Sep 24 2013
Kveller recently received this note from one of our readers:
I’m a 25-year-old newlywed and I love your site! I’m not a mom yet, but I very much look forward to becoming one someday and parenting with intention. The purpose of this note is to ask if one of your contributors could share things they wish they’d known before they got pregnant.
Thanks so much,
Samantha Read the rest of this entry →
Sep 16 2013
Now that my daughter is 10 months old…AH, WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN?!? (yes, yes, I understand that it was literally 10 months ago) it has really hit me that she’s been “out” longer than she was “in.”
When my husband and I found out I was pregnant, it took a little while for the reality of it all to set in. Sure, the pee sticks told me I was pregnant (yes… multiple sticks–I wanted to be sure), though I didn’t FEEL pregnant or LOOK pregnant. But I WAS pregnant. And the concept of there being a new roommate joining our home seemed forever away.
Week by week, Baby H (my married name is Heeren, my maiden and professional name is Glassberg; confusing, I know) grew from the size of a poppy seed to jicama to a honeydew. I was happy to give up alcohol, caffeine, sushi, soft cheeses, and my figure for this little avocado. Okay, let’s be honest…I wasn’t totally happy about it. There were days all I wanted to do was sit in my PJs drinking gallons upon gallons of Diet Coke to wash down a wheel of brie or two. Read the rest of this entry →
Aug 22 2013
It’s not you, it’s me.
I’m not like your high school boyfriend who heard that phrase in a romantic comedy and repeated it to you just days before taking your best friend to prom. I really mean it. Everything is me. You are wonderful. You are careful with me. You are kind.
I sit, every minute of every day, with the knowledge that I may not be able to have a family, and that even if I am able to have a family through adoption, I may not ever be pregnant, carry a pregnancy to term, give birth, glow, hurt, heal. There are moments, brief and beautiful moments, when I am so in love with my life that I forget about infertility and I feel actual joy. Those moments never happen around you. I can’t forget around you. Back when I had hope, I could find excitement in your growing belly and happy plans. Now, I just don’t know how to. Read the rest of this entry →
“Are laboring and birthing women treated abusively in the hospital?”
My first thought on reading that sentence was, “That doesn’t even make sense.” I’m familiar with abusive relationships, as well as with labor and birthing. This sentence, from an abstract of an article in the Journal of Perinatal Education entitled “Abuse in Hospital-Based Birth Settings?” piqued my curiosity with its deliberate use of a red-flag word.
I’m not sure if the word “abusive” is warranted for the doctor-patient dynamic in the L&D setting (certainly it hasn’t been within my experiences)–but I do feel, inappropriately enough, that the word “paternalistic” often is. Read the rest of this entry →
Aug 12 2013
I love my body.
I still am amazed that I can write those words and mean them.
Like many of us, I worried about my weight. However, my normal worry slowly turned into an unhealthy obsession. When I went to college, my goal didn’t involve doing well in my classes or making friends–my goal was to not gain the “Freshman 15.” I was proud if I could get through the day eating less than I did the day before. I felt a huge sense of accomplishment when I was able to resist the cake my friends enjoyed at Hillel’s Shabbat dinner. When I came home, I heard people’s worried comments of, “You’re getting too thin!!” as compliments.
My friends helped me realize I had a problem during my sophomore year and I began the treatment program that saved my life. Read the rest of this entry →
Aug 5 2013
I’ve been a type 1 diabetic since I was 3 years old. I’m now 31. I can’t pinpoint a time when anyone told me that having diabetes would affect my ability to carry a pregnancy, but I’ve always known that it would.
Even as a first-year college student, with boys on the brain and marriage barely on the periphery, I started researching other ways to have children. At 20, I wondered if I should freeze my eggs, but didn’t pursue it. I thought about adoption and struggled to confess to myself that I wasn’t sure I could truly bond to an adoptive child. Though it shamed me–and still shames me–that I don’t see myself as a candidate for adoptive motherhood, I was still looking for ways to be a parent. One day, several years ago, I encountered an article in the New York Times magazine about a woman and her husband who’d had a child via a gestational surrogate. Finding my life partner, my husband, was still far off, but I read the article several times. I suspected I’d found the right option. Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 25 2013
When I was eagerly pregnant with my first, I devoured a library copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting with an open and trusting mind. Every twinge they described I felt keenly and every rare complication was one I considered. At some point, I found myself walking out into the living room and asking my husband, “Ari, could I have an ectopic pregnancy?”
I’m pretty sure his sigh and accompanying eye-roll were the most patronizing imaginable. He said I was too far along, and we’d “for sure” know if I had an ectopic pregnancy.
At the time, Ari was right, but this winter, his certainty was misplaced.
Three years later, as we found ourselves trying to conceive baby #2, my first cycle of trying came and went. I was not concerned–it had taken eight months to conceive our eldest–and I looked forward to going to the mikvah and my next chance. Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 16 2013
Prior to becoming pregnant, life was certainly different: I got more sleep. I ate whatever I wanted. I had some wine with dinner… and if “some” wine turned into a bottle of wine, it was just a sillier night. I got more sleep. I went on a vacation on a whim. I wasn’t legally responsible for the life of another human being (yes, I am legally bound to my husband… but I don’t think I could be put in jail for not feeding him. I cook for him of my own free will… and he’d better like it!) And yes, I got more sleep.
But in addition to the expected changes, there was another big transformation. From the moment I found out I was pregnant, it was as if a button were pressed in my brain where not only was it accepted, but it was expected that I discuss all of my personal business.
I have become no holds barred in divulging TMI to any and everyone. When I was just about four months pregnant, I was put on bed rest for six weeks due to a low-lying placenta. PBJ (no, not peanut butter and jelly, PreBaby-Jessica) would have been perfectly content to just tell everyone that I was put on bed rest for medical reasons. And yet, there I was, telling everyone from my parents to my middle-aged, childless male coworkers that I had a low-lying placenta. It’s like I would look for reasons to get the word placenta into conversation. ”What a nice summer breeze. It reminds me of my low-lying placenta.” Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 5 2013
I had only just met this woman, and our conversation, as I heard it, went like this:
Her: What do you do?
Me: I’m a rabbi. I direct a national Jewish human rights organization that. . .
Her: No, no—when are you due?
Me: Oh. Beginning of July.
Her: That’s so wonderful! Do you know what you’re having? Is it your first? How are you feeling?
And so on.
Since I’ve become visibly pregnant with my second child, I’ve often felt that others perceive me not as a capable CEO and religious leader, but instead as a walking, talking uterus. Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 1 2013
I would not have thought such a guide was necessary. Certain things seem self-evident to me. But now, on my fifth pregnancy, I see that the world apparently needs some guidelines spelled out. There are really just three simple rules to dealing with pregnant women. If there are more, please let me know.
1. NEVER, EVER ask a woman, “Are you pregnant?”
This is the Golden Rule of what should be self-evident etiquette. There are NO EXCEPTIONS. No, no, never, never, no. I don’t care if you are sitting in the waiting area for the labor and delivery room at the hospital. If you’re right and she is pregnant and talking about her pregnancy, a few sentences of polite conversation will reveal it. If you’re wrong, you have accomplished nothing other than making a grown woman cry inside. Read the rest of this entry →