5.29.2012

"Things I'm Afraid to Tell You"

Perhaps some of you have seen "Things I'm Afraid to Tell You" posts around the blog-o-sphere. (The first one was published by Jess Constable a few months back...) There have been a few more rounds since then and Leslie has organized a small group of us to follow suit today.

To me, the internet can be a wonderful place of solidarity. Opening up about certain experiences or truths of our lives can connect us in a very deep way, whether or not we see each other regularly in person. So in this spirit, here are a few things I'm afraid to tell you. (Or "Things that I would prefer not to admit to" or "Things that seem indulgent to write about on the internet" or "Things I hope make you feel ok about the things you are afraid to tell me." All working titles.)

  • I feel like the happiness of a (stupidly) large number of people rests on my shoulders.
  • I assume you just read that thought "who does she think she is?!"... just as I often assume that any action I take that makes me feel brave is interpreted by others as me trying to be hot shit.
  • My family has a wonderful time when we're together, but we're not in constant touch. At times this is convenient, but other times it makes me really sad.
  • My dreams are incredibly affected by the social dynamics playing out in my life. If I'm not in a good place with a friend, I dream about it every night until it's resolved. This encourages me to reach out and communicate more, but also means that my subconscious is held hostage until I'm totally honest and communicative in my life. Which is exhausting.
  • I love the result of pedicures but hate getting them. I worry that the nail person hates her job and I have to entertain her throughout the whole thing. Same with eyebrow threading. Same with most service-oriented activities.
  • I love blogging but I hate the feeling that people assume I'm parading my life to become famous or well-known or popular. I think this is why I haven't yet posted the pictures of our wedding... I'd love to share them but I worry that people might judge my decision to share that with the world.
Phew. I think I need a nap. Feel free to leave something in the comments that you're a little bit afraid to talk about. You can even leave it anonymously. We're not judgey here!

And if you're looking for a few more soul confessions on a Tuesday, check out the rest of the gang... (thanks, Leslie, for organizing!):

Jill at Terra Savvy | Erica at The Elbow | Jen at Taking Off the Mask | Kate at Modern Home Modern Baby | Laura at My So Called Sensory Life | Monique at Razing Mayhem | Caroline at Salsa Pie | Leslie at Life In Every Limb | Tammie at Tam.Me | Melanie at Inward Facing Girl | Amy at Old Sweet Song | Michelle at Early Mama | Leslie at Lights and Letters | Sarah at SAWK Photography

5.28.2012

Les livres de 2012: round 2

Bookshelves in the study at Kathryn and Aaron's in Portland.
In between paging through baby books and catching up on past New Yorker issues, I've been doing a little book reading too. Here's the latest installment:

8. Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto
Before we canceled our trip to Japan, I had ordered a bunch of Japanese literature from Powell's. The lesson I learned (quickly) is that Japanese books must have good translations. Otherwise they are The Suck. 

Don't read Kitchen. Well ok, you can read it if you're fluent in Japanese I suppose... but while you're reading it, maybe you could translate a decent English version. This one was dull, slow and pointless. 

9. Tokyo Vice by Jake Adelstein
I read a New Yorker article about Jake Adelstein recently and it prompted me to add this book to the list of Japan books. This book reminded me a lot of Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found by Suketu Mehta, which I read before heading to India in 2009. I don't know why I like reading books about the mafias in the countries I'm about to visit... probably because I like to be PREPARED.

This book was good. Thrilling! I learned a ton about Japanese culture by reading about the way law enforcement works there, what a funeral is like and what it means when you meet someone with nine fingers. (Hint: MAFIA ALERT!)

10. Woman on the Other Shore by Mitsuyo Kakuta
Ohhh, translators. They failed here a little bit too. This is the story of two women who end up working together in a travel agency/housekeeping business. (Yeah. I was confused too.) We learn about their past lives, something weird happens in which people assume one of them is a lesbian (although she's not), there's a lot of traveling and cleaning houses. 

