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Nov 24 2014

Apparently You Can Get Laid Off While Pregnant

By at 12:00 pm

Apparently You Can Get Laid Off While Pregnant

I started to get an uneasy feeling at work sometime back in September, when things began changing in my department and I found myself increasingly excluded from meetings, decisions, and major projects. But every time I confided in a family member, friend, or coworker, the response was the same: “You’re pregnant; they can’t get rid of you now.”

I tried taking comfort in the legal protections offered to pregnant women but I knew deep down that something was brewing nonetheless. And sure enough, one day I was called into an HR meeting and informed that my position was being phased out and redistributed among other employees.

I can’t say the news was particularly shocking, but I still walked out of that meeting feeling angry and betrayed. After all, I’d been a dedicated employee for over four years. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 18 2014

How My Jewish Grandma Came to Embrace My Gay Marriage

By at 11:03 am

How My Jewish Grandma Came to Embrace Me, Wife and All

My Jewish grandmother is stereotypical—and proud of it. She’s short, round, warm. She loves to bake (or, as she puts it, “to potchke in the kitchen”) and to play bridge and Mah-Jongg with her friends. She finds nachas in her family. Perhaps above all else, she’s desperate for great-grandchildren.

So when she found out that I was gay, her first response to me was a despondent, “You’re not one of those, are you?” Then she sobbed. And for a while, she would only say, “We’ll see,” when invited to meet my partner.

My partner, now wife, wasn’t upset by any of this; her parents had her quite late, so her mother is of the same generation as my grandmother, and thus Fi is experienced with the quirks and prejudices some elderly people can have. She kept me calm by reminding me that it would take a while for my grandmother to absorb this news, and that we had to understand that it’s painful for people to give up on the dreams and expectations they have for their relatives. And, if the worst happened and Grandma never came around, well, that would be dreadfully sad, but we reside in another country and could just go on with our lives as we liked. She felt sure we’d get through this together, as we had gotten through many other things. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 28 2014

So That’s Why Women Don’t Usually Travel in Their Eighth Month

By at 2:02 pm

shutterstock_190696934

For my 36th birthday, my husband took me out to dinner and a show in San Francisco, an hour north of where we live with our three kids. This was exciting mostly because we were an hour north of our three kids, and also, because we were celebrating not only my birthday, but also that morning’s pink line on my home pregnancy test. We felt both giddy and overwhelmed by the news, and were happy to be out, distracted.

We saw “The Book of Mormon,” and, as observant Jews, it hit close to home. We laughed and laughed. We were laughing at the show, and, by extension, at the Mormons, just as we were also laughing at ourselves, modern people of an ancient faith living a life of contradictions, trying hard to make sense of the traditions and stories that shape so much of our lives, so many of our decisions. Our laughter was uncomfortable, for we saw ourselves on that stage, and were afraid of the possibility that we too were living in an absurd world of illusions, dreaming of Orlando. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 23 2014

Five Things I Miss–and Six I Really Don’t–About Being Pregnant

By at 9:58 am

5 Things I Miss – and 6 I Really Don’t – about Being Pregnant

There are some women who adore pregnancy and can’t seem do it enough, and then there are those who see it merely as a not-so-pleasant means to an end. I fall somewhere in between.

Both of my pregnancies have been relatively easy—not without little hiccups and anxieties, of course, but generally enjoyable.

Now that it’s been over a month since I’ve been pregnant with kid #2, I find myself truly missing some aspects of pregnancy—and really not missing others.

I do miss… Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 21 2014

Too Superstitious for a Baby Shower? Try a Gender Reveal Party

By at 1:36 pm

gender reveal party

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 →

Oct 15 2014

The Catholic School Teacher Who Made Me Want to Raise My Kids Jewish

By at 9:36 am

school-girls-skirts

I’ll never forget the first roll call in fourth grade at the St. Fabian School.

“Levey, Hilary? [Pause] Really?!”

Yes, really. My father, who gifted me his last name, is clearly a Member of the Tribe (Levite, natch). But my parents decided to baptize and raise me as a Roman Catholic, like my mother. Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 17 2014

Pregnancy Sucks But There’s One Thing That Helps

By at 3:27 pm

push-present

I’ve endured only pregnancies from hell. Not the run-of-the-mill variety either, involving scary pre-eclampsia or placenta previa, but rather, pregnancies that have left doctors befuddled while I became best friends with the porcelain thrones in my home. With my pregnancies, nurses took my blood on a weekly basis to monitor the function of various organs, and my OB/GYN’s assistant would regularly call me with the test results, always the bearer of only bad news. I was admitted to the obstetrical high-risk in-patient unit more times than my OB/GYN, my husband, my family, and I would’ve liked during both of my pregnancies. But I’m grateful that I walked away from both experiences with my life and my organs intact, and with a healthy baby in my arms each time.

But while having a baby is the end goal, watching my body betray me while playing alien host, I came to feel that I was owed something a bit better than a purple star or medal of honor for having lived in the trenches. I wanted a push present. No, I deserved a push present.

A push present is defined as a gift from a spouse to the one who’s pregnant and gives birth. There is no price tag associated with a push present–it can be as inexpensive as the candied diamond ring inside of a Cracker Jack box, or as costly as a canary diamond pendant necklace. Cost may matter for some, but ultimately it’s the thought that counts. If a woman doesn’t believe in receiving a push present that’s her right, just as it is another woman’s right to believe that having a baby should come with one. The push present is the gift that keeps on giving, and ultimately becomes a family heirloom that is bequeathed to the child for whose birth it recognized. Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 16 2014

Why We Decided to Have Baby Number Three

By at 10:38 am

Now-there-are-three

My husband and I got married young and couldn’t wait to become parents. We both come from families with two children, a boy and a girl. We assumed that we would have two children, and of course, we’d get one of each.

We were elated when our first son was born. He was the first grandchild on both sides. He hung the moon.

I was pretty surprised when we got pregnant two years later with, what turned out to be, another boy. He was born just before my older son’s 3rd birthday. We were all nuts about him. Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 9 2014

Are Smart Women Less Likely to Have Babies?

By at 10:15 am

smart-woman

A paper published recently in a social science journal explored the correlation between intelligence and childlessness and determined, “One standard-deviation increase in childhood general intelligence (15 IQ points) decreases a woman’s odds of parenthood by 21–25 percent. Because women have a greater impact on the average intelligence of future generations, the dysgenic fertility among women is predicted to lead to a decline in the average intelligence of the population in advanced industrial nations.”

Naturally, in the popular press, this was boiled down to the headline: Smart Women Don’t Have Babies.

When I sent the link to my husband, I wrote: “Duh. It’s a very unpleasant process.” Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 12 2014

What I Can’t Stand About the #ShareACoke Pregnancy Announcement

By at 9:58 am

mcgill-cuddys

If you’ve been on the internet recently, you may have noticed a video going around about a couple announcing they are expecting by way of the new “Share a Coke” campaign. In case no one has posted it to your Facebook page, you can watch it here:

For many who have watched it, they first noticed how original this concept was to publicize a pregnancy. For others, they observed the high production value of the video. Read the rest of this entry →

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