Oct 21 2014
My husband, Jeff, and I were three years into our marriage when we got the exciting news of a baby on the way. As an expectant Jewish mother, I knew that I would not have a baby shower due to tradition. But as an expectant Jewish mother excited to celebrate my pregnancy, I was inspired to take part in a different type of tradition–a gender reveal party.
I enjoy a bit of mystery, but Jeff’s not big on surprises. It worked out well in this case, because it made it easy to hatch a plan for the party. Jeff got the news from our doctor while I happily stayed in the dark, ready to share in the surprise along with our family and friends. Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 15 2014
I am expecting twins any day now. The excitement is rising and the worries that these babies may arrive too soon are being relieved day by day. But when my colleagues offered to give me a baby shower months ago, I cringed.
As a rabbi, the idea of disappointing every bubbe in my congregation by having a baby shower did not feel right. Members of my own family had already asked, “You’re not going to have a baby shower, right?” As if that is a question and not a statement. Jewish women are not afraid to share our opinions, and often baby showers are simply taboo.
The conversation continued and the other rabbi’s wife, who happens to be a mentor and friend, reminded me that communities like to celebrate with their rabbis, so we had to come up with something. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 24 2014
The Maine island we live on is in transition from winter to spring. Ice and snow have given way to alternating drizzle and sunshine. Frost heaves (out here we call them “Thank you ma’ams!”) are flattening themselves out, and back yards and sheds are filling up with freshly painted pot buoys. Murders of crows are sharing the roadsides with flocks of robins.
I’m transitioning with the seasons. We saw the baby in 3D at our last ultrasound, and checked her for growth restriction (all good!). My baby shower was perfect, sunlit, and tulip-adorned; full of delicious food, family, and friends. We even found places for all of the presents, thanks to the cleaning and reorganizing we’d already done.
The last transition before the big one will be handing my classroom over to my long-term sub. Miraculously, we were able to hire someone on-island with enough of a music and English background to cover all of my classes, and a colleague is directing the spring play. I applied for and received a sabbatical for the first half of the next school year, too, so in all I’ll have eight months home with my baby. Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 11 2014
“I’ve been reluctant to write this email and I keep putting it off.”
When you are not able to get pregnant and you get an email with that as the opening line, you know exactly what is coming.
“Even though I know you will be happy for us and excited, I know part of you will be sad. So I wanted to give you time to digest this on your own, rather than springing it on you in person. I know you are happy for us. I know that you are happy for so many people. But I also know it’s hard and don’t expect this kind of news to be easy.”
When my friend of 20 years told me she was pregnant, I felt a lot of things, including true happiness for her. But what I felt most was appreciation that she too was navigating her own balancing act. Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 3 2014
On New Year’s Eve, two of my dearest friends announced that they would be throwing me a baby shower. They also did my wedding shower, a co-ed garden party in my back yard. Guests were only allowed to bring plants or gardening products (seven years of pre-marital cohabitation meant we had all the pots and pans already, and we were doing a travel registry for the wedding itself). It was gorgeous, the food was delicious, and it was exactly the way I thought it should be.
“You have to let us do this one,” they said. “You were too much the boss of your wedding shower.”
Alrighty then! I was only too happy to let them take full creative control. After all, I had a proper registry to focus on, a task that I quickly realized I was in no way mentally or emotionally prepared for. It seems most akin to packing for a trip to another planet, unknown and unexplored.
Friends with similar baby product priorities–chemical free! baby safe! reasonably attractive!–helped out by sending their registries to me. Thus armed, I sat down after work this week and began sorting through the incredible amount of stuff in the world to decide what I thought my friends and family should help us out with for the baby. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 24 2013
Let’s be honest: unless you’re the guest of honor, or maybe a grandparent, most baby showers kind of suck. There are the mandatory feigned squeals of delight over bootie-appliquéd onesies, the cutting one-liners and hurt feelings from thoughtless relatives that inevitably arise during any large family gathering, and the awkward meetings of different friends who had no previous knowledge of one another.
At my friend Hannah’s baby shower on Sunday, it was perhaps slightly more awkward than others for me, who had to think fast to the question-of-the-day: “And how do you know Hannah?”
Trust me, the honest answer would put a fast halt to any conversation. Read the rest of this entry →