Meh. The most interesting part of it to me was to read how difficult it was for women to participate in business. Not worth the read.

11. Bringing up bebe by Pamela Druckerman
Hey! This book restored my faith in the French, in raising a baby and in the fact that my life does not end the moment my baby's begins. I read it in a single day and need to pick myself up a copy because the one I read belongs to the NYPL. 

As they are in many matters, Druckerman shows the French to be non-plussed when it comes to the craziness of baby raising. She reveals how her French neighbors practiced "La Pause" to get their infants to sleep through the night and the schedule of breakfast/lunch/snack/dinner that sets a tone of healthy eating for the rest of their lives. The day after I read the book, I was working remotely from Starbucks for a few hours. Two French women sat at a table next to me working on their computers; one of them had a baby in a stroller who quietly played with the zipper on his sweatshirt for HOURS. Their conversation wasn't interrupted by his insistence on having more snacks... he was quiet, content and observing of the room around him. 

Blew my mind. Writing this makes me realize how much I need to re-read it again stat!

12. The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
I think we can all agree that Middlesex is one of the best books ever. Right? Right. I asked for this book for Christmas, got it, saw the size of it, and put it on the bookshelf to look pretty. I mean, holy intimidation. Not to mention its title made me nervous that it was going to convince me that marriage is a farce (and my young marriage has been going great, thankyouverymuch).

Then I boarded a plane to the west coast and I devoured this book. DEVOURED! It was fantastically complex and I only wished I had been in a literature class to pull it apart. I will reread this for a book club if it's the last thing I do... themes below:



13. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Stout
I saw people reading this book on the subway. I saw them reading it in doctor's offices, on plane rides and I saw it featured at the book store. Sometimes I get a little judgey about books and this was totally one of them. For some reason I thought it was some boring midwest story about a mother. 

And then I had a long conversation with my friend Jess (featured in that tweet above!) about books we've loved lately and she mentioned Olive Kitteridge. Jess is a smart cookie and I trust her opinion, so after I ate The Marriage Plot for lunch, I picked this up at Powell's in Portland. 

It's a book of short stories, all of which involve a character named Olive Kitteridge in some way. The stories aren't about her; they're about different people who live in her town. But it becomes a "Where's Waldo?" situation in which you try to look for her in each story. I liked it a lot and again, this would be a great book club book... lots to talk about across the short stories that make up the collection.

I like that I can still surprise Chris after several years of being together. He was flabbergasted that I wanted to read this. We watched The Daily Show's interview with Peter Bergen a few weekends ago and it was so fascinating that I immediately wanted to read Bergen's book. By immediately, I mean that I could not wait until the bookstore opened several hours later, so I stole Chris' Kindle to get a move on.

This book was SO GOOD! Here are some impressions that have stayed with me:
  • Navy Seals are NO JOKE.
  • President Obama is even more badass (and yet responsible!) than I ever knew.
  • I can't believe how complicated the search was for this guy... and how many people contributed to the effort over 10 years.
  • The scene in which the team gets into the compound to get Bin Laden was as good as any action film I've ever seen. Holy stressful!
15. 50 Shades of Gray by E.L. James
Alright. This book must be addressed. Everyone and her mother (and sister and female cousin) is reading this thing... and trying not to talk about reading it. When the office manager at work told me she had a free PDF of this trilogy, I told her to send it over. One can only receive so many clandestine texts from close friends about an erotic novel before you succumb. 

So here's the deal. Your palms are going to get sweaty. The first half of this book builds alright and the plot questions that are in the back of your mind stay there. "Oh, this is just the beginning," you think, "surely this virgin is not going to continue having multiple orgasms every 2 pages." 

EXCEPT SHE DOES. And the writing is aw.ful! The female college students featured in the book (who are American, btw) use words like "pram" and are clearly mimicking the British author who created them. Has this author ever seen a map of Seattle? The cliches build and build... until the end of the first book comes so suddenly that I thought the PDF had been cut. So I opened the second book and realized THIS DRIVEL GOES ON FOR THREE BOOKS. 

