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 3 2014
I miscarried my first pregnancy.
In those days, the 1970s, nobody talked about miscarriage, so I grieved in silence. Only my husband and my mother knew.
In those days, doctors told you to wait a few months after a miscarriage before trying to get pregnant again. During those months, I found a lump in my breast.
In those days, the doctors recommended waiting a few months to see if the lump would go away by itself–maybe it was an enlarged milk duct from the pregnancy, they suggested.
It wasn’t. It was a tumor. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 2 2014
I am not going to fast on Yom Kippur.
There, I’ve said it publicly and that means I have to do it.
I want to fast, however I haven’t been allowed to fast since 1998 when I was hospitalized for anorexia nervosa. That year I remember eagerly awaiting Yom Kippur, because I knew I would be able to not eat anything for 24 hours and for once no one would give me a hard time about it. However, a few days before Yom Kippur, my friends helped me realize I had a problem with food, and once I entered treatment my doctors wouldn’t let me follow through on my plans to fast. Read the rest of this entry →
Sep 10 2014
I’m a relatively fit person. I’m far from an Olympic athlete, but I do the best I can to stay healthy and in shape. I’m also the working mother of almost 3-year-old twins, so when I’m not at work I want to be with my children (not at the gym).
My friends often ask me how I manage to stay in shape. My answer? I turn playtime into exercise time.
When my twins were babies, I’d lay them on their backs and get into a plank position with my face above theirs and hold it for as long as possible. It started off as just a few seconds, as I was recovering from a C-section, but gradually I was able to hold it longer and longer. Their coos and smiles were excellent motivation to keep holding that plank! As I got stronger I’d do tummy time right along with them, doing push-ups on the floor facing them. I’d make funny faces and talk to them as I went up and down. I’d also stand next to them and do squats–tickling them each time I went down. Their giggles definitely encouraged me to keep going. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 23 2014
I walked into a baby mega-store the other day and passed the clothes section. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something that made me stop in my tracks…the tiniest onesie 3-pack on a hanger. I couldn’t believe how small it was and checked the size: Newborn. I immediately felt a lump in my throat. My babies, my little girls, almost one year ago swam in the enormity of newborn onesies. I was momentarily stunned at the recollection of how small they had been and got ferklempt as I realized how far they have come in the last year.
Almost a year ago, at 35 weeks, I was on bed rest with pre-eclampsia. My blood pressure flirted with dangerous territory, and after a few weeks of “wait and see,” the scales finally flipped–it was safer for the twins to come out than to stay in. To this day I don’t have the words to express how worried I was from the moment that decision was made until the I heard my babies cry just a mere two hours later. Terrified is too mild a word.
Pepper arrived first. They opened my womb and we could hear her shriek as soon as oxygen hit her lungs. We named her well, I thought to myself. Elora arrived a minute later, and her healthy cry allowed me to take a deep breath of relief, a breath I felt as though I had held for 35 weeks. Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 25 2014
It’s hard to admit the truth. But I can no longer hide behind “pregnancy brain” or “I am still within the first year of twins.” I am absent-minded, cannot remember anything past 22 seconds ago, and incapable of talking about any non-mommy subject in depth. Motherhood has dumbed me down.
Ask me how I am doing and I am likely to answer with a blank stare while I process your question. I don’t have time to exercise my body, much less my brain! And I fear it is becoming embarrassingly obvious to everyone around me.
I read headlines, not books. That is all I have time for. But I keep buying books in the hopes I will be able to read them someday. Although, I wonder if all those parenting books for babies and toddlers will be relevant if I don’t read them until my kids are in high school. If I do manage to get past a headline, I rarely venture beyond the first two sentences. And then I am left frustrated, wanting to know the full story. I can ask my husband for the Cliff Notes version, but we will inevitably be interrupted by one of our three adorable and needy children. So I get fractions of sentences from him, and more often than not I will forget what we were talking about once the interruption has been dealt with. Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 7 2014
This post is part of our Torah commentary series through the perspective of a mother. This Shabbat we read Parashat Tetzaveh. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.
I’d like to say that I’m the kind of woman who’s never given much thought to clothing and what I wear. I’d like to say that I’ve always just sort of thrown something on, and effortlessly, look pulled together all the time, or don’t, but either way, no matter. I’d like to remember my child-self as one who didn’t think tights were scratchy, who didn’t notice if her undershirt was tucked in, who didn’t have an obsessive penchant for the colors purple and orange, who didn’t mind wearing headbands, two-piece bathing suits, or ankle socks.
I’d like to say that I was and still am highly unselfconscious.
Except I am totally self-conscious, and have always been a bit of a nut when it comes to clothes. I’m not talking in a clotheshorse kind of way, where I’m off spending money on labels and status pieces. No, I’m talking about the much more existential and far less useful ways in which I obsess about how I look. I’ve never worn a bikini, I don’t really enjoy being photographed, and often notice myself fidgeting–with my clothing, my hair, whatever. While my neuroses are (mostly) in check, a healthy dose of anxiety runs through my bloodstream at all times, just to keep me on my toes. And often, this delightful kind of crazy rears its ugly head as I try and dress myself on any given day. Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 19 2013
I woke up sounding like a frog again. Remnants from my cold on Thanksgiving, I suppose. But as I sit here in bed, sipping my coffee that my husband has brought me, with my son ensconced in my lap playing on his iPad, my thoughts are not on this nasty scratchy throat I cannot get rid of, but rather, on how, for the first time in a long time, I feel like I have done something right in this world of parenting. That somehow, something I did, or didn’t do, was actually a good decision. The sacrifice was worth it. My children, at this exact moment, are all happy.
I don’t recall this feeling. It is foreign to me. But it feels damn good.
You see, my 3-year-old son has never liked to sleep. Never even seemed to actually need sleep. At least not like all the other kids I know. Parents would roll their eyes at me when I said he didn’t go to sleep at night until 10 or 11 p.m. Surely I must be a terrible parent, or a push-over, I could see their judgment in their eyes. But his teachers and caregivers have continuously told us he has more energy than any other child in his class. Whether or not that is a good thing is up for debate, but clearly, not sleeping 12 hours a night worked just fine for him. Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 16 2013
Israeli-American photographer Elinor Carucci’s third photography book, released this past Setpember, is titled “Mother.” It’s an extremely beautiful, raw, and inspiring collection of photographs exploring Elinor’s pregnancy, birth, and the early childhood of her twins, Emmanuelle and Eden.
We got a chance to chat with the talented photographer on her inspiration for the book, what it was like to constantly photograph her children, and reconciling her career and her role as a parent. Want to get your hands on this beautiful book? Enter our giveaway at the bottom of this post.
What was your original inspiration for a book of photography about motherhood?
The inspiration was motherhood. It’s as simple as that. The surprising thing for me was how little was actually portrayed about motherhood in the arts and photography. I feel that we’ve seen a lot of perfect celebrity photographs, and even in the history of art, a lot of Madonna and child images that, in a way, show a certain aspect of motherhood but definitely don’t go deep into the complexity of what it is to be a mother, to be a father, to be a parent. The inspiration was the intensity and the richness of the emotions and feelings, the complexity of the relationships that I experienced as a mother, and how much they were intertwined with one another and happening almost side by side, how intense of an experience it is. It is beautiful and joyful and magical and difficult and scary and full of failures and successes. It’s really a microcosm of everything we experience and feel, all of the emotions we have at once. The inspiration was to try to depict it the way I felt it, which was very rich and complex. Read the rest of this entry →