Stephanie Rosenbloom of the NY Times reports that some women in their 20s and 30s are actually close with their mothers. Maybe too close. Maybe weirdly close. I guess this trend could be seen as remarkable or even shocking, but unhealthy? Only at the very end of the piece does Rosenbloom come around to the idea that these relationships might be a good thing. The bulk of the article struck me as very odd:
One would think that after giving birth to, nursing, teaching and disciplining a daughter for 18 years, a mother might want some distance.
Are mothers really just begrudgingly logging time until the gig is up and they can book a cruise? I mean we all need distance, but is it good for us or normal to cut ties at 18? Isn't that an invented idea? (That maybe came about at the same time as the concept of the "teen.")
I think we live in a culture where there is too much isolation between generations. If this is indeed a trend-- and it seems a fairly understudied area--I think it sounds like a cause for celebration.
What's a leading cause of death in pregnancy? Homocide.
I just told my husband this and he said, "You gotta do it before the baby comes out or else you're screwed." Hmm. This seems as good a time as any to announce my second pregnancy. (Due Christmas). If my husband suddenly takes up fishing ... may this blog be used in court.
We had a great time at Politcs and Prose in Washington. There were a bunch of people with a lot of really great questions that led to a really great discussion. (And we got some sweet DC Press). We hope to do more events like that-- maybe one in New York. I made a mistake on the last post-- we were actually on WCBS (NY local news) this last weekend. That also went well; we'll link to the interview at fromthehips.com shortly.
Just a reminder that we'll be at POLITICS AND PROSE in Washington, DC at 1 PM this Saturday. We'll be chatting about the book and answering questions. We'll also be appearing on CBS Sunday Morning the following day at around 8:15 AM. If you're up doling out the Cheerios, tune in. We'll be live and semi-rehearsed!
CNN reports that the circumcision numbers for 2004 are in and they're down. In some places less than 50% of boys were circumcised. Gawker chimes in with the help of some foreskin-championing "hos." We have discussed this before. I do not think CNN (or those dears at Gawker) really addressed how the more recent HIV/Africa study could change this trend. I have a hunch the circumcision rates will sneak back up a little. Stay tuned for 2007 numbers (in 2010) so we can see where we are now. Then.
Here's a sassy little piece by the right wing commentator Heather MacDonald about Father's Day cards for kids who have no dads to celebrate. The cards are for "my mom on Father's Day." It's actually an interesting piece about how Hallmark is marketing to fatherless kids-- the cards are in the African American section only. She wonders if the gay and lesbian community will get their cards one day, too. Well, we certainly hope so. And don't share her reaction to the scandal of parenting out of wedlock or really any of her opinions. Nevertheless amazing that Hallmark can figure out how to sell a card when there is no recipient.
I saw an old friend last night who wanted to talk to me about breastfeeding. She said she thinks that the idea that "all women can produce enough milk for their babies" is not true. She said she did absolutely everything to breastfeed her baby as much and for as long as possible-- her partner has severe, life-threatening food allergies so they felt that it was extra important and paid attention to "getting it right" from day one-- but her supply never picked up to the point where she could exclusively feed. She was pumping after every single feeding. She fed through days, though nights. At this point I asked her if she had heard about the "milk storage capacity" -- it's something we wrote about in our book and is not well known. She had heard about it and had also heard-- and this part was news to me-- that the cleavage of woman can indicate her storage capacity. Apparently if the shape of the boob is very round and long-- the kind that makes cleavage-- then there's more milk making apparatus. If they are further apart with less flesh there may be less milk. The lactation consultant who advised on From the Hips told us that experienced hands can "palpate" the breast to determine how much storage there is. She seemed to think that even with a small storage capacity, a woman can make enough milk. My friend definitely did not find this to be true from her experience. And speculated that perhaps wet nursing had something to do with the fact that some women simply could not feed their babies. It makes sense: before the days of formula, that busty dame down the street with the heaving cleaved bosom would have been a life-saver.
We've just been alerted (via Gawker) to this list of the blingiest baby bling from Forbes Magazine. Of particular interest is the $17,000 pacifier, replete with tiny diamond choking hazards. And the suggestion that spending outrageous dough will somehow assuage postpartum depression. Ka-ching!
