More Truths About Pregnancy

Recently a couple of celebrities have been talking about the not-so-wonderful aspects of pregnancy. And it made me want to puke. I know – that’s so shocking coming from me – the woman who reveals way too much about her prenatal and post-partum body. But it’s true. In the business of revealing “the truth”, some of them will be homeruns that everyone can understand and some of them will get you a face of disgust from the person across the table (or internet, as it may be).

I wrote a piece today at Mommyish revealing the “interesting” new truths from Drew Barrymore, Lisa Osbourne, and Snooki.

Do you relate or want to gag?

The Problem With Telling The Truth About Pregnancy

The ‘Pre-Baby Body’ Does Not Exist, Let’s Just Be Honest (And A Little Gross)

You know how real I like to be, right?  Well, I’m going there again my friends.  The post-baby body.  If you didn’t get enough from my boobs and period post, I am breaking down my own post-baby body from chest to hoo-ha on Mommyish.


Can we finally put the “pre-baby body” where it belongs? In the land of urban legend along with Big Foot, the Loch Ness Monster and fat-free potato chips. It doesn’t exist. I fit back into my pre-baby jeans a few weeks after giving birth, but three years later I am still wondering where the hell my own pre-baby body went.

Before pregnancy, my body was pretty much unchanged since puberty.  One year I carried around an extra 30 pounds of beer and pizza weight during my senior year of college, but that is a small blip on the life of this body.  If someone saved out my outdated 90s duds from high school I would surely be able to rock them.  I’d look hideous in my high-waist intentionally-marbled acid-wash jeans (à la the original 90210), but they’d fit.

The past three years my body has seen more change than in my entire life.  It swelled in pregnancy, I gave birth, I nursed.  Then I did it all over again, right away.  I’m not holding my physique to some impossible or industry-set standard. I’m holding it to the one I’m used to.  My “pre-baby body.”  And I am having a hard time coming to grips with what’s left.

Read more:

I wanted a daughter so that must make me, my mother and my baby three generations of 1950s housewives

Gender selection is not a new concept.  There are old wives tales that date back to the beginning of time and span all countries from the Far East to the West.  From sexual positions and dietary considerations to consulting the alignment of the planets and stars, or the Chinese gender predictor – there are plenty of techniques to achieve the sex of your choice.  And they should all be taken with a grain (or a large heap) of salt.

You choose!  (results guaranteed in 50% of cases)

Not so if you go see Jeffrey Steinberg of the Fertility Institutes in Encino, California. In his lab, no part of the gender selection process is left to chance.  Fertilization takes place at the lab under controlled circumstances and the doctors get to work:

After fertilization and three days of incubation, an embryologist uses a laser to cut a hole through an embryo’s protective membrane and then picks out one of the eight cells. Fluorescent dyes allow the embryologist to see the chromosomes and determine whether the embryo is carrying the larger XX pair of chromosomes or the tinier XY. The remaining seven cells will go on to develop normally if the embryo is chosen and implanted in a client’s uterus.

What do you think?  Is this playing God or is it no more invasive than so many fertility procedures that have become common these days?

Whether or not you agree with the scientific technique, I take great issue with the slant of this article.  The author paints a picture of Americans of Caucasian, Chinese and Indian decent using gender selection in a way that solely perpetuates stereotypes.   If you want a girl, you will dress her in all pink and buy her every Barbie ever manufactured.  She will be passive, creative and gentle.  She will make the perfect homemaker.  If you want a boy, you will play sports with him and buy him the hottest new gaming device.  He will be dominant, smart and strong.  He will make the perfect provider.

The example used was this:

For Jennifer Merrill Thompson, the reasons were simple. “I’m not into sports. I’m not into violent games. I’m not into a lot of things boys represent and boys do,” she said. 

Ok, clearly she is generalizing, but she is one example, right?  Well, this was the conclusion drawn in the very next paragraph:

Interviews with several women from the forums at and yielded the same stories: a yearning for female bonding. Relationships with their own mothers that defined what kind of mother they wanted to be to a daughter. A desire to engage in stereotypical female activities that they thought would be impossible with a baby boy.

What?  How did we get to that last sentence?  It’s a huge leap from a “yearning for female bonding” to a “desire to engage in stereotypical female activities.”

When first trying to conceive, I myself yearned for a daughter.  I drew heavily from the bond I have with my own mother and very much wanted to continue that exchange with my hypothetical daughter.  However there is no pink in this picture.  My mother is a strong woman in every sense of the word.  She raised me to believe I could do anything I wanted.  I was a “tomboy” as a young child; playing, running, jumping, wearing hand-me-downs from my older male cousins and playing with their old matchbox cars.  Even as I got older and embraced my femininity, I still believed I had the strength – physical, mental and emotional – to match (and surpass) any male.  My daughter, in just her 18-months appears to be cut from the same cloth.   I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The daughter I’d always dreamed of

Gender preferences are normal and often reflect the relationships that molded us.  Our dreams of family are so intensely personal that they should not be judged or generalized.  If it was as simple as having a playmate to dress up with and pour some tea for, we’d all just have a wonderful doll collection.  At least they’d let you take a piss in peace.

Naming the baby should be the very first perk you get for bearing the fruit of his loins

I can’t let it go.