Nonetheless, I continued reading the second one until a few things happened:
1. The 22 year old woman who was a virgin until she met a S&M billionaire weeks earlier gets a marriage proposal from him.
2. The main character "bit her lip" for the quadrillionth time.
3. I had coffee, dinner and took a walk with several female friends who are all in their early 30s and looking for love. They are (understandably) a bit nervous about how long it's going to take to find someone wonderful. And I just realized that I was reading such BULLSHIT on the way home, some shit fairytale about a 22 year old kid who is about to get the most handsome man in town, have 13 orgasms a day, and a dream home within 10 days of her college graduation. And it was too insulting to continue.

So that's why the second book isn't on this list!

16. Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
No spoilers, but the ending of this book is one of the most INSANE things that I've ever read. (This is compounded by the fact that it's true.)

I first read this book a couple years ago, then found a used copy to send to my friend Fanny. She's in France and likes reading books in English. Little did I know how much it would inspire her! She contacted me earlier this year to see if I would want to visit Madison, WI in June to tour the scene of Frank Lloyd Wright's home, Taliesin, featured in the book.

So since Fanny is flying in from FRANCE to see the joint, I figured I could get us there from NYC. In order to prepare for our trip, I decided to reread the book... it's just as good as I remembered. 

It's historical fiction, so you have to take lots of it with a grain of salt. But I love the way you learn about FLW, his mistress, Chicago, Europe in the early 20th century and more through the story. Totally worth a read!

5.27.2012

Living in the gray.

We attended a cloth diaper workshop yesterday on the Upper East Side. We learned about all of the different options, which take longer to dry, which require origami to fold. (Those were vetoed quickly by Chris, who said "I am literally never going to be able to do that." Ha!) 

In the end we walked out of the store and I thought "oh for crying out loud, this is all too complicated to decide without experimentation." And then it just dawned on me: there is no reason we can't approach this as an experiment. We don't have to buy 18-24 of the same kinds... we can buy a few different diapers to start and mess around with them, learning which we prefer, and buy additional stock after we're in the thick of it. For example, we could decide to:
  • cloth diaper on the weekends
  • cloth diaper overnight
  • cloth diaper on the days we're at home with Tiny (and no babysitter/daycare)
  • alternate between cloth and disposable
  • use full-time cloth diapers after 3 months, 6 months, a year
I write these options out here to remind myself of all the space that exists between the black and the white. It doesn't have to be all or nothing; simply including cloth diapers in the mix will make me feel as though we're being resourceful and curbing some of the trash we throw out. 

So we'll pace ourselves and live somewhere in the middle of washboarding hemp diapers and filling up a thousand landfills. Done.

*

I saw 3am more often this past week than I care to recount. I'd end up out on the couch, typing long, heartfelt emails to friends about some of the decisions we're encountering as we move into this next phase of life. I'd wake up around 3, pad out to the bathroom and then realize I was just awake enough for all of the uncertainties to swarm in and eat me alive. 

What is it about the middle of the night that makes us lose faith? It's the same couch, the same view, the same crossroads to contemplate as it was 8 hours earlier... but the shadows fill the room in the middle of the night with pure darkness and it's hard to know how any of it will shake out alright. 

Inevitably I would wake up a few hours later to start my day and feel instantly better about our future. Every. Single. Time. All I needed was the light to realize how melodramatic or unadventurous I was being. 

During the day, I dream up ideas. Next to nothing stops my imagination and my belief that I can make anything happen. During the night, I doubt myself. I get conservative, I question feasibility, viability, I wonder whether people will like me. 

You need both. You need dark because you need to make money to live, because you can't exist on hopes and dreams. But you need the light too, because who wants to live in a cave with no exit other than the doorway you've already walked through? 

*

On the way out of the building this morning we ran into neighbors who were returning with their two kids from the water park.

"Water Park?!" I asked excitedly. "Where was that??"

"Oh, just down at Pier 6," Alan answered.

