Sep 23 2014
My sister gave birth to her first baby last night. Her voice on the phone was both heavy with exhaustion and fluttery with joy. My heart ached to be so far away from her during this blessed beginning.
I was light and cheerful while we spoke. This was a happy occasion, of course. Perhaps the very happiest life has to offer.
Still, something about our conversation unnerved me. It wasn’t until hours later that it struck me. I’m worried about her. Read the rest of this entry →
Sep 22 2014
After giving birth to my second child about a month ago, I shared a hospital room with a woman whom I’d describe as one of the most cheerful and glass-half-full people I’ve ever met. Mara–the polar opposite of a jaded New Yorker–is a midwestern transplant to New York whose optimism felt contagious.
Despite having just come out of a very difficult 24-hour labor, she was nearly all-smiles–friendly and kind to everyone who came in and out of our room (and anyone who’s given birth in a hospital knows that lots of people come in and out post-labor). I will never forget how excited she got each time she was served the hospital food, which I, of the more jaded New Yorker variety, barely touched, and managed to complain about plenty.
It wasn’t until after several unsuccessful attempts to breastfeed her less-than-one-day-old son that I saw Mara’s optimism hit a bump. I could tell just how frustrated, guilty and disappointed she felt because–like every mother on earth–I had been there too, during those early days of motherhood. Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 7 2014
When we brought our newborn daughter home, she nursed around the clock with a ferocious latch. It felt as if I was putting my nipple into a stapler and then having the milk sucked out by an expensive Dyson.
If I were a first-time mama, I would have been convinced I had no milk and faulty nipples. I would have probably also convinced myself that my baby was tongue tied, lip-tied, or whatever bad-latch karma was going around the internet at the time. But what I now know to be true, after successfully nursing her two older brothers, is that I always have nipple sensitivity in the first few weeks and my daughter was gaining more than enough weight, despite a small mouth and slightly shallow latch.
As expected, after two weeks it all went away. She still nurses around the clock, but it is normal–even biological–for her to want to be nourished by me, held by me, and comforted by me. She won’t always want to be this close to me. Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 24 2013
With the world-wide hullabaloo over the new yet-to-be-named Prince of Cambridge, I thought it might be appropriate to offer Catherine and William a few tips about first-time parenting, although some of my observations will apply less to a child born into privilege and massive resources.
My aunt gave me the best advice of all about parenting, and I must say that her grown children are incredibly centered and mentally sound. She told me that the key to successful parenting is to accept, even while the child is still growing in the womb, that it will always be your fault. As soon as you realize that whether you neglect your children or have the capability to give them everything they need, your kids will eventually end up on some therapist’s couch, complaining about their mother.
That being said, I present a cheat sheet for new mothers, royal or those of lesser bloodlines, to get through the first few years with relative sanity. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 11 2013
“Are you the oldest mom there?” a friend asked me as we walked to the elementary school to pick up our sons. At least, I think she’s my friend. (Just kidding, Michelle!)
She was asking about the “Mommy and Me” classes I go to with 18-month-old Baby G. You know the kind of classes I’m talking about. They’re the ones where the kids shake/chew on bells that are both musical and receptacles for vomity viruses. They’re the ones where the instructors are often ignored by the moms in the class, who busily and loudly chat with each other (kinda rude, no?). They’re the ones where the instructors say things like, “Do you know how to say hello IN FRENCH?” to the kids, and you’re thinking, “Um, the kid just figured out how to say hello in her native language–let’s take a little pressure off, shall we?” Read the rest of this entry →