The two of us had a mom date night on Friday (afternoon) and managed to get out between feedings and familial obligations to go see KNOCKED UP. As card-carrying Judd Apatow fans from way back (Freaks and Geeks was a religious experience) and new parents with an interest in the way pregnancy stories are told, we had very high hopes. And the movie was hilarious. Most of the time. The other times-- like a good chunk of the middle and toward the end-- it dragged. In fact it has us both a little bummed out. We've been mulling the source of the bummer and we've decided it's this. The movie is about guys. It's great on guys. The guys are funny. The guys have chemistry. The guys-- even the guys with NO LIVES-- seem to have very important lives, lives they love and enjoy. The women, on the other hand...
(detailed dialog-style analysis of Knocked Up after the jump, if you've seen the film or don't care about spoilers)
R: Judd Apatow always seems to be telling a sort of more complex version of the coming of age story, about everyone's lingering desire to remain a child, or inability/refusal to give up "childish" behaviors. These behaviors are what make people interesting (or honest), the ridiculous dreams, the goofy jokes, maybe even the occasional (or hourly) drug use. And of course we agree, at least with the idea if not the articulation...that the world without this stuff would be a pretty horrible place. But for some reason, his version of these longings for the girls in “Knocked Up” are not nearly as much fun—the girls don't seem to really have any dreams that don't revolve around being attractive or spending quality time with their husbands.
C: Watching the guy deal with the pregnancy, I recognized all the things we went through—sadness at loss of spontaneity, friendships, time, the ability to be irresponsible- but the women seemed to snap seamlessly into a kind of maternal robot. Even the 5 year old daughter was riding the guy. She was already the “nagging mother.” And, in fact, all the kids were girls. Family = women. Guys need to get "out" of that.
R: There is some screen time given to women’s losses, too; as the heroine says, “I have given up my body, my job, my vagina!” But she’s on TV, even the threat to her job was actually about her body. And the vagina anxiety is real but what is it really about? Being sexy. And the low point of the movie for the female leads was when they get told they’re no longer sexy enough to cut the line at the club? I mean, yeah, it’s a bummer. But everyone’s said how the women are so multifaceted in this movie. Is pining for hotness (rather than just exuding hotness) what's defining depth in our female characters? Not that women don't do that, but they also need the same things the guys in the movie need...to be able to say fuck it once in a while and do something irresponsible.
C: I was also thinking that Apatow kind of got himself into a bind with the set up because the women had to be the straight ones to make it all work and he just got stuck, I think, with our main girl—he didn’t know what to do with her. she's not the shrill "wife" but she also lacked any real personality—she was just sort of there. She seemed to just represent pregnancy rather than a real person. Usually his women characters are great though: the warm-hearted Ebay saleswoman in "40-year-old Virgin."
R: The girl in "Freaks and Geeks" too.
C: Yeah, this girl was warm and accepting but just sort of had nothing of her own (no friends, no interests). The conspicuous absence of any other inner life left her sort of blank and that blankness was filled by “needy pregnant woman” junk.
R: She seemed sort of catatonic, in a way, which is not unheard of in the pregnant. the weirdest thing for me was how her transitions happened, out of nowhere.
C: And why did she want him involved? She was clearly REPULSED the morning after. All he said that seemed to win her over was "I'll support you" and BAM she's in. There’s this sense that all women want to hear is a man saying "I'll stop FILL THE BLANK (fantasy baseball, bong hits, whatever)" which is sort of horrifying, that our wants are reduced to that.
R: That and being young and hot.
C: Its just that sad stereotype that men get together and drink and play sports and women get beauty treatments (for men).
R: Even women's selfishness has to be fundamentally unselfish. Treat yourself to a bikini wax!
C: Yeah, what about the lack of pubes in the crowning shot?
R: I’m not sure I even know what to say about that. It’s just a little tragic that we have come to the point where showing a shaved crotch is considered less shocking than showing pubic hair. I did think it was especially weird considering the beard/vagina joke earlier. Maybe they should have said that guy’s face looked like a 1970’s vagina.
C: All weekend I was trying to think of ways it could be justified—maybe when you’re stretched that far the pubes are hard to see?? Maybe the MPAA has a ban on pubes? But it was a waxed porn star birth! An inflatable doll style vagina. We gasped for a reason, and I don't think it was the reason the movie intended.
We'll be appearing in Washington DC at Politics and Prose for a brief reading, discussion and Q and A on Saturday June 23rd at 1 PM. Hope you can join us-- and if you know any pregnant women/ new moms in the DC metropolitan area, by all means spread the word!