Jun 4 2013
What makes a Jewish mother?
Jokes aside, a Jewish mother is a Jewish woman who mothers a Jew. This seems simple. Apparently, it isn’t.
What if, Caren Chesler posited not-so-hypothetically in today’s New York Times, a Jewish couple tries to have a baby through a donor egg–and the donor of the egg isn’t Jewish? This was Chesler’s situation. Since the 1990s, Chesler writes, Jewish authorities have agreed that the bearing mother, not the woman providing the gametes, is to be considered as the mother in this situation. But there are now rabbis in Israel voicing the idea that if the egg donor is not Jewish, then neither is the child until the child is converted, regardless of the mother’s religion. Read the rest of this entry →
May 17 2013
So I was reading The Week this past week and I saw an article about Tylenol. I guess a study was recently done proving that Tylenol doesn’t only help with physical pain, but also existential pain or angst. My first thought was, “Damn, why didn’t I find out about that two weeks ago!”
You see, my wife is due to give birth to our second child (a girl) June 1. But really, we have a sneaking suspicion that it’s going to be any day now. Wait. Back up. SHE has a sneaking suspicion that it’s going to be any day now, but I trust her knowledge of her own body. Read the rest of this entry →
May 1 2013
Ten years ago, just before I turned 30, I left my nuchal appointment for my first child, went straight to my work computer, and quickly banged out an “I’m Going To Be A Mother!” email to send to my 5,000 closest friends.
Few of my friends back then were married, let alone having kids. I was a pioneer (I later went on to become a pioneer among my peers in divorce, of course), and an oblivious one. It didn’t occur to me that other people’s reaction to my news could possibly be anything but happiness (mildly uncomprehending happiness, perhaps, but happiness nonetheless). Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 25 2013
Well, here I am, in the home stretch of what seems like a two-year journey. The twins will be arriving soon.
I’m so large and awkward I feel like a freak of nature. My lungs are being crushed and several times a day I cannot catch my breath. If my husband or son gets too close I feel claustrophobic and can’t breathe. I have so little space left inside of me that I need to compensate by making more space around me.
I wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air, massaging my leg cramps (if I can actually find a way to reach them), and trying to find a comfortable position with tears of frustration and insomnia running down my face. Carrying two babies is frightfully hard and during those moments alone in the dark, I feel scared of everything. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 9 2013
Jennifer Gilmore’s new novel, The Mothers–about a couple’s journey through adoption–is out today! Check it out here.
The call from my sister came in the afternoon. I remember the day: bright robin’s egg blue, early spring.
“What’s wrong?” I said. She and I emailed and texted 30 times a day, but unannounced phone calls indicated alarm.
“I’m just going to tell you. I’m going to be as honest as possible. I’m pregnant,” she said. “It’s early, so I’m not telling anyone else.”
“You’re kidding!” I had been begging my sister to try to have a child–she was already 35–so that she and her husband would not go through any of the heartache my husband and I had endured in our six years of trying to have a baby. By then we were in the grueling and chaotic process of domestic adoption.
“No,” she said.
“Wow. That’s great news,” I said. “I’m glad you let me know.” I wanted to be thrilled for my sister, but instead I felt what was becoming a common emotion: that I had failed. Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 19 2013
I became a mother the same way I’ve reached many of life’s big milestones: without having planned to do so. Having been blessed with attention deficit disorder (diagnosed) and an assertiveness deficiency (in my own words), I’ve frequently sought others to make decisions on my behalf: my parents dictated where I went to college; my husband–well, he asked me to marry him; my career has meandered as I simply take whatever work makes itself available. I’ve never regretted sitting in the passenger’s seat.
And so it was with becoming a mother. After discovering that the wives of two of his coworkers were expecting, my husband began, with increasing regularity, to attempt discussions about our future. But when he realized that I would not drop my non-committal stance, he took matters into his own hands. On New Year’s Eve, at a hotel in New Mexico, I was giddily tipsy, and he saw his window of opportunity. Four weeks later, I saw the double stripe. Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 11 2013
Sometimes it’s best not to solicit advice.
Like when you’re 37 and pregnant, for example, and you can’t decide whether or not to do an amniocentesis. Hypothetically. And your gut tells you the baby is fine. And your screening scores tell you, really, the baby is fine. But you ask your friends. And everyone has a story about this one who miscarried because of the amnio and that one who had a baby with Downs Syndrome even though the Nuchal Translucency reported favorable odds. And then your judgment is clouded by conflicting stories instead of your own good sense. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 29 2013
Every year, at the end of January, I feel a little sad. This began in 1997, when I was nearly 11 weeks into my second pregnancy and I miscarried.
There were so many reasons not to be sad–to be hopeful–then. I’d already enjoyed an unremarkable, full-term pregnancy, which culminated in the relatively easy birth of a healthy child. My daughter, a spunky toddler at 2 years old, was a source of great joy in my life. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 18 2013
This past week I celebrated my third wedding anniversary. Since I was sick and confined to bed, I had time to think about these last few years, how I got to where I am today, and how unlikely a journey it has been…
Remember when you were little and you dreamed your life would be a fairy tale? I forgot about those dreams until a few years ago. It was Memorial Day weekend in 2009 and after a dry spell with dating, I was on a roll. Great date on Friday night! Great date on Saturday night! Little did I know that Sunday night would change my life forever. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 29 2012
We truly are an entitlement-driven culture.
I’m not talking about welfare or tax breaks–I’m talking about people feeling entitled to KNOW things they have no business knowing. I could blame it on the internet, or too much information, or Facebook for encouraging over-sharing. Truthfully, though, this sort of butting in happened waaaay before the internet age made everyone experts on any number of things, including medicine, politics, and entertainment. My favorite examples, though, involve knowing (and judging) someone else’s childbearing decisions. Read the rest of this entry →