"Wow, I had no idea."

"Oh you will," he laughed, "soon enough you'll know this neighborhood in a totally different way."

Sometimes it takes near-strangers to remind us of the adventures ahead. This growing-a-baby thing astounds me daily, the frequency with which I forget I am pregnant and the rapid circle completing as I remember. I'm like the goldfish in the Pink Floyd song. I forget and I remember and I forget again... and then, with as much joy and excitement as every other time, I remember again.

I suppose this is why it takes 40 weeks to bake the bun in the oven. It's simply too unfathomable to comprehend any faster.

They say that you can't be a little bit pregnant, but I know that you can be half of a parent. This week I hit 20 weeks, which means that I'm halfway between non-pregnant and MOM WHO BIRTHED A KID. I'm in the middle. Sometimes this is the highlight of my life and other times I am more terrified than I've ever been, but most days I find myself somewhere in the middle. 

Then last night as I was rereading Loving Frank on a chair in the living room, I felt some weird movement down in the baby zone. Since everyone keeps telling me half of what I feel is gas (Why is it the assumption that we're all just farting for 10 months? Rude!), I figured that was it. Nonetheless, I poked my belly anyway, pushing my index finger into organs and whatever else lives beneath.

POW! Something kicked back and it was so surprising and scary that I screamed and got goosebumps all over. "HONEY!" I yelled, but Chris was wearing mega headphones (and working hard to defeat Batman on his computer).

I trembled a bit, poking again, more timidly this time, but the foreigner had dipped back under, leaving me to wonder who the heck is in there.

He's not me and he's not Chris, but he's someone in-between.

(Gulp.)

5.21.2012

Unfathomable.

Here's what is amazing: we were all baked in our mothers the same way. Without exception, we all grew alongside stomachs and livers and bladders, huddled in a hot womb, the sound of our mothers' heartbeats going whoosh, whoosh in our ears as they were forming.

It's how we all arrive on earth. Isn't that bizarre?

5.20.2012

It's a... !

I always thought I'd want to keep the gender of my first baby a surprise til the end. Is there a bigger surprise moment in your life? I doubt it. But Chris felt more comfortable knowing ahead of time and so we agreed to find out for the first kid.

Some thoughts since Thursday's ultrasound:
  • I already feel more bonded to the baby. Knowing its gender helps me to picture our new family of three, decide what colors to use in the nursery and pick a damn pronoun to use!
  • Our appointment was amazingly exciting. It didn't matter that we weren't getting the baby the same day... it was JUST as exciting to learn boy or girl at 19 weeks as I imagine it would be at birth.
  • Finding out early allowed us to make a little gender reveal cake for my family, who made the effort to all get to the same spot for the same weekend. (This doesn't happen very often and it was awesome to have them all together).
We had a BLAST surprising them and here's the video to prove it. We're thrilled!

5.15.2012

Wowza.

Oh. OH. You guys have projects.

Two nights ago after I published the last post about launching NIFW, I closed my computer and looked at Chris and said "if no one signs up, then we know it wasn't a great idea and wasn't meant to be. Right?"

And then Chris said he would be my first student and I said "blah" and then we decided that minimum viability would be 1 or 2 people.

AND THEN TWENTY BILLION OF YOU REGISTERED. Just kidding. But many more than six of you did, which left me with a tough decision yesterday. I've decided to run a second session in late July with a week off in-between, during which I gather my bearings and readjust for the next crew.

Without a doubt, the most impressive thing to me yesterday was not the number of people who registered, but the insanely awesome projects everyone wants to do. I mean, people SHARED, man. People have big dreams and some of them are still a little bit tentative, but your heads are all in a good place, a dreaming place. And that just so happens to be where my brain lives 85% of the time. (The other 15% of the time is spent in a walled room in my brain in which I always believe I'm 4 seconds from starvation and financial ruin. Heyyy! Good times!)

