“In an often unrecognized reality where 1 in 7 new moms are affected by mental health issues, Karen Kleiman’s new book, Good Moms Have Scary Thoughts, with powerful, pervasive cartoons illustrated by Molly McIntyre, should be required reading for moms and every single person who associated with them–friends of moms, family members of moms especially her own mom and mother-in-law, pediatricians, OBs, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, etc. should be well-versed in the types of scary thoughts a new mom can have as well as how common they are, ensuring that women always have a safe, non-judgmental place to admit how they really feel about a role they were taught to believe comes naturally to all women and should be the most satisfying, joy-filled role of all time.
In her book, Karen covers isolation, comparing, hating your baby, wanting to prolong your 6-month OB check up so you don’t have to get the okay to resume having sex, thoughts of ending your life, rage, partner resentment, thinking that your baby and family would be better off without you, pretending everything is fine to cover up the pain, and so much more to help women realize these thoughts are often a common part of new motherhood and don’t make them bad mothers or failures. Maternal mental health taboos have been doing an amazing job hiding out in dark places and Karen Kleiman is fighting to turn and keep the lights on. Her professional, but warm commentary and advice after each picture is like a friend holding your hand reassuring you that what you are feeling is okay and you are not alone.
I remember when I had postpartum depression and anxiety with my son and while I desperately searched for other moms’ stories and experiences, and would have read pretty much anything, I was way to exhausted and overwhelmed to read a long, wordy book. Karen has solved this with Good Moms Have Scary Thoughts by using the comic book format. And moms reading this book don’t just get to absorb the words and pictures, but each page has a space to write, color, and document their thoughts to help ground and calm them.
I wish this book came out six years ago when I gave birth to my son but, I’m beyond grateful this book has come out now. It’s unacceptable that only 15% of the 1 in 7 women affected by maternal mental health issues receive treatment. It’s outrageous that suicide is the second largest cause of maternal death. We need to do better. We need to fight harder. We need to do more. We need to reframe self-care. Self-care is not a luxury. Self-care is not indulgent. Self-care is not selfish. It’s essential and necessary. We need to reframe professional-care. We need to reframe how we talk to knew moms.
And Karen is helping to do it all.”
-Jen Schwartz, Founder, Motherhood-Understood.com