Why These Moms Are Encouraging Parents to Embrace “Two Truths”
You’ve likely heard the idea that “two things can be true”—as in, parenthood can be the most exhausting job in the world…and the most rewarding. Or that the days can feel unending and time can breeze by too fast. This message of duality and dialectical thinking may have popped up on your Instagram feed in pretty-looking posts, or you may have learned about it in a parenting book. But the idea that two seemingly conflicting emotions or feelings can coexist at the same time is also at the root of many of the leading therapeutic models used in treating maternal mental health conditions—for good reason. Learning that we rarely feel just one way about something and accepting all of our emotions (while staying open-minded about the many different ways to approach a situation) can help us, well, feel… better. And that’s the whole idea behind Two Truths, a new media brand and newsletter dedicated to informing, empowering, and entertaining mothers—always through a lens of maternal mental health.
Two Truths is helmed by journalists and maternal health advocates Cassie Shortsleeve and Kelsey Haywood Lucas, who, between them, have five children, two decades of journalism experience, two far-reaching platforms (Motherspeak and Dear Sunday Motherhood—both of which have probably popped into your Instagram feed, thanks to their widely shared messages about motherhood), and now Two Truths. Since its launch last year, Two Truths has been celebrated in major media outlets such as Motherly and The Skimm, and reaches millions of mothers monthly.
As parental wellbeing is at the heart of Happiest Baby’s own mission, we were eager to chat with Cassie and Kelsey about Two Truths, Cassie and Kelsey’s approach to promoting maternal mental health, and their experience as SNOO moms!
Happiest Baby: Tell us a little bit about Two Truths’ birth story.
Kelsey: Cassie and I met through Chamber of Mothers [a non-profit organization working to advance mothers’ rights in the U.S. where Kelsey and Cassie serve as co-founders]. We were working together closely to produce the organization’s first maternal mental health event, and we found ourselves talking basically all day, every day. Our discussion about the event turned into talk about life and motherhood, our own mental health, our days, our nights, our work, our kids, our dreams and, eventually…Two Truths was born. It was named for the phrase that had become an important, recurring theme in many of our conversations.
HB: What does it mean to hold two truths—and what’s the psychological philosophy behind it?
Cassie: Holding two truths means acknowledging and honoring the fact that two (or more) things can be true at once (“two things can be true,” or #TTCBT as we say in the newsletter). Often, these things are contradictory to one another (I am so grateful for my kids *and* my kids are driving me absolutely bonkers). It’s a simple and healing principle that has roots in many of the leading therapeutic maternal mental health treatments. It’s also applicable to almost everything in life.
HB: Why is it so important that parents embrace this 'two truths' reality?
Cassie: Embracing the idea that you can hold multiple truths at once is one of the most freeing feelings in the world. In motherhood, it’s so easy not to allow yourself to hold two truths. Here’s an example: When we practice respectful parenting, we may say to our kids, “It’s okay to feel that way.” But the reality is that when we feel “that way,” we often beat ourselves up for it rather than holding space for the truth. What if we treated ourselves with the same respect for that full breadth of human emotions? Karen Kleiman, MSW, a leading maternal mental health provider, told us that this is how we transform throughout the journey of motherhood.
HB: What do you hope to accomplish with Two Truths?
Kelsey: There’s a line from the poem “Go to the Limits of Your Longing” by Ranier Maria Rilke that I think about almost daily: “Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.” It really speaks to our mission in Two Truths—creating a space for the endlessly vast range of experiences in motherhood, from heart-bursting joy and elation to a deep sense of loneliness and grief. This is part of the human experience for all, of course, but we’ve felt it so acutely in motherhood, and we wanted to make a space that honors all of it existing simultaneously. Too often, these mother archetypes exist in silos: There’s the blissful mama who feels so grateful for every moment; there’s the tired, overwhelmed mom who needs to vent about her struggles; and then there’s a very clinical descriptor of the mother suffering from a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder such as postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety. We are bringing all these archetypes together because as mothers, we really do contain multitudes—we can be all of it, all at once—and our content and our media coverage reflects that.
HB: There are so many places where parents can go to get advice, information, and inspiration—what makes Two Truths such a unique space?
