If you’re having a boy, will he be circumcised? Have you thought about it? The U.S is the only industrialized nation that routinely circumcises boys, the American Academy of Pediatrics stated in their 1999 policy update that there’s no medical necessity for it, Holland basically denounces male circumcision in their 2010 statement, yet American boys are still routinely being circumcised in hospitals. Why? Female circumcision is considered “barbaric” and commonly referred to as genital mutilation, so why are our boys still being cut? I understand religious reasons (I’m half Jewish, and a briss with a mohel is far more humane than hospital circumcisions), but many Americans don’t even question it. You need to tell the attending pediatrician in the hospital if you don’t want your son circumcised! When I was pregnant with my son, I deferred to my husband, who instinctively thought that our boy would feel strange if his penis were different than his dad’s, and that it would be a locker room issue. I asked him to do the research and be in charge of the decision, because ultimately, I don’t have a penis and don’t understand the pros and cons and politics of foreskin. Ultimately, we chose NOT to have our son circumcised because we couldn’t find any medical reasons for it, and well, most of our friends did the same, which took away the locker room argument! What are you going to do?
There’s been a lot of chatter amongst parents about New York Magazine’s recent cover story, “I love my children. I hate my life.” It was certainly a shock when I saw it on the news stands, and though I rarely purchase print magazines anymore, I bought this one. Numerous studies show that parents are less happy than non-parents. OK, got it. But why? Why are parents so chronically unhappy? Personally, I think it has a lot to do with expectations and new mom guilt. Before we have children, we often dream of having them. We name them in romantic moments with our partners before they’re even conceived, and those of us who struggle with fertility romanticize parenthood even more. We don’t exactly know what we’re getting into when we have children; how it’s going to affect our lives, how we will manage the sleep deprivation, roller-coaster hormones, work/family/self balance, how we’ll deal with the guilt when we have to go back to work (compounded if we actually enjoy working!). So I would like to post a challenge to all expectant parents: Think about your expectations of parenthood, and ask yourself why you want children. What do YOU expect while you’re expecting? How will you maintain your happiness and liberate yourself from feelings of guilt for not loving new parenthood every moment of every day? Being a new parent is hard, more difficult than most people will tell you, but if you manage your expectations, and prioritize yourself even a little bit after you have a baby, you will have a better chance at being a happy parent!
By this I mean do you want an epidural or not? It’s an increasingly complex question. The majority of the pregnant women I meet today want to try for a natural delivery, with the option of an epidural standing by, just in case. But the question for women in NYC is a lot more complicated. The question is really: Do you want a hospital or a home birth? At opposite extremes and with limited middle-of-the-road options, most of us will lean very strongly in one direction or another. A home birth was out of the question for me, because it just sounded waaaayyyy too scary; so scary I wouldn’t even read about it! But now, when I speak with midwives who deliver babies safely at home every day, and hear countless beautiful home birth stories from women who’ve successfully delivered healthy babies at home, it makes me wonder if perhaps I should have considered it? Certainly knowing what I do now, I would, but I would still be scared. If you’re on the fence about a hospital or home birth, check out Ricki Lake’s film, “The Business of Being Born” below. It will open your eyes to the possibilities that, like me, you may never have considered….
Maternity fashion has come a long way, but it’s got a long way to go. Thanks to the onslaught of freakishly fashionable & fit celebrity moms in the media, we have even more reason to hate everything in our closets while we head into our third trimesters. And then there’s the postpartum dilemma. Nothing fits. Our boobs and bellies are are too big. For anything. BellaBands should help, but they don’t really hold our pants up. Glamourmom nursing tanks are essential for fashion-conscious, breastfeeding moms, but there has to be more. And there needs to be a sexier name for the clothes we wear during and after pregnancy without sounding like porn, or having anything to do with “maternity” or “postpartum”. So I would like to post a challenge for any of you latent Mompreneur fashionistas out there. Can you please re-brand and design better postpartum fashion that glorifies the new mom body, and helps us feel sexy again? Please!
I recently spoke with a woman who was 31 weeks pregnant with her second baby. Although she had no complications with her first delivery and delivered a nearly 10 lb baby naturally, her ObGyn is concerned about another big baby and keeps mentioning that she should schedule an induction a week before her due date. This mom wants to deliver naturally and has no interest in an induction, but she’s afraid to speak up to her ObGyn. She is nervous that her ObGyn will drop her as a patient, or that he will force her to be induced. Now, this may sound silly, but it’s a very real fear and it’s too common, especially in NYC. Why not state your birthing preferences? Why are we afraid of medical practitioners? Whether you want to deliver naturally, have a scheduled c-section or an epidural, it’s your body, your baby, and your preferences should be honored, period. Things may not go as you planned in childbirth, but if you don’t discuss your plan with your birthing team, you will never know if they’re agreeable or not. If you’re not comfortable enough to speak honestly with your practitioners, or if they are not willing to honor your birthing preferences, perhaps you should find a new practice.
Anyone reading this is probably “expecting”, an “expectant” mom, aka pregnant. She has probably read What to Expect When You’re Expecting, perhaps even has some of the chapters memorized. This term, “expecting” has always puzzled me. What does it mean? Expecting what? Of course a baby, but that’s only a small piece of what’s going on. We all know that when we become mothers there’s going to be a BIG CHANGE, and many well-meaning people offer truckloads of unsolicited advice (and horrifying childbirth stories–why do women do that?). But the single most important piece of wisdom I can offer to first-time expectant moms, is to expect the unexpected. Be prepared to be surprised, and accept the fact that many things about your childbirth and/or life with your new baby will probably not be as you expected. Embrace the fact that there will be things beyond your control, and enjoy the surprises along the way!