents. Research shows that American mothers largely blame themselves, experiencing waves of guilt and self-criticism for not being able to accomplish the herculean task of working, raising children and managing a household, entirely on their own.

As Beth Berry wrote in a Motherly essay that has become our anthem, "it takes a village, but there are no villages.

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We may feel inadequate, but that's because we're on the front lines of the problem, which means we're the ones being hardest hit. We absorb the impact of a broken, still-oppressive social structure so that our children won't have to. That makes us heroes, not failures. So, the system is stacked against us. Recognizing the problem is the first step. The next is identifying the structural changes that can and must be made to make American society a family-friendly one.

At Motherly we are declaring The Year of the Mother, calling on lawmakers and employers to hear our voice, the voice of today's mother, because we deserve better.

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Today's mothers are better educated than any generation before, working more than ever before, and our governmental policies, corporate governance, and culture have not adjusted to provide the support needed to ensure mamas and families thrive. So let us imagine the world as it could be. This world is in our reach. Together we can advocate for six critical changes to ensure progress for American mothers:.

The United States has the highest rate of maternal deaths in the developed world. Giving birth in America is shockingly dangerous, black mothers are three to four times more likely to die during or after pregnancy or birth and Native American and Native Alaskan mothers are also dying from complications in childbirth at a disproportionate rate. Systemic racism, socioeconomic disparities, heteronormative expectations and unequal access to healthcare are hurting mothers and babies.

This is unacceptable and Motherly supports the modernization of obstetric medicine standards and policies which address implicit bias among providers in clinical settings. Paid family leave is good for babies, families, and businesses and the United States is the only member country of the OECD that has not implemented paid leave on a national basis.

Support for paid leave is growing in both parties because this is truly a non-partisan issue. Paid leave is good for babies, parents, society, and even the long-term economic flourishing of American businesses. With a groundswell of new mothers taking to the Congress, and unprecedented support for paid leave emerging on the right, action on the federal level is on the horizon.

And it's about time. We need a no-judgment breastfeeding revolution.