Profile for Caren Lissner

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The Soapbox: In Defense Of Older Mothers

Soapbox: Mommy Wars
Calling a ceasefire on the mommy wars, because it helps no one. Read More »
Mommie Dearest...
The year in motherhood headlines. Read More »
Soapbox: Having It All
This "having it all" crap needs to stop. Read More »

Magazines seem to love writing about women’s choices, particularly if they can inspire readers to conclude that we’re making the wrong ones. Just before the new year, a much-talked about New Republic cover story focused on women and men becoming parents at an older age. The piece was written by an author who is herself an older mother and was concerned about a steady increase in birth defects and autism in recent years, although it’s been difficult so far to prove a direct correlation. Meanwhile, one of Boston Magazine’s cover stories that same month was about a growing breed of women who believed that it’s okay to have an “occasional” drink while pregnant.  Yes, that was the language — “occasional” 00 yet the subject was so provocative that it warranted top billing. Let’s not forget the May Time cover of the woman breastfeeding her three-year-old son (she didn’t appear to be drinking wine at the time). Soon after came the story in The Atlantic by Anne-Marie Slaughter that blared: “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” (The Atlantic has published at least three stories since 1995 about women facing diminishing marriage and pregnancy prospects if they wait; one of the most famous such pieces, “Marry Him,” from 2008, urged women to settle for “Mr. Good Enough” rather than waiting to have babies.)

It isn’t these stories themselves that are frustrating as much as the fact that they appear to blame women for waiting to have children – as if it’s impossible to fathom that they didn’t find decent or willing men to date at the right time. Some of the stories blame the feminist movement, as if having more freedom is simply so confounding to women that they just can’t figure out what to do with themselves. There’s a wide swath of people in this country who appear to resent the idea of women having leeway in making life choices, and hope we’ll get our comeuppance if we don’t marry the first person who holds a door for us. Keep reading »

I Have Fibroids

I Have Panic Attacks
An essay about suffering from panic attacks. Read More »
I Have OCD
An essay from a woman with obsessive compulsive disorder. Read More »
I Have Bi-Polar Disorder
I Have Bi-Polar Disease
A personal essay from a woman who is bipolar. Read More »

When I was 32, I started feeling something heavy in my stomach when I lay in bed at night. Something, I wasn’t sure what, pressing on my bladder. I knew I couldn’t be pregnant, since none of my recent dates had led anywhere special. I reasoned with myself. It was probably a urinary tract infection. I’d never had one and I figured it would be simple to fix.

I waited a few days to see if I was imagining the discomfort – and sometimes I thought I was. There were days when the pressure went away. Then it would return, and I would constantly feel like I had to urinate, throughout the day and night. I knew I had to see my gynecologist right away. Keep reading »

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