Within our group of friends, my husband and I were the first to get pregnant and have a kid. More than seven years later, I can now look back and see how much my friendships, particularly with my child-free friends, changed. I may not have realized it at the time, but in retrospect we experienced a few growing pains, so to speak.
When there’s any big life change — whether it’s marriage, a big move, or switch in jobs — friendships can be impacted. But there’s something about having kids that adds a little extra something to the equation. Sometimes it can be good, other times not so much. But what I’ve found to be true — both for myself and from talking to friends — is that most friendships post-baby tend to follow the same sort of pattern: Keep reading »
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 »
My pregnancy with my first daughter was blessedly uneventful; this one, however, was indeed an event. It took two families, three states, four doctors, and five attorneys to get this little girl here. And while our gestational carrier has no genetic tie to our little one, she is now our family. She gave our daughter love, safety, and nourishment for nine months. On Valentine’s Day, she gave her life and placed her in our arms. Her immediate and extended families have supported all of us along the way. They crowded the hospital room this weekend and shared in our joy. We are all bonded for life and our daughter has a bevy of grandparents, aunties, and siblings tied to her by blood and love. … Now begin the sleepless nights, anxious moments and inexpressible joy of new parenting. We strive to be worthy of the miracle we have received.
This weekend, I saw MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry tweet the above picture of herself and her newborn daughter and thought, Wait, did I just totally MISS that she was pregnant?!?! Then I incorrectly assumed she had adopted. But in a piece this morning on the MSNBC website, Melissa explained how she and her husband have in fact welcomed their baby girl via a gestational surrogate. Although Melissa was able to give birth to one daughter, who is now a tween, she has been suffering from uterine fibroids so severe that she had her uterus removed in 2008. Shortly after the hysterectomy, however, Melissa met the man she would later go on to marry, James Perry, and they wanted to have children together. They’ve been fortunate enough to have a gestational surrogate who was able to conceive their child through IVF. On Valentine’s Day, all the families welcomed a beautiful baby girl. I’m bummed MHP won’t be on Nerdland during her maternity leave, but who could want to take her away from that sweet little face? Congratulations, Melissa and James! [MSNBC]
When it comes to disciplining your children, there’s no end to the opinions you’ll receive. Be strict! Be gentle! Give them free reign! Allow them to fail! Time outs! No time outs! Punishment! Allow them to experience natural consequences! It’s enough to make any parent’s head spin. But what happens when somebody goes beyond offering discipline advice and goes straight to disciplining your child themselves?
Over on xoJane, Sydney Scott took on the unpopular opinion, “I Think It’s OK To Discipline A Stranger’s Child,” writing:
Being reprimanded by strangers isn’t anything new to me. … The rule was that as long as an adult wasn’t creepy or trying to kidnap you, they were an authority figure, and their word was law. So, it’s kind of weird for me to encounter parents who don’t want anyone else ever disciplining their child.
I get where Scott is coming from. She brings up the “It Takes a Village” mindset as part of her argument, and you’re not going to find a bigger proponent of that mindset than me. Having an only child, my husband and I intentionally made the decision to build up a solid community made up of other families with children of all ages, as well as child-free adults But there is a big difference between intentional villages that support each other in a variety of ways and strangers coming up to my child and disciplining him out of the blue. Keep reading »
Only a few weeks ago, a Texas husband successfully sued a hospital to remove his brain dead wife, Marlise Munoz, from “life support,” something they had refused to do because she was pregnant. The Fort Worth hospital believed they were following a state law which instructed them not to stop “life-sustaining treatment” for a patient who is pregnant, despite the woman’s own wishes. A judge eventually concluded that a dead person is not a patient.
A few thousand miles to the north, another family is in the exact same situation. But Dylan Benson, 32, of British Columbia is choosing to keep his brain dead pregnant wife Robyn Benson hooked up to life support until the fetus can be delivered via C-section. Keep reading »
You know Avital Norman Nathman as the columnist behind Mommie Dearest, our feminist parenting column. But Avital is also the “mom” of her first book, The Good Mother Myth: Redefining Motherhood To Fit Reality.