So! If you are still interested in participating in Creative Summer Camp, go ahead and register on the site. At this point you'll be put on a waiting list for one of the sessions, but I'll be in touch if fate has its way and you end up with a spot.

No is for wimps, you guys! (And thanks.)

5.13.2012

No Is For Wimps: Creative Summer Camp

Being non-wimpy at Camp Mighty with Erica.
Some of you remember an online literary magazine that I ran a few years back called No Is For Wimps. NIFW published every two weeks; each issue had 5 pieces of art in it, ranging from poems to songs to photos... and lots in-between. We had an "Ask the Pseudo Expert" column which featured posts from lifeguards and entomologists and ornithologists that I met randomly in bars or through friends.

It was bizarre and I totally loved publishing it with my buddy Matt. But soon the stress of bimonthly publishing and hunting down artists and editing the whole operation was too much. Around that time I started at Arc90 and was busier than I had been before... and so NIFW stopped.

Some of you have asked me about it. It means a lot that four years later, people still remember that little publication. And so when I made my Life List last fall, I included a dream for NIFW as item number 66:

66. Create an online community around No Is For Wimps.

I chose it as one of the things I wanted to do in the year ahead and though I've had a number of coffees and lunches and brainstorms with friends, it hasn't gotten off the ground. I don't miraculously have more time than I used to and though I know a number of people who might want to contribute, I know how quickly you run through those connections when you're publishing regularly.

Two weeks ago, the universe melded together an idea in the 4 train on my way home, something that now seems so obvious that I can't understand why I didn't think of it before: NIFW is becoming an online school.

Well, let me back that train up. I'm messing around with the idea of teaching online courses involving creative projects under the NIFW brand. I'm experimenting this summer with the first course, called Creative Summer Camp. And depending on what I learn from that, we'll see where it goes.

I love projects. (Duh.) I love teaching, but not in traditional settings. I love helping people get organized, get motivated or just understand themselves a little bit better. I also, thanks to my career in technology, love the Internet.

What I'm getting at is, I think this is going to be A LOT OF FUN for me. It never occurred to me that tackling #66 on my Life List did NOT involve publishing a literary magazine. That's what I assumed I'd meant by "create an online community"... but here I am, seeing a completely new way to do that, one that does not rely on the coordination that the old, impossible project used to.

So here's the scoop. I'm taking six people, the first six who sign up, who decide to take a chance this summer to do something a little different, a little funky, hopefully a lot fun. These six people will be charged zero dollars each. And we'll try this out -- you'll get to work on a creative project, I'll get to know you and coach you and learn a bunch from the experience.

If you'd like to be one of the six, go register on the NIFW site. I would seriously love to have you.

P.S. Don't be a wimp.
P.P.S. If Chris didn't have it on his Life List, he can now claim "inspire and encourage my wife in her latest project and design/code her a kick-ass launch site." Cause he did. Thanks, love.

5.11.2012

My other life.

When I'm not writing here, sometimes I'm writing on the Arc90 blog. I spend most days thinking about people, their work and how to matchmake the two as projects shift and evolve. It's pretty fascinating, albeit stressful at times.

I have a new post up that gels together a lot of the thinking and strategizing that I've been doing over the past 9 months in my role as Managing Director of Employee Development. Check it out if you're so inclined!

5.10.2012

Thank you.

For the emails, calls, texts and Facebook messages. I don't really choose what I'm going to write about here; it comes more from whatever moves me to sit down and press some keys. I had no idea that a post about weight would garner this much support and attention. And I wanted to sincerely thank you guys for reaching out. What a bizarre thing this blogging is!

Also: yesterday I felt under the weather and worked from home. While I was home, I did a load of laundry and washed my new maternity jeans. Last night I wore them out to dinner and I'm wearing them again this morning. I feel like a million bucks. (This just so happens to have been their original price! Gah.) I ordered some maternity clothes online and have a standing appointment to go pick up a few things with my Mom when we can work it out.

If you're pregnant and feeling crappy, buy some maternity jeans. They are well worth the splurge and can get you back into feeling a little shinier than usual.

