Last summer, I had my first panic attack, and it was induced by children.
By the way, I don’t have any kids.
During an office baby shower, a female colleague about 15 years my senior reminded me that I was next, since I was married, 27, and only had an estimated 12 percent of my eggs left. Highly inappropriate? Hells to the yes. And effective. It freaked me out.
Four months later, I was having a particularly rough morning at work. I couldn’t stop getting interrupted and my to-do list kept getting longer. I suddenly felt massively overwhelmed. My brain went into a crazy-spiral: If I can’t get my work done today, I can’t get home and write the screenplay of the century, and it’ll take me forever to become the Nora Ephron of my generation, and I will be letting down every woman and brown person in America by not unleashing my voice to the masses, and I won’t be able to have a baby until there’s at least some small sign that I could accomplish that, because I’m not trying to be some resentful, broke mom with “dreams.”
I blacked out at my desk for a minute, popped an Advil and sat in a nearby park for an hour inhaling an economy-sized bag of popcorn.
That’s what you’re supposed to do, right? Keep reading »
Pop star Shakira gave birth to her son, Milan, back in January. Since then, she’s been hard at work promoting her new gig as a judge on the NBC show, “The Voice.” As part of that promotion, Shakira spoke with US Weekly and weighed in with some thoughts on motherhood:
On getting her pre-baby body back: ”I mean, I guess our mothers and grandmothers weren’t under the pressure that women of today are after delivering a baby. My dad says that there’s nothing better than a little meat on the bone! He likes my mom a little chubby. So she was never under the pressure to get back to her old weight, and she never did, actually! But it’s different, I have a career, and that’s the only part that’s been a bit stressful because I knew that I’d have to come back here to do ‘The Voice’ two months after I delivered a baby. I didn’t have my four months maternity like every woman on Earth has. So I’m not trying to complain, but it’s been a process full of challenges in my life. I’m still a few pounds over! Zumba has been pretty great for me even during pregnancy. I did it almost until the end.”
Sigh. That’s a whole lot to unpack. First, I have to admit to busting out a cackling laugh at Shakira’s seemingly naive lament over not having her “four months maternity like every woman on earth has.” But then I remembered Shakira is Colombian and — oh yeah — it’s pretty much just the United States that is completely screwed up when it comes to mandated paid maternity leave. I’ve ranted about this before, but honestly, it never gets old. The U.S. is one of only four (FOUR!) other countries in the world that does not provide any sort of mandated paid maternity (or family) leave. Keep reading »
In one of the most horrifically bizarre cases we’ve heard in a while, a woman in London, England, attempted to have her 14-year-old daughter impregnated so she could have another child. The woman, a single mother of three adopted children, wanted to adopt a fourth child, but the courts denied her request. In response, the unnamed woman attempted to have her 14-year-old daughter inseminated with donor sperm.
The initial attempt failed, but the daughter eventually became pregnant at 16, with the aid of artificial insemination. In a Mother’s Day card she gave her mother in 2009, the girl even included a photo of a positive pregnancy test, and promised her mother she would give her the baby she desired. The mother had undergone an elective sterilization in response to a medical condition she had and could not have children of her own. Keep reading »
If you have been in a one mile radius of me anytime in the past few weeks, you have probably heard me tell you all about how I love “Call The Midwife,” mention I’m going home to watch “Call The Midwife,” or suggest you watch “Call The Midwife.” That is because — yup — I am obsessed with the PBS drama “Call The Midwife.”
The premise is this: Jenny Lee (actress Jessica Raine) is a 22-year-old midwife in the 1950s hired for her first nursing job in an impoverished section of London’s East End. She’s had a privileged, sheltered upbringing and the poverty she sees in Poplar is like nothing she’s ever experienced. Nurse Jenny lives at Nonnatus House, a convent run by nuns who are also nurses, with three of her other 20something midwives: Nurse Trixie is the house glamour girl who loves boys, dancing and gossip; Nurse Cynthia is the thoughtful, quiet one, and Chummy is a gawky, awkward nurse from a titled family who is an embarrassment to her parents but finally finds a place in life working amongst the poor. Keep reading »
Amnesty International has warned that a 22-year-old woman is going to die if the government of El Salvador does not give her a lifesaving abortion. Abortion is illegal in the country under all circumstances, even to save the life of the mother. Keep reading »
Well, of course, someone had to take some photos of me at a party, wearing my favorite dress (should I just stop wearing the clothes I love to events where there might photos taken?), bulky, lopsided, unfortunately proportioned, and my pregnant beauty bubble, so to awkwardly speak, was popped.
No matter how many times I tell myself patiently, firmly, “NO. Don’t pay attention, the photo is lying!” there’s that part of my mind that goes “But this is the truth! THE TERRIBLE TRUTH IN A RANDOM, IMPERSONAL UNIVERSE WITHOUT A GOD.” My new tactic is better, I think. I tell myself, “So what? So what if I’m ugly?” And that is always more helpful. But at that particular moment there had been much talk of beautiful women, much instant evaluation around me of women as either pretty or dismissible, and it seemed as though it did matter, at least enough. Because even if it’s out of sheer laziness or habit or nothing important or just in passing, people seem to talk about the way women look first, and constantly, and always. Keep reading »
This post contains spoilers!
Sunday nights are no longer full of Monday dread. I have something to look forward to at the very end of the weekend: a mind-bending episode of “Mad Men.” The show you love, full of characters you hate, and issues you hope to only deal with through barrier of your TV screen: infidelity, corporate hell, violence, and mortality.
For an office drama centered around a 1960s advertising agency, “Mad Men” has tackled very nuanced issues that remain relevant topics in our day and age. Anyone who watches the show knows the terrible way that women are treated: sexual harassment, rape, sexism, domestic violence, infidelity. And as of Sunday, all of the major female characters have experienced pregnancy. Keep reading »
“Can I touch your belly?” my friend squealed, rushing towards it, hands outstretched.
Then she stopped in her tracks. “I mean,” she said, suddenly bashful, “only if it’s okay, of course! Are you letting people?”
I am five months pregnant. And I keep reading on the various boards and sites where all of the talk is pregnancy-related (it feels pretty trashy, honestly, but I’m a little addicted to babycenter.com) about how this is the time when everyone starts wanting to touch your belly. It’s true, this is definitely that time. BUT, boards and sites immediately clarify, you don’t have to let them.
This point is very important.
Actually, reading current pregnancy forums gives one the impression that for most of history, pregnant women’s bellies were just constantly being groped by grabby, entitled strangers on public transportation and in the grocery store, and then finally we got feminism, and then, thank god, AT LAST, we could say, with the deepest relief, “Get your hands off my pregnancy, jackass!” Keep reading »