The anthology explores the same ground she writes about here on The Frisky, like teen parents, postpartum depression, the changing face of the American family. Contributors included maternal health advocate/model Christy Turlington Burns, New York Times Motherlode blogger K.J. Dell’Antonia, Feministing co-founder Jessica Valenti, Manifesta co-author Jennifer Baumgardner, The Radical Housewife blogger Shannon Drury, and many others.
I’m not saying this just because Avital is one of our columnists — I genuinely loved The Good Mother Myth. It provoked me to think about feminism and motherhood in ways I hadn’t before and opened my eyes more to how gender identity, race and class alter the experience. I gave Avital a call over Skype to chat about her book, myths surrounding motherhood, and how to know when you’re ready to have kids. Our interview, after the jump: Keep reading »
(Trigger Warning: Discussion of incest and childhood sexual abuse.)
The greatest gift my father gave me was a passion for art. As a pianist and composer with a Master’s degree in Musicology, he infused our home with creativity throughout my childhood. He encouraged me to find my own outlet; instead of sports teams and debate club, my extracurricular activities included violin lessons, piano lessons, drawing classes, painting classes, dance classes, theater camp, and color guard practice. You name it, I tried it.
The day we discovered my true passion was the day my father brought home a video camera. As I started to experiment with filmmaking as a medium of expression, he shared with me his advice about being an artist: “Never compromise your artistic vision for mainstream success.” “Art should never be restricted to those who can afford museum admission or concert tickets – create art that can be accessible to the public.” “Look for the art around you in every day life and draw inspiration from it.” “Let art drive everything else in your life.”
My memory of my childhood is hazy, so I can’t remember if our talks about art started before or after my father molested me. It happened so casually, so blatantly, that I assumed it was normal, loving behavior. Given the way he would constantly praise my appearance, talk openly and explicitly about sex, and encourage me to feel comfortable walking around naked in front of him, I did not realize that what happened to me was abuse until I was an adult. Today, we no longer have a relationship. I have nightmares about hearing his voice when I pick up the phone. Looking at photographs of him makes my stomach churn. But as I write this, I am listening to one of his recordings over and over again, straining to hear the words I know he will never say. Keep reading »
New mothers in the United Arab Emirates are now required by law to breastfeed their babies for two years, according to a clause in the country’s Child Rights law. Mothers who cannot nurse would be provided with a wet nurse by the government. One viewpoint held by the council is that children have the right to be breastfed, according to Islamic teaching; another compared not breastfeeding — just giving your baby formula — to child neglect. Keep reading »
When a woman attempts to find some semblance of “having it all,” she automatically becomes demonized. We can’t seem to rise up in the ranks — whether it’s in the corporate world or in politics — without our personal lives, particularly our mothering skills, being called into question.
The latest female politician in the hot seat is Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, who is running for governor on the Democratic ticket. She has recently been skewered (again) for having been both a young mother and a single mother. The focus circumventing her actual politics (like her support for women’s reproductive rights) and instead revolve around how she is as a mother. A reporter for Fusion even asked Davis to respond to a blog post by Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol Palin — seriously, her — that called Davis a woman “whose ambition and ego were so big she couldn’t have both a career and kids at the same time.” Both Jessica Luther and Carolyn Edgar wrote insightful pieces this week explaining why these allegations are egregious, erroneous, and just plain clueless.
I could spend hours picking apart what is wrong about these attacks. Instead, I’d like to note that we hardly ever see male politicians skewered for their parenting. We look past that aspect of their personal lives — for the most part, barring a mistress or financial scandal — and focus on their politics. A male politician who is also a father gets to be, first and foremost, a male politician. But a female politician who is also a mother? It’s completely different. Keep reading »
Well, well, well — what will they think of next? Would you believe there is such a thing as grandma showers? Yes, as in a party for a grandmother-to-be, when either her daughter or daughter-in-law is preggo. You know, to give her tons of attention and get her all stocked up on supplies for the baby nursery that will be set up in her house when junior comes to visit. Read more on The Stir…