If you're not pregnant, you probably want to invest in a pair around Thanksgiving. Enormous elastic waist band, but you still look great? WIN-WIN-WIN.

(Thanks again.)


5.08.2012

Growing pains.

It's different when it's a pillow.
When I was headed into the 10th grade, my jeans were too tight. It was obvious and uncomfortable and my Mom took me back-to-school shopping. We bought the next size up. The next size up was a mental hurdle that I wasn't ready to tackle and so those jeans sat in a shopping bag in the corner of my bedroom until Christmas break.

Eventually I suppose I got mentally used to the idea of larger jeans and I started wearing them. I'd gone up three more sizes by the time I was 20 and it was only after spending a semester in France that I finally saw those digits dropping.

Lots of people look back at college photos and mourn the loss of their thin, young body. I don't mourn what I lost; I was unhealthy and overweight and am 60 pounds lighter today than I was back then.

But this post isn't about weight loss. It's about weight gain. It's about the total Jedi mind tricks that I've had to do with myself over the past 17 weeks to go from attending Weight Watchers in January to gaining 10 pounds by May.

I know it's healthy to gain weight. There's a baby in there, after all. Mentally I know this. Physically though, I can't help being totally freaked out. Am I gaining weight too fast? In the right places? With the right food? I've had maternity clothes sitting in a bag in my closet for the past three months but have had a mental hurdle breaking into them. Like those jeans in 10th grade, taking the tags off my new clothes force me to admit that my body has changed and that there will be a new normal.

It's not even that my current jeans aren't fitting; they're alright but I feel uncomfortable in them. Last night I tried wearing a belly band with my jeans for the first time and it was weird and tight and hot and I felt like my ass was hanging out all night. Then I came home and found stretch marks on my legs and burst into tears.

It's likely those stretch marks have been there since my college days. But I felt so off last night. I don't look pregnant, I look chubby. And worse than how I look to other people is how I feel in my own skin, which truthfully crawls and makes me nauseous to think about. Chris tells me I look great and others do too and somehow it's just not what I see in the mirror.

This is harder than I thought it would be.

5.04.2012

Zen morning

During our monthly appointment with the midwife yesterday, we got to talking about labor.

"The best thing you can do during labor is to relax," she said. "You're going to want to tense up because it hurts, but if you can stay calm and learn how to do that, the rest will just happen."

She compared labor to a marathon - not something you just wake up and do one Saturday, but rather a physical endeavor, one that you prepare for. Besides keeping active, she suggested meditation or some other ritual that I do on a regular basis to teach myself to relax.

I was totally down, but had a busy evening last night and hadn't yet put thought into how I'd structure my relaxation. (Ha. Get the joke? I'M BAD AT THIS.) So this morning when I woke up and complained to Chris about how I hate getting showers, how I didn't feel like it, suddenly the light bulb went off: an opportunity.

Side note: I hate taking showers. Hate it! It's so boring, same thing every time, and it prevents me from getting my day started. One of the massive perks about working from home sometimes is that I can literally start work from my bed. Showers have always been a barrier to me, something I have to do BEFORE the fun starts. (Extra side note: I also just feel GUILTY about using all that water. I am a sucker for environmental campaigns and take the responsibility of the world's water usage on my shoulders. Also not good.)

This morning I decided that I would forget all that crap. I would ENJOY a shower. And you know what? It was pretty great.

Here's what I did:

  • I only used the good-smelling shampoo (instead of trying to finish up the bottle that was almost done)
  • I used my favorite shower gel (the expensive one that was gifted)
  • I did a face mask 
  • I thanked and appreciated each of my limbs as I soaped up. I thanked my left arm for helping me type today, my left leg for getting me in and out of subways, meetings, and out to grab a healthy lunch. I thanked my right leg for telling me when I'm tired and encouraging me to rest when I need to. I thanked my belly (which I have a tough relationship with) for being a little flabby and providing a safe nest for Tiny and then I thanked my right arm for being my RIGHT HAND MAN and holding down the fort. Ha. Then finally I washed my face mask off and prepared my face to smile today.

