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Mar 11 2014

When Your Friend is Pregnant, Sometimes it Hurts

By at 2:13 pm

pregnant

“I’ve been reluctant to write this email and I keep putting it off.”

When you are not able to get pregnant and you get an email with that as the opening line, you know exactly what is coming.

“Even though I know you will be happy for us and excited, I know part of you will be sad. So I wanted to give you time to digest this on your own, rather than springing it on you in person. I know you are happy for us. I know that you are happy for so many people. But I also know it’s hard and don’t expect this kind of news to be easy.”

When my friend of 20 years told me she was pregnant, I felt a lot of things, including true happiness for her. But what I felt most was appreciation that she too was navigating her own balancing act. Read the rest of this entry →

Getting Rid of Stuff is Hard, Especially When it Tells a Story

By at 12:28 pm

costumes

My husband and I have been in our house for almost seven years now. After moving houses (all on the island, which has a dearth of year-round rentals) a total of seven times in our first two years here and resisting the accumulation of a whole lot of stuff (besides the necessities, including a complete menagerie of musical instruments), we’ve been able to relax, spread out and acquire.

We sort through things annually and donate to Goodwill or bring things to our town transfer station, which functions as an on-going free swap meet as well as a dump and recycling station. My husband, who genuinely fears and dreads clutter, will suddenly cave to impulses requiring him to get rid of a lot of mugs at once. But still, the stuff has piled up, in the basement and especially in the office/guest room that will become the baby’s room.

Suddenly, we had to make room for a whole other human being in our house. And she comes with her own stuff. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 4 2014

Breaking News: ScarJo is Preggers! Mazal Tov!

By at 1:43 pm

scarjo

We called it! In 2010, though she was not yet a mom, Scarlett managed to make Kveller’s Top 20 Most Stylish Jewish Mommies in History.

Suzie Felber wrote:

She grew up without much money in New York City, is GQ’s woman of the year, does all sorts of charity works and was, until very recently,  married to People Magazine’s Sexiest Man 2010.  OK fine, she doesn’t have kids, so probably doesn’t count.  But come on — tick tock — she’s going to be on this list (along with Alicia Silverstone) in no time flat. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 24 2014

In Defense of Overachieving “Good Mommies”

By at 11:37 am

evil-eye

When I read about the Evil Eye as a kid, I imagined it as an eye in the sky, ready to glare at anyone who boasted of their accomplishments or counted their chickens before they hatched. But the Evil Eye is, and always has been, other people.

Salon.com recently published an essay by (Kveller contributor) Elissa Strauss discussing the new tyranny of the “bad mommy”:

Instead, today’s bad mommies are as smug, and even sometimes smugger, than those good mommies they aimed to resist. These parents, products of a culture that thinks it is just so hilarious to tell parents to “Shut the Fuck Up” while telling their kids to “Go the Fuck to Sleep,” are the new sanctimommies. These women take real delight in being the “worst mom in the world,” “scary mommy,” the “world’s worst mom,” “bad mom” and  “bad mommy.” Most of these women don’t really consider themselves bad moms (I doubt anyone who writes regularly about being a “bad” mom could really possibly be one), but instead take the position as a way to assert their superiority to the “good ones.” Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 21 2014

Since Becoming Pregnant, I’ve Given Myself Permission to Recline

By at 12:44 pm

permission-to-relax

The surprising thing about living on an island is just how much there is to do. Once my husband and I bought a house and made a long-term commitment to life on North Haven, we became a hot commodity. In addition to our jobs (teaching for me, plumbing and now programming at our community center for my husband), we serve in town government, volunteer with the ambulance crew, teach music lessons, and attempt to maintain a social life. I direct three or four plays each year, for which my husband either acts or does the sound design or both. I teach Pilates at the Y, and in the summer, ostensibly my time off, I open a small bakery and breakfast café.

That’s the way we like it. Neither of us is at our best with a lot of leisure time, and it’s not like there are a lot of places to go here to have a meal out or see a show. Typically if we have downtime at the same time we’ll go for a long walk, snowshoe, or kayak. Maybe we’ll learn a new piece of music or write and record a song. My workday ends at noon on Friday, and when I don’t have to get on the ferry for a prenatal checkup, I make a point of cleaning the bathrooms. Since sitting gets such a bad rap these days, with articles popping up all over the Internet claiming it’s as bad for you as smoking, being busy seems to make a lot of sense. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 30 2014

The Calm Before the Same-Sex Parenting Storm

By at 11:52 am

clock

My wife and I are planning to start trying to conceive in March, and suddenly, two months or less out, I find myself trying to freeze time. I don’t mean feeling immobilized or freaking out and not wanting that time to come. I mean that I am living in and enjoying every moment until then.

I’ve spent the past couple years agonizing over when we could have a baby. Not every second, of course. We were occupied with house-hunting, moving in and settling in, my conversion to Judaism. A lot of wonderful things have been happening, and we’ve had a great first couple of years of marriage. But I’ve also been acutely aware throughout of our financial struggles and goals as well as the complicated and expensive process of family-building for us as a same-sex couple, and that’s kept conception always just past the horizon. Now we have a realistic time frame and it’s right around the corner!

