Tag Archives: motherhood

My London Diary: Page 1

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by | August 4, 2015 · 9:00 am

The Top Ten Reasons I Haven’t Lost the Baby Weight

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Did you know that postpartum mothers who lose all their baby weight are actually able to fucking FLY?

10) Genetics. Or whatever, not genetics, but like, some complex cocktail of genetics and Lamarckian evolution, like how my mom was a giraffe with a short neck but she realized that if she just stretched her short neck she could reach a tall tree.

lamarck_giraffesAnd then I was born being able to reach a tall tree, if by “reach a tall tree” you mean “maintain my lustrous dappled Irish skin and delicious baby-feeding boobs on 300 potato-famine calories a day.”


These are my great-great-grandparents, and they didn’t find a potato, but they found a boat I think. And there were Fritos on the boat, apparently.

Or, like, womb environment: This Important Scientist Hypothesizes that too many generations of American women devoured too much subsidized corn or whatever and got dishwashers and at first it made us The Fittest Americans In History (whoa can we talk about what “fit” means, hi Nazis) but now we are just a bunch of