The best! It didn't take that much longer than normal and now I feel ready to face the morning, having connected my physical self with all of the things I'm going to do today.

It's not a relaxation curriculum, but it's a start.

5.01.2012

And now for some controversy.

Before we were telling people about the baby, I found myself with research to do and no one to get a coffee with. Instinctively I reached for blogs, post upon post of advice, product recommendations and experiences others had in their first trimester. Blogs take a lot of heat, but reading them was the perfect solution to my 14 torturous weeks of sworn silence about one of the biggest things that has ever happened to me.

It made me realize what good resources we are for each other. In the same way that I can recommend restaurants in the cities we've traveled to, some discussion of the ways we navigate child-rearing decisions on this blog may be helpful to some of you.

Here are a few topics that I've been thinking a bunch about lately:

Cloth Diapers
Nothing gets people angrier than cloth diapers. I casually mentioned this to a couple guys at work over lunch and got LAUGHED out of the kitchen. Unmarried men who have a hard time showering daily were giving me crap about what I'm planning to do with my kid's crap. And that's when I realized how crazypants other people are going to be about how we raise Tiny.

My parents raised us on cloth diapers. They don't deserve a medal for this, just as no one deserves detention for using Pampers. It's a choice, one that I'm happy to say has become far more appealing over the years. The latest generation of cloth diapers are super-cute!

I'm interested in cloth diapers for two main reasons: environmental and financial. Chris and I have talked about it and we're open to trying them, probably in conjunction with disposables at the very beginning. I know it's going to be tough not having a washer and dryer in our apartment, but they're literally 50 feet down the hall.

Haters gonna hate. I promise to report back as research is conducted!

Maternity Leave
I have LOTS of thoughts here, but probably not appropriate for public consumption. Suffice it to say, I think women get so many mixed messages about what's appropriate when it comes to taking time off to have a baby AND how soon it's appropriate to go back to work. It seriously crosses a ton of confusing boundaries for me, including feminism, motherhood, business and spirituality.

I haven't outlined my maternity leave plan yet, but I think about it a lot and will obviously need to have those conversations before long with work. Again, I urge anyone confronting this issue to do what is best for you and your family. Don't feel pressured either way.

Birth Plans
Maybe I spoke too soon up there. NOTHING gets people angrier than natural birth plans. It's sort of confusing to me, actually, but people get very offended when you tell them you're going to try doing things naturally. As if you are trying to one-up everyone in the world who has not gone the natural route.

So here's our sitch: we watched The Business of Being Born and found it awfully propaganda-like. Still, there were a number of points that resonated with us and made us think about pursuing options that were not traditional hospital births. I was not down with doing a home birth in our Brooklyn apartment with Oscar and Ollie looking on (oh hellll no, I was not down with this), but I didn't like the ookiness that I heard about that was happening in hospitals either. I also have friends who have had tough hospital births. So we decided to investigate.

We discovered the Birthing Center at Roosevelt Hospital in midtown west and it felt like a great option. The Birthing Center is in the hospital, just a floor below Labor & Delivery. The BC has very low intervention and they're hooked up with a group of midwives. Now, midwives I can get behind; my sister is in nursing school right now, planning to become a midwife herself. So we ended up in a wonderful midwife practice and are planning to give birth naturally at the Birthing Center.

Could something go differently? You betcha. And we'll be flexible if it needs to. But I can't help thinking that overcoming the running barrier last year and other recent challenges have prepared my mind for difficult moments. Kate will be our doula and we'll do what we can to bring Tiny into this world with the least stress possible.

---

Ok, that's enough controversy for one evening. I know I don't even have to say this, but please take all of these thoughts as my own. They're not going to work for everyone. But if you're out there searching for some information or merely some like-mindedness, then I think it's a worthwhile post to put out into the world. Let's all agree to have our babies the way we want them and parent however we can!