One minute elated, the next miserable?


A new book by local author helps moms through the highs and lows


Who knew it would be possible to feel completely elated and totally miserable at the same time? Most new parents learn the hard way that joy isn't the only thing babies bring, especially in the middle of a sleepless night.

"It's 3 a.m. and the baby's crying. You adore this child, but you also want to throw her out the window, and you worry: Is this normal?" says Debra Gilbert Rosenberg. "Yes, it's normal. New moms walk a tightrope. It's OK to admit that sometimes it's difficult, but you also don't want to forget that it's really wonderful, too."

A new mom's jumbled feelings are no surprise to clinical social worker Rosenberg, who's been leading new mom support groups at West Suburban Temple in Oak Park for 14 years. Her recently published book, The New Mom's Companion: Care for Yourself While You Care for your Newborn is designed to help ease the transition to motherhood.

The idea for a new mom's group occurred to Rosenberg after she had her first child, a daughter who's now in college. "My friend and I were both social workers with infants and we said, ‘Geez, this is really different from what we expected. We could use some help going from being a person to a pregnant person to a mother.' But we were too caught up in being first-time moms to do anything about it."

Years later, just after she'd moved to Oak Park and had her third child, Rosenberg dusted off the idea when someone at her temple suggested starting a group for moms. First-time moms, along with their babies, attend a six-week session during which they discuss topics such as mom as an individual (what she was like before the baby, what she expected), how a new baby affects a marriage, extended families, and changes in a woman's social life and friendships after a baby comes.

Rosenberg says she wrote her book for people, like herself, who may feel too private to join a mother's group. She felt there was a dearth of books addressing the needs of new mothers. "If you look for books about motherhood, you find ones about breastfeeding and taking care of the baby, or books by journalists who became moms and write about their own stories. What I wanted-and what I wrote-is a book like Dr. Spock about being a new mom. It's in a Q-and-A format, so you can look up a topic, flip to that page, and be done. That's all the time you have as a new mom," explains Rosenberg.

If you'd like more information about Rosenberg's new mom's groups, call West Suburban Temple at (708) 366-9000. Her book is available at local bookstores and online.

-- Laura Stuart

Kids Eat Chicago

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