Cassie: Two Truths is part content creation, part support system. We validate the many experiences of motherhood, forever reminding moms that things are rarely either/or; they’re often both/and. It’s a community that we are a part of, too. We learn just as much from our readers and our community as they learn from us.
Kelsey: We saw a very glaring white space in the media landscape that needed to be filled. Our solution came in the form of a new, regular feature of the newsletter called Two Truths: Trending that provides a recap of the latest headlines and highlights on all things motherhood—including breaking news that parents need to know, pop culture updates, the best and worst of social media trends, and so much more. We then contextualize all this news through a lens of maternal mental health. When we see a harmful trope being perpetuated in a TikTok trend or when there’s a scary-seeming headline that needs a bit more of an explainer, we are experts in distilling the key takeaways for mothers—and we often bring in leading experts to share their important insight.
HB: Can you think of a specific moment for you two where you’ve really felt or seen the impact of your work with Two Truths?
Cassie: Recently, I was featured in The Skimm as a “smart follow” and recognized for my work supporting mothers via my platform @dearsundaymotherhood. The publication also spotlighted our Two Truths issue on the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of zuranolone, the first pill specifically indicated for postpartum depression. That was pretty cool. One of the best parts of my job has always been the connections I can make with experts in the space. We spoke to Lucy Hutner, M.D., a reproductive psychiatrist, for that piece; she’s a brilliant and kind physician at the forefront of maternal mental health. She called me from her cellphone on a ferry one evening this summer. For years, I’ve been reporting for some of the biggest health and parenting publications (Women’s Health, The Washington Post, What to Expect, and others), but to earn the trust and rapport of leading experts like Lucy along the way for our own publication is humbling.
Kelsey: I think the biggest impact probably comes from our readers. One of the most frequent sentiments we see in comments on our posts is, “I really needed to read this today.” We are honored to be a small part of so many motherhood journeys and it’s a privilege that we take seriously.
HB: Maternal mental health is at the forefront of your work. How do you two prioritize and care for your own mental health as you’re in the thick of motherhood and are growing a business?
Cassie: Help. For me, that comes in the form of emotional support from friends and family, childcare, a therapist, and a supportive partner. I say this all the time, but we were never meant to mother alone. Help is a natural and normal part of motherhood.
Kelsey: Something I’m always thinking about is how to weather the chaos of life with little kids while also capturing the sweet moments that would otherwise be lost while I’m in day-to-day survival mode. One way I do this is by micro-journaling, which is a very low-pressure practice that is absolutely essential for my mental health. When I feel overwhelmed or like time has flown by too fast, I can look back on it and find so much peace in the memories I collected.
HB: You two are both SNOO moms (several times over!). What role did SNOO play as you navigated the fourth trimester?
Kelsey: I will tell you a secret: My daughter was basically sleeping through the night, only waking to feed once or twice as needed, since she was a few weeks old. My husband and I didn’t dare share this with anyone at the time because we were so worried we would jinx it—but we knew it was SNOO that was keeping her so comfortable. When my son was born last year, there was no question that we’d use SNOO again–and we had a similar experience with him. During the day, I love babywearing and contact naps; and at night, SNOO replicates that motion. We placed SNOO right next to the bed so I could reach my hand in to touch them whenever I wanted. Keeping my babies close to me and being responsive throughout the night—while also keeping them so safe and secure—was extremely important for my own sleep and my mental health. They slept better, and I slept better.
Cassie: I am someone who desperately needs my sleep; the sleep deprivation of new parenthood rocked me three times over. I also truly believe in the power of sleep for our babies and kids and their developing brains and bodies. I used the SNOO with my younger two and found that it helped my babies nap longer, sleep more soundly at night, and feel overall comfortable. That was all particularly important for everyone when there were more kids in the house—and more needs for me to tend to. With my youngest, a SNOO nap meant I could have a few extra minutes to be truly present for dinner or an activity with my older two, and she could get the quality sleep she needed.
You can subscribe to Two Truths for free—but there’s also a paid subscription, which gives readers access to the full archive, as well as exclusive giveaways and other community features (Psst! An upgraded subscription may just be the perfect gift for your best mom friend!)
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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.