They say that your life completely changes when you have a baby. That this overwhelming sense of love makes you forget all of the sleepless nights and dirty diapers, the temper tantrums and crayon marks on the freshly-painted walls. Many new mothers declare that this is what they were meant to do: bring another life into this world. I suppose this is how I feel, too — except that I’m not a mom yet.
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always known that I wanted to be a mother. I used to create elaborate scenarios with my dolls as my “babies” where I was their doting mother. When I was around 14, I began babysitting for one of the local church’s childcare centers a few Sundays a month; I’d spend a couple of hours watching after babies and toddlers while their parents attended services. I bounced smiling babies on my knees, fed them bottles as they looked up at me with their big eyes, and patted their backs and sang to them as they cried. In college I made extra money by nannying for a family during the summer. I’d travel with them and their three small children, taking care of them practically 24/7. At night I was regularly woken up because of the two-year-old’s nightmares. My alarm clock was the baby wailing for his first morning bottle. But even though they weren’t my kids, I felt that emotional tug deep inside my chest. Children make me feel a peaceful happiness — like you’re living in a world where everything is pure and beautiful. Keep reading »
The first few months that I had my dog Lucca were rough. I adored her, make no mistake, but training a two-month-old puppy is no joke. I would set my alarm for the middle of the night so I could walk her, as her tiny bladder wasn’t yet prepared to hold it all night. And while I was crate-training her (a fantastic method, by the way), she had more than a few bathroom accidents indoors. One time she peed on my bed three times in one day, always after I had washed the sheets from the previous accident. The impact on my social life took some getting used to as well; she needed to be walked right after work, which meant I had to skip happy hour regularly, and I couldn’t stay out late much those first few months either. But you know what? She grew up and became better trained and, most of all, I adapted. It really wasn’t a big deal. Very quickly I realized I couldn’t imagine my life before her or without her. She’s my baby.
Of course, she’s not a real baby. I want one of those very, very badly and am hoping to have a child of my own in the next few years, either with a partner or “Murphy Brown”-style. Regardless of how it happens, the child I have will be joining a family unit that includes Lucca. I’ve written about how it’s hard to imagine loving any creature as much as I love Lucca, but I also inherently understand the love for my child will be “bigger” or at the very least different. But I do not expect my love for Lucca to lessen. And I know I won’t ever reach the point of not loving her, despite what Allison Benedikt, a dog owner and mom of three, writes in her Slate essay advising future parents to never get a dog. Keep reading »
Why anyone would pay 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney money to talk about anything, I don’t know, but I guess it’s mutually beneficial. He has to pay the bills on that car-elevator somehow. Anyway, quoting from the book of Luke in the Bible, Romney encouraged the recent grads of Southern Virginia University to “launch out into the deep.” But what exactly did this mean? Find work that you love? Pay off those student loans before Sallie Mae hunts you down like a dog?
She feels pressured to either get married or break up. Read More »
My sister is the good daughter. My sister was kind enough to get married and procreate. She’s not only doing the species a favor, but my parents as well. My parents had always wanted to be grandparents to a couple of rascals. My sister gave them two: Jackson and Elliot. My parents are obsessed with them.
Just as it was when my sister and I were little, there’s nothing in the world my parents won’t do for Jackson and Elliot. My mother has completely re-centered her life around them and refuses to miss a holiday or birthday. I spent Christmas on the couch by myself, while my mom catered to my sister’s kids every whim in Colorado. “That was the choice you made,” my mother said. I’m not sure what choice she’s talking about — the one where I decided to move to New York City to pursue writing, or the one where I thought going to Colorado for Christmas would be the pits. We both hung up on each other before we could get into a lengthy discussion and ruin the holiday even more. Besides, being on the phone with me was tearing her away from the grandkids, and we can’t have that, can we?
