By the Book: Dr. Nicole Saphier Explains Why You Should ‘Love, Mom’ This Mother’s Day

By Ethan Alter 

By the Book is a feature series that takes you between the covers of new and notable books written by Newsers. 

With a title like Love, Mom, Dr. Nicole Saphier‘s collection of emotional and highly personal stories about motherhood is a book idea practically gift-wrapped for Mother’s Day. But the Fox News contributor and Director of Breast Imaging at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center insists that she can’t take credit for recognizing that ideal tie-in opportunity.

“Historically, I’ve written about health policy and how to lead healthier and happier lives,” Saphier tells TVNewser about her previous tomes, Make America Healthy Again and Panic Attack. “But I have spoken publicly about my own motherhood journey, and someone at Fox News approached me about discussing it more broadly.”


That someone was Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott, who encouraged Saphier to put pen to paper and chronicle her experience as a teen mom raising her first son, Nicholas. But the duo expanded the book’s canvas to give a voice to other moms, including multiple Fox News personalities like Janice DeanMartha MacCallum and Carley Shimkus. “I wanted to share other stories so that we could reach more people,” Saphier explains. “Because while one story may be wonderful, if you have even more stories think of the reach you would have then.”

Love, Mom is the latest book from Fox News medical contributor Dr. Nicole Saphier (Courtesy Fox News)

The gambit worked: Since its April 16 release, Love, Mom has consistently ranked in the Top 10 on the New York Times Hardcover Nonfiction Bestseller List. And the book is also coming to the small screen as a five-episode series that’s streaming now on Fox Nation ahead of Mother’s Day on Sunday. “Certainly, the timing of the book is absolutely perfect for Mother’s Day,” the author says with a laugh.

But Saphier did have some ground rules for any moms who chose to participate. “I told them, ‘You really have to show your authentic self,'” she says, adding that she spent hours interviewing each subject to write the first person accounts presented in the book. “I’m tired of social media and TV showing the filtered version of reality. This book is the reality, and we really hit on some heavy topics, including depression, miscarriage and suicide. I asked them to share something about themselves or their families that they’ve never spoken about publicly before, and they decided to do just that.”

While Love, Mom chronicles many different experiences of motherhood, Saphier says that some “core themes” did emerge from her conversations. “What we all realized is that we’re not in this journey of being a mom alone. You always have to take care of yourself if you want to be there for others, but you also have to lean on your family, your faith and maybe a few close friends to get you though it. It’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help—it actually lifts you up and makes you stronger.”

Dr. Nicole Saphier and Ainsley Earhardt on Fox & Friends (Courtesy Fox News)

(This interview has been edited for length and clarity)

You encouraged the moms you interviewed to share something they never had before. What did you decide to reveal for the first time in your chapter?

I’ve given a bird’s eye view of my story before: I had a child while I was still in high school, later I went to medical school and here I am today—a mother of three and a doctor. But in the book, I get very granular and specifically talk about the feelings of isolation, rejection and fear that I experienced as a teen mom. And the fact that I actually had to leave my son to pursue some of my professional goals and deal with the heartbreak that came with that. I also talk about questioning whether I was even a good mother. I didn’t just have those feelings when I was 17—I’ve still felt them recently.

It’s interesting: the book has been out for a few weeks, and so many people have read it at work. An MRI technician I work with specifically bought the book for his wife for Mother’s Day, but read my chapter before giving it to her. He said: “I think I have a deeper understanding of the person that you are, because you laid it out in that chapter.” He also told me that he may have shed a tear—and that’s pretty funny, because he’s not the kind of guy to admit that he cries!

There are a number of stereotypes associated with teen moms. Did you set out to challenge any of those preconceptions in your chapter?

I tread very lightly on that topic because by no stretch of the imagination do I recommend teen pregnancy or unplanned pregnancy or even unwed pregnancy to anybody. It’s certainly not the way I would have chosen to go about things. But the message that I wanted to come across is that if you find yourself in a situation—and it doesn’t have to be an unplanned pregnancy, it could be anything you weren’t planning on—you have to lean on those around you, and you have to that this moment doesn’t define you. You can still get to wherever it is you want to get to, but you may have to work a little bit harder and it may take a little bit longer.

You write about how you were fortunate to have a strong support system while raising your first son. Could more be done on a state and federal level for those mothers who don’t have that support?

Absolutely. I don’t have a big extended family, so it was my parents who were there while I was working 30 to 40 hours a week throughout college and medical school to help with babysitting and emotional support. If I didn’t have a strong family unit like that, it would have been infinitely more difficult and taken me longer. In my opinion, we need to have much more support for people who want to have the child, but also want to continue their education and furthering themselves so that they can provide for their family.

At the same time, when people find themselves in a situation where there’s an unplanned pregnancy, I also think they have to look hard at their lives and figure out what they’re going to do. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to take care of that child and while I strongly believe that there should be societal and community support, that individual has to work harder than anyone else around them to make sure that they can provide for that child.

Saphier during a recent appearance on Fox & Friends. (Courtesy Fox News)

Touching on some of the other notable chapters, entrepreneur Amy Brandt shares a dramatic account of how she adopted two kids whose father had taken them to a commune. What was the process of getting that story on the page? 

Any is an incredible woman, and I could have written several more chapters to share even more of her story. I can tell you that there were some nitty gritty details that I would’ve loved to have been able to publish, but sometimes you have to keep things a little closer to the vest for the protection of the children and the legal aspects. She’s an incredible caregiver and took on the role of caring for these children. Her chapter is also a great example of how being a mom is a “one size fits all” thing. It can come in many different forms, and in her form it became adoption. Her children will be eternally grateful to her, and she’s raised them to be incredibly contributing members of society.

Counselor Annette Hill’s story also stands out. Her adult son returned from the Iraq War suffering from PTSD and committed suicide at age 25. And she told you that she still considers herself a mother. 

I’ve known Annette for decades, and that’s a question I had for her. She has taken the memory and love of her soon and has dedicated her life to taking care of other veterans suffering from PTSD and other emotional and physical traumas of warfare. They’re all her children now. She may have lost her physical son, but she’s gained so many more.

There’s such a stigma with mental illness and people don’t treat it. Mental health is the same as cardiovascular health—you can have a heart attack just like you can have severe depression that results in suicide. Although you see a lot of hashtags about it, the reality is that when you look at reimbursements in the healthcare industry, mental health tends to be  the bottom of the barrel.

While the book features a diverse range of stories, we don’t necessarily hear from mothers from different racial and cultural backgrounds. Were you hoping to cast a wider net?

That’s a really good question, and the reality is that I reached out to the people who were closest to me. [Fox & Friends Weekend host] Rachel Campos-Duffy is in the book and she’s Hispanic, and I did reach out to two African-American women who are friends and colleagues of mine. But I had that prerequisite that you had to talk about something hard and difficult and unfortunately they weren’t open to that. But for the next one, I’ll continue to cast a wide net and see who wants to join.

So you see Love, Mom as a continuing project?

Ever since the book has come out, I have gotten so many messages with so many different stories that I can’t help thinking about follow-ups. There are so many wonderful stories out there that I know will help people, and the more mothers that share their stories make it better for everyone.

Mother’s Day is this weekend—what’s your ideal way to celebrate?

Let’s be honest: we should be celebrating motherhood every day of the year, not just one! But that said, I require a full celebration for Mother’s Day and my family does it right. My husband puts flowers everywhere, and he then he makes homemade Eggs Benedict, because that’s my favorite. And then we just spend the day at home—I’m not into big brunches or going out. I just want to be at home with my family.

Love, Mom is available at most major booksellers now.