It’s been 3.4 years and I can’t let it go.

I want to change my son’s middle name.  Last year I insisted it should be Jagger.

Let me tell you, he’s got the moves to pull off the name

This year I’ve taken up on behalf of Xavier.  Nevermind that it was the name of the first boy I ever held hands with; we were three.  That doesn’t disqualify the name (amirite??).

In hindsight I’m a little annoyed that I gave in on any of my choices just because Ian didn’t like them.  There should be no husband veto power.  Yes, we are both the parents, yes we get an equal say in raising these brand new human beings, yes we are partners in this journey into parenthood.

But naming?  That should be the sole domain of mommy.  You know, like morning sickness, leg cramps, that disgusting orange glucose drink and post-partum hemorrhoids.  He can name those.

While I haven’t taken up an alternative name crusade for my daughter yet, I do reminisce about some of the names that were left on the cutting room floor.

Here are the top 10 girl names that never were*:

1)  Olivia.  About 8 days after Ian and I started dating I introduced this name as the moniker of our future daughter.  He wasn’t fond of it at first, but over the next few years it stuck.  We were married 6 years before we had a girl and this was her name in every fictitious scenario…until I got pregnant.  Suddenly it fit as well as my jeans at 20 weeks — which is to say not at all.

2)  Scarlett.  This was a front runner alongside Olivia since the day Jack White bestowed it upon his baby girl.  Ian loved it, I loved it – it was nearly set in stone…again until I got pregnant.  Too popular?

3)  Clara.  Along the lines of Scarlett, we picked this one up from Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  Sadly the cow from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse ruined it.

4)  Isla or Twyla.  Sing-songy and unique, these were at the top of my list as soon as we found out we were having a girl.  Plus Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit is a huge inspiration for me.

5)  Skye, Schuyler and Chyler.  Maybe it’s the familiarity of my own name, but I adore the hard C sound.  Too vain.

6)  January.  I admit I was seriously obsessed with season 3 of Mad Men which had wrapped up just as I got pregnant.  We finally ditched it when they confirmed the month of February as my due date.

7)  Bellamy.  It means good friend.  That’s something I hope my daughter IS and HAS.

8)  Violet, Vivian and Ivy.  I have a thing for the Vs.

9)  Winter.  Yeah, I got the idea from Nicole Ritchie, so what?  It’s cute.  Plus, unlike January, it would still be appropriate.  Other nouns I was in love with: Clementine and Magnolia.

10)  Marrin.  First suggested by my mother-in-law this was in the running for most of her gestational period.  Ultimately we just couldn’t figure out how to spell it.  Marinn, Maryn, Marin, Maren.  It also looked too much like my name but wasn’t intended to be pronounced that way.  Too confusing.

*in the interest of full disclosure, my daughter’s real name is among these “finalists”.  Chloe is her blog alias (she works with the secret service, you know).  So be gentle when you weigh in on my peculiar tastes.

What names did you leave on your delivery room floor?

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Nevermind that noise, it’s just my ovaries whining.

Ladies (and the three men that are obligated to read this by marriage or blood) — listen up!  I am in desperate need of your help.   You see, it’s May!

[you nod in confused agreement].

What’s so special about May?  You mean, you don’t know??

May is THE month I get pregnant.  Every other year.

Let’s recap:

May 2008 – after nearly a year of trying, May was the magic month.  That year I shocked the hell out of surprised my husband on Father’s Day by making him breakfast and breaking the news (no, I’m not sure which shocked him more).

May 2010 – armed with the confusion that it took nearly a year to conceive our first, we decided to let nature take its course when I stopped nursing just a few short weeks before.   And a few short weeks later my 15 month old had the positive pregnancy test in his mouth (I was too shocked to grab it away after it dropped from my stunned hand).

So here we are, May 2012.  The kids are sleeping wonderfully (finally).  Ian and I are going on a Caribbean vacation.  Alone (as in no kids).   And I just held the 7 day old baby of one of my best friends (I loved every second of it).  My uterus is feeling kinda lonely…

Come and play with me, I'm a harmless plush uterus!

WAIT, WAIT.  This is craziness!  We cannot have any more children!  Why? you ask.  Well for starters:

1.  I suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum.  Which might just sound like the worst morning sickness ever, but in reality it involves vomiting that scares small children, hospital stays, IVs, threat of miscarriage and generally complete incapacitation.

2.  We live in NYC and are not in the 1%.  Which means the third child will have to sleep in the sink until it’s old enough to move out.

3.  I love sleep.

4.  I need sleep.

5. I finally get to sleep.

This isn't me, but I am sure I look that adorable when I'm rested

What’s that?  Those aren’t good enough reasons?  The joys of motherhood far outweigh these minor details?

Ok, well here are my top five reasons that we should have another child (ranked in order from the most important to the most shallow):

1.  Boobs.

2.  The first time I delivered I almost died, the second time I delivered was the most life-affirming moment I could imagine and now I’m curious what a third February due date would hold.

3.  No periods for another two years.

4.  Because I’m obsessed with baby names.

5.  We have one kid that is my mini-me and another that is my husband’s clone.  What would the in between mix look like?

As you can see, I’m not fit to be a parent to the two I already have, so we can all agree a third is out.  Right?

[please say RIGHT loud enough for my ovaries to hear you]

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