Rick Santorum can kiss this single, working mother's ass. Read More »
Go to the parenting section of any bookstore and there are hundreds of thousands of pages to read on how to do it and setting expectations for what the experiences should be like. Very few tackle the question of why a person, in particular a woman, should/would become a parent, and even fewer from a feminist perspective. That’s why I was so excited to read Jessica Valenti’s new book on the subject, Why Have Kids?: A New Mom Explores The Truth About Parenting And Happiness. Valenti is the founder of the feminist blog Feministing and author of a number of books, including The Purity Myth and Full Frontal Feminism, as well as a first-time mom to daughter Layla. Why Have Kids? is an incredibly well-researched look at the reality of parenting in America, in particular how having a child affects relationships, career aspirations, and financial security, using statistics, interviews with real women, and Valenti’s own experience as a guide. As someone who definitely does want kids, the book was still incredibly eye-opening, not to mention a total page-turner — I devoured it in a day! I was excited about getting to interview Valenti myself. Check out my Q&A with her — and enter to win a copy of Why Have Kids? and/or a Kindle Fire – after the jump! Keep reading »
The first time I bought a pregnancy test I was 17. I’d gotten my period but was so new at the whole sex thing, not to mention paranoid, that I wanted to be sure. We hadn’t used condoms, but instead a small, see-through film that hardly seemed like it was going to do its job. I used it anyway because I was 17, and he was hot, not to mention 31, so I figured he knew what he was talking about. I wasn’t pregnant, but taking that test set the tone for every other pregnancy test I’ve taken, including one last weekend.
The biggest difference for me between taking a pregnancy test at 17 and 36 wasn’t so much the technology as the fact that I’m in a vastly different place than I was then. I know more about sex, relationships and myself, and while at 17, I was pretty sure I would get an abortion if a test were positive, now I’m almost certain I wouldn’t. I was scared, but not as scared as I’d been at 17. Another difference is that at the moment, I don’t have health insurance—bad, I know, and after this scare I’m joining the Freelancer’s Union and getting health insurance ASAP. Keep reading »
Wendy Williams, host of GSN’s new show, “Love Triangle,” holds what might be a kind of controversial opinion about celeb couple Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore. Though she thinks they make a nice couple, she wishes Demi hadn’t married Ashton because, at the end of the day, she won’t be able to give him children of his own. Now, I am pretty sure Wendy does not have a second job as Demi’s OB-GYN, so I’m going to take her assessment of Demi’s current reproductive capabilities with a grain of salt. I also am pretty sure she doesn’t hold a third job as the couple’s marriage counselor and is thus privy to their discussions — or lack thereof — about having a baby. And I don’t think it’s fair for her to assume that just because Ashton is from the midwest, he must want to procreate. All that being said, Wendy’s judgments about the seemingly happy couple do bring up a subject that us lesser famous folks can discuss — would you commit to someone who didn’t share your views on having kids?
I gotta say, even though I’m rarely surprised when a celebrity couple splits, I was pretty shocked when “Dexter”‘s Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter announced they were divorcing. They’d only been married a couple years! They weathered through his battle with cancer! Surely they had the stuff that makes relationships survive? Apparently not. According to the National Enquirer (I know, a dubious source), after his cancer went into remission, Hall decided he no longer wanted to have children, a dealbreaker for Carpenter. If this is true, how sad. Imagine going into a long-term relationship/marriage with someone, agreeing on such a key aspect of where you see your lives headed together, only to have your partner up and change their mind one day. Keep reading »
I was sickeningly shocked when I heard about Michele Kalina, the Pennsylvania woman who killed four of her newborn babies after getting pregnant as a result of a series of extramarital affairs.
But the question on everyone’s lips seems to be: How did she manage to hide all of those pregnancies?! Even from the people closest to her? Wouldn’t her husband — or her daughter — notice as her stomach grew and grew? How in the world, they keep asking, does a woman hide a pregnancy?
While the outcome of my story isn’t nearly as horrific, I personally know how and why you can: Twelve years ago, I was that woman. Read more … Keep reading »