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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 →

Jul 18 2014

Some Promises Are Made to be Broken

By at 2:31 pm

ginger-snaps

This post is part of our Torah commentary series. This Shabbat we read Parashat Mattot. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.

My vows about what kind of pregnant lady I’d be went out the window early, when I realized that eating an entire bag of gingersnaps would cure my morning sickness.

I had a lot of ideas about what kind of pregnant lady I’d be (cute, active, not too huge); what kind of birth I’d have (natural, empowering); and what kind of mom I would be (cute, active, not too emotional). Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 14 2014

The Strange Things Strangers Say To Pregnant Women

By at 3:53 pm

Strangers-pregnancy

With this pregnancy, as with my first, I’ve found that there is no need to wonder what strangers are thinking. They regularly share their thoughts unprompted, those thoughts are often rather strange, and they are typically about three things: size, gender, and timing.

1. My Size. When I was about 6 months pregnant, I attended a dinner. A stranger approached and announced, “You’re pregnant!”

“Yes,” I responded.

She asked how far along I was and then informed me, “You look too big for six-months.”

“Well,” I explained, “I’m very small, so the baby only has outward to go.”

There’s a reason I look like a three-sided plus-sign (again), and comments about my being “too big” are both rude and false.

2. Dreaming of Boys. Opinionated Washingtonians have consistently insisted that I must be carrying a boy. According to a woman who saw me this winter, my gaining weight only in my belly, rather than all over my body, was the give-away. My body must like head-faking, because several sonograms have confirmed that Matzah Ball (our nickname for my baby-to-be) is indeed a girl. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 11 2014

The Amazing Things You Can Learn From a Toddler

By at 10:12 am

ice-tea

This post is part of our Torah commentary series. This Shabbat we read Parashat Pinhas. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.

This week, a dear old friend came to visit. We haven’t seen each other for a long time, but we seem to be on the same mama schedule–we both have 2-year-olds and are pregnant again.

We sat outside drinking iced tea, talking about birth and motherhood and the 15 years since we met. We talked about how confident, driven, and maybe a little entitled we both were in our early 20s. How much has changed since then. And how much of what we’ve learned, we’ve learned from our kids.

Both committed to a natural birth, we ended up with C-sections. Both committed to exclusively breastfeeding our babies, we ended up with serious nursing problems that made that goal physically impossible. And we’d both carved out wonderful and unusual careers that grew out of our passion for our work, involving tons of travel, and have turned out to require some major re-adjustment–especially as we head into two-young-kids territory. Read the rest of this entry →

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