A first consultation and then following up on some initial fertility issues kept us busy and distracted throughout late fall and early winter. Now we’re just kind of…waiting. Waiting to get a little more money for this very expensive process so we don’t have to dip into savings or charge it or go on a payment plan. Waiting for our upcoming mandatory counseling session so we can be approved to order sperm.

And in the meantime, I am reveling in the smallest, sweetest details of domestic marital bliss. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 29 2014

How Pete Seeger Calmed My Pregnancy Fears

By at 2:08 pm

pete seeger

As a mom, there have only been a handful of times I have let my children see me cry. Yesterday, when I learned of the death of the great Pete Seeger, was one of those times. When I tried to explain who he was and some of the things he stood for, I could not complete my sentences. So I turned to YouTube and let Pete speak and sing for himself. Within minutes, my 4-year-old was dancing to “If I Had a Hammer,” and then we were all singing “We Are Not Afraid, To-day.” And of course, since we are farmers,“Inch by Inch.”

Meanwhile, my family and friends started sharing their personal Pete Seeger stories. My father told me about seeing him play near his cousins’ New Jersey chicken farm when he was a boy. My husband’s mother recalled seeing Pete play concerts at Jewish Community Centers near her home in Bayonne, New Jersey, during the 1950s when he was black-listed and few would hire him. My friend’s parents had a first date at a Pete Seeger concert. Other people sailed with him on the Clearwater or sang with him at summer camp, a political rally, or on a street corner.

This is my Pete story. I was raised on his music and my parents still keep his CDs on pretty much continuous loop in their house. When I was pregnant with my son seven years ago, I had placenta previa, a medical term for a low-lying placenta. The doctors said I would need a C-section if things did not change. I got even more worried when I had another ultrasound and the doctor was questioning whether the placenta was healthy in general. This was late in my pregnancy and that night I had a dream. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 28 2014

Exercising While Pregnant, Pee Breaks and All

By at 9:29 am

pregnant woman lifting weights

I was a little late to the exercise game. When I lived in Boston, I walked nearly everywhere. Between that, my relative youth, and living in graduate student poverty, I stayed fighting trim. After moving to North Haven, a place with no public transportation and vast distances between things, I bought a car and embarked on a sedentary lifestyle. After a few years essentially without a social life, where most evenings were spent on the couch eating cheese and crackers and watching Netflix, I had become downright zaftig.

I’m only 4’10”. I don’t have many places to put excess. Once my expansion had finally sunk in–thanks to an inadvertently exposed midriff in a family photo–I embarked on a lifestyle change. From a hilarious aerobics class to a new found love of yoga, Pilates, and eventually running, I went from couch to half marathon in about as much time as it had taken me to merge with the couch in the first place.

When I became pregnant, I was determined to keep up the good work. For a few weeks after the two blue lines, I took the dog out for runs. While usually we’re good for a few miles (even though his legs are only three inches long), I found myself breaking out in flop sweats after the first half mile. We toned it down to walks pretty quickly. As I entered the doldrums of the first trimester, even walks became slogs. My husband started having to take the dog for his exercise, while I trudged behind. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 15 2014

What My Baby’s In Utero Music Tastes Say About Her (And Me)

By at 9:53 am

music

The other night, after dinner, my husband and I decided to play music for the fetus. We picked out a few of our favorite records, hooked a pair of studio monitor headphones into the record player, and began our baby’s musical education.

I’m the music teacher of my rural Maine island’s tiny k-12 public school and my husband and I are both musicians. We have a recording studio in our house, and spend all day surrounded by music, from beginner band to my husband unwinding with his nylon string guitar. I’m sure some of that filters through the amniotic sac and impacts the baby’s day, but we wanted to tailor a musical interlude to the baby.

I reclined on the couch and stretched the headphones across my 22-week belly. First up: Kraftwerk, Radio-Activity. We waited until the spoken introduction–a little ominous, I felt, was over and switched the audio into the headphones. The baby was quiet and still until the bass synth kicked in. She kicked, too, nailing the right headphone dead on. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 14 2014

Top 10 Ways to Respond to People Who Ask if You’re Pregnant (When You’re Not)

By at 1:50 pm

pregnantcard

The other day in the office we got talking about how awful it is when someone audaciously asks you if you’re pregnant…when you’re not. Seriously, I don’t even ask people when they’re 8 months pregnant, just because… just because! There’s an unspoken rule to keep your “mazels” or probes on pregnancy to yourself until the mama feels like telling you.

Yesterday we posted a question on our FacebookThat awkward moment when somebody asks if you’re pregnant and you are most definitely not… what’s the best way to respond to this?

You all came up with so many hilarious responses, we decided to choose 10 of our favorites. Without further ado…

1. “It’s not appropriate to ask a woman if she is pregnant even if she is crowning.”

2. “Yes… It’s your husband’s!”

3. “Stroke your tummy and say ‘food baby.’” Read the rest of this entry →

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