Sometime in the not so distant past, I needed to take the morning-after pill. I was a 38-year-old mother of a three-year-old; I was in a stable marriage. We both had advanced degrees and careers, and had planned out my first pregnancy with charts and ovulation kits. Most of my friends were onto their second children. I was, in other words, not necessarily the kind of woman you might picture when you think of Plan B.
Read on at Motherwell Magazine.
The jealousy peaked when the second round of pregnancy announcements started to roll in. By then my daughter was 2 and I was 37, but neither my husband nor I had broached the subject of a second child. Instead, my tactics were cheap, comments lobbed at inopportune moments: I mentioned my (old) age and boy names I liked, and reminded him that we had to “get it done” before we left Europe, our temporary (family-friendly) home. When I got salmonella poisoning from eating bad chicken, I secretly hoped my symptoms meant I was pregnant. My husband prayed they didn’t.
Our avoidance of the discussion, followed by our inability to agree on trying for another, was heartbreaking. It seemed to symbolize some fundamental rift in our marriage: Almost everyone we knew had — or was trying for — more than one child. Why couldn’t we handle it, too?
I wrote this whopper for The Cut. Please read on here.
I had a baby in Europe (a million and a half years ago)! I finally wrote about it all for The Cut. Woohoooooooooooooooo! (Also now you can see how many tabs I regularly keep open. Also how retro my baby was.)
I wrote a piece
that I feared would offend everyone I know about life as an expat in Vienna. Luckily no one has written me hate mail who was offended has told me so! Yay!
(Life as an expat: Lots of dirty baby clothes. No dryer.)
When my husband and I moved to Vienna, Austria, two years ago, we were frequently set up on friend dates. This is par for the course for a new expat — someone hears that you’ve moved to some faraway city, and their coworker’s cat’s former owner’s cousin always knows someone who — can you believe it? — just happens to be your neighbor. No matter how outlandish the setup — they were born-again Christians or Hassidic Jews, they were hated by the very people who’d put us in touch — we always went.
After these meetings, I would invariably turn to my husband and say: We’d never be friends with these people in real life.
Real life: this was my phrase. Not in New York, where I had lived for 12 years, or the vague back home, but in real life, as though I had skipped a track and found myself in a different, parallel universe.
Read the rest on Medium!
It’s October! Which means that two years ago (!), right around this time, I
thought I had the stomach flu found out that I was pregnant. It was a pretty miserable miraculous time; I felt very confused about the fact that I wasn’t supposed to share the news until I hit 12 or 13 weeks, when the pregnancy was deemed “viable.” So between watching serial episodes of The Good Wife trying to teach my students without puking, I wrote about it.
This week, the Archipelago on Medium published my essay, I’m Pregnant. So Why Can’t I Tell You? (How’s that for a direct title?) This is a subject that people have wildly differing views about (SHARE! DON’T SHARE!). The discussion about it out there in the cyber world is already mind-blowing.
(I e specially love the comments made by people who clearly don’t read very closely.) I’m always curious to hear what you think. xo
An adorable photo of the baby’s butt My new essay about the (rather difficult) first year of motherhood made it into my beloved Brain, Child Magazine. I’ve loved this smart publication ever since I read Cheryl Strayed’s lovely piece about trying to finish her book, Torch, after her son’s birth. (Now that I have not finished my book, I am in even more awe that she managed to do it.)
I kind of hoped that they’d print the above photo along with the piece, but they couldn’t because look at
how greasy my hair looks that weird Austrian dude photobombing us. (The babe was about two weeks old in that shot; I’m not kissing a lump of fabric.) Click here to read the new piece and see the baby’s aforementioned strawberry backside. It is really the sweetest thing. (As of this writing, it has an astonishing 1,000+ likes on Facebook. Clearly my mother has liked it many, many times I am not the only one who found this year hard!)
PS: If you’d like to read my last essay about motherhood — on the myth of the instant family, on The Toast — click here!
It’s raining today in Vienna. What in the world does one do with a baby when it’s raining? I basically let her
eat bandaids tear the bathroom apart because we’ve been trapped inside since 7am.
In totally non-bandaid-related news, months and months ago, I made some notes on my iPhone while my daughter slept in her stroller
after I had walked the entire city of Vienna. I was sick of feeling like the only person who hadn’t had a picture-perfect transition to family life; that something was off kilter. When I had more than 45 minutes at a stretch to sit down at the computer, these notes eventually evolved into an essay about the myth of the instant family — or the difficulty of becoming three.
I am so, so pleased that the ladies at The Toast published it last week. You can read it by clicking here. The response has been overwhelming — so, so many people go through this, it turns out! — and I’d love to hear from even more of you.