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Jul 21 2014

I’m Sick of Explaining Why We Became Foster Parents

By at 12:19 pm

storks-telephone-wire

Just before Passover, my partner and I became certified foster parents in Pennsylvania. This means that we could get a call literally on any day, and have a new child in our family by the end of that day. We are incredibly excited (and more than a little scared), and because we have no idea when our family will be changing, we’ve been mentioning it in conversations so that our friends and community won’t be totally taken aback when one day we show up somewhere as a family of four, instead of three.

Across the board, people have been really supportive and excited for us, which is amazing. But one thing that has thrown me a bit is how often people ask me, “So, why did you decide to become foster parents?”

I understand that it’s a natural question. This isn’t the way most people build their families, and since it’s an opt-in situation, it makes sense that people want to know how we made the decision. But it still feels a little invasive to me every time. Because in our case the answer is a kind of muddy combination of always wanting to adopt, but not wanting to compete with people who can’t have a baby any other way, and not wanting to spend tens of thousands of dollars on the process. And once we started looking into fostering, and saw how much of a need there is for good foster families, it felt like something that we could and should do. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 17 2012

News Roundup: Talking to Kids About the Shooting & More

By at 4:45 pm

All the parenting news you probably didn’t have time to read this week.

- Tips for Talking to Children About the Shooting. It’s a daunting task at a scary time, but if your kids have heard about the shooting in Newtown, CT and want to talk to you about it, here are some pointers for steering the conversation. (New York Times)

How Older Parenthood Will Upend American Society. Judith Shulevitz examines the effects of older mothers and fathers (spoiler alert: fertility decreases as you get older, for men and women!). (The New Republic)

Good Lovers Make Good Parents. The same things that make you and your partner romantically compatible translate into making you good moms and/or dads. (New York Daily News)

-The UN Environmental Program is debating whether to ban a vaccine preservative that some worry may cause autism. The preservative was taken out of vaccines in the US and Europe a decade ago and has not resulted in lower rates of autism. (NPR)

Nov 16 2012

Confessions of an Obsessive Fertility Tracker

By at 12:22 pm

I have some OCD tendencies. I try to embrace them and not drive my husband crazy, but I enjoy only moderate success on that front.

My OCD tendencies extend to stockpiling (please God dont let me end up on Hoarders in 20 years), organizing stuff, and fertility tracking. Unbeknownst to me when I started tracking my fertility (and trying desperately to have a second child), there is a whole community of people who obsess over every detail of their cycles too! We have a whole online support group with fertility tracking tools, message boards, and even our own jargon. My favorite is POASaholic for people who cant stop peeing on a stick. People like me.  Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 1 2012

Settling Down in Texas

By at 2:31 pm

Texas flagAs I am fast approaching my six-month anniversary on arriving in Austin, Texas, I thought it would be a good time to stop and take account of everything.

The last time I wrote about arriving in Texas, it was pretty much a pity party and everyone was invited. Many of you responded to my RSVP request with emails of support, friendly suggestions, and even a few shidduchs for my husband with his job search. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 16 2011

Much Older Mothers Having Babies… and Regretting It

By at 9:52 am
Susan Tollefsen and daughter Freya

Susan Tollefsen and daughter Freya

The BBC recently ran an interview with Susan Tollefsen, a British woman who gave birth to her first daughter at age 57 in 2008. The baby was conceived with the help of in vitro fertilization, using a donor egg and her partner’s sperm (although the couple is now separated). Ms. Tollefsen was refused fertility treatment in the UK because of her age, and became pregnant with the help of a clinic in Russia. Two years later, a clinic in London agreed to assist her with a second pregnancy, but she ultimately decided not to follow through, citing potential health concerns.

Although her daughter is now 3 years old, Ms. Tollefsen is back in the news, saying that she believes she was too old to have a child, and that women over 50 should not have access to fertility treatment. The challenges of raising a child at her age led to the end of her relationship with her partner (11 years her junior), and have left her financially depleted, exhausted, and isolated, as she is much older than other new mothers. Ms. Tollefsen also seems to be coming to terms with the reality that she will likely not live to see her daughter grow up, marry, and have children of her own.

A woman giving birth over the age of 50 is rare, but not unheard of. Furthermore, according to Jewish tradition, Sarah, a revered matriarch, gave birth to Isaac when she was 90 years old, and lived to 127. But that was in the Bible, and Sarah’s pregnancy was literally the result of divine intervention, one which presumably didn’t involve a petri dish and a catheter. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 11 2011

Mayim Bialik Talks About Sex

By at 12:05 pm

A recent Kveller article by Cara Paiuk detailed the best things to do if trying to get pregnant. Cara recommended the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility, and I agree—that book changed my life and allowed me to have access to the intimate workings of the reproductive system easily, simply, and in the most effective way to achieve pregnancy. The book both helps you get pregnant and avoid pregnancy, since by learning your reliable and consistent patterns (which for the vast majority of women are universal), you truly can take charge of your fertility! This is not ‘the rhythm method;’ it’s just understanding biology.

But did you know that the wisdom, simplicity, elegance, and baby-planning contained in that book (and in our biological make up) has been tapped into for thousands of years by Jews? That’s right. Long before tomes of endocrinology literature charted the hypothalamic and pituitary secretions of the hormones that govern menstruation, pregnancy, and breastfeeding’s effects on our cycles, the Torah detailed it for us. Mmm hmmm.

That’s right, ladies. The Torah. The Five Books of Moses, that some-3000-year-old tome. The Torah says to count “for yourself” seven days. Over time, an additional five days (according to most customs) were added to the mix . What happens 7+5 days after you start your cycle? As any OB-Gyn, endocrinologist, or person who has read TCOYF can tell you, for the majority of women, ovulation occurs around the 12th day after you start your cycle. Yup.

Get it? The most efficient way to get pregnant is to have sex on and around Day 12 of your cycle. And that’s literally what Jewish women have done for thousands of years. Traditionally, the night of ovulation (day 12 of your cycle), women immerse in a mikveh which is basically a glorified and very sanitary pretty hot tub with no bubbles involved and only one woman at a time allowed in. Read the rest of this entry →

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