Dec 11 2014
You’d think people would be used to the idea of twins by now, but pretty much every time I tell someone I’m carrying multiples, the news is met with something along the lines of “Holy crap!” In fact, I’ve had some pretty interesting reactions from friends, acquaintances, and complete strangers along the way–some helpful and encouraging, others not so much. And so I’ve decided to share some of the most memorable lines I’ve heard so far–along with my thoughts on the matter. (Warning: sarcasm imminent.)
1. “Huh? How’d that happen?”
Are you asking me to explain the biology behind multiple gestations? Or are you asking a prying, invasive question you have no right to be asking? If it’s the former, I can refer you to a number of internet sites that explain the phenomenon quite well. And if it’s the latter, please reexamine the concept of personal boundaries and consider withdrawing your inquiry.
2. “So did you plan for that to happen?”
Um, is it even possible to plan to have twins? Isn’t that kind of like asking someone whether she planned to have a boy versus a girl? Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 10 2014
I never had a baby shower. Sure, there was the obligatory surprise lunch-time shower my colleagues threw for me, where I got to bask in my own glow for a 45-minute power session of crock-pot mac ‘n cheese and a marathon opening of a dozen onesies my students had all sponge-painted for me. That was pretty awesome. But I was never surrounded by friends cooing over miniature shoes, eating Noah’s Ark-themed goodies, and playing stupid party games with chocolate bars in Pampers and blindfolded baby food taste-testing.
Whenever I’m asked why I didn’t have a shower, I simply reply, “Jews don’t do that kind of thing. It tempts the evil eye.”
This is easier than explaining that after we miscarried our first pregnancy at 10 weeks, and had to painfully “untell” a handful of close friends and family, the importance of secrecy provided a layer of insulation against disappointments, awkward conversations, and jealous gazes at coworkers’ growing bellies. Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 8 2014
From the moment I discovered that I was pregnant, I was ready, working to ensure that my baby would be as healthy as he or she could be. Yes to lots of fruits and vegetables. No to nitrates or cured meats or sushi (a particularly difficult one for me). No to Caesar salads, yes to the flu shot (after wonderful advice from my doctor). Yes to telling immediate family. No to telling anyone else… yet. Yes to dreaming up names and possibilities for a future my husband and I could only imagine. Yes to the excitement and even the sense of overwhelming responsibility of the enormous tasks that lay ahead. Each step pondered, considered, and thought out.
From the moment I discovered I was pregnant, it was all about control. Control over what I ate, where I went, and the plan I set for the future.
How different the world looks now, almost six years since my first pregnancy. The initial moments of my pregnancy were all about embracing that control. Our lives now, however, are anything but. Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 5 2014
Now that I’m over the shock of having been laid off right around the start of my third trimester of pregnancy, I’m trying to stay positive and focus on my family and health for the next couple of months. It’s been a pretty big adjustment. For the first time in my life, I don’t have a job with official working hours. Rather, I’ve been staying home full-time with my toddler and squeezing in whatever freelance work my schedule allows for. I’m also starting to tackle my seemingly never-ending list of household projects, or at least the ones that don’t require a ton of lifting, bending, and maneuvering.
There are definitely some benefits to having been laid off when I did. I can now spend more time with my son, get more sleep (I was previously waking up at 5:00 a.m. daily), and give my body a break from my formerly grueling two-hour, multi-step commute.
But I guess there’s a downside as well–namely, that I feel like I’m completely in limbo. Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 1 2014
It has been over 10 years since my journey to motherhood began. I know I am lucky that my three perfect daughters are healthy, and I am living the life I always wanted.
So why do I still cry when I hear a friend is pregnant? Why do I still cry when I see a newborn in her mother’s arms? Why do I still feel jealousy when people complain about their accidental pregnancies that came unexpectedly and proceed uneventfully?
When my husband and I decided that we were ready for kids, it seemed that the path to becoming a mother would be an easy one. I was pregnant within months. We were elated. But elation was replaced by shock as I miscarried a month into the pregnancy. This was not supposed to happen! Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 24 2014
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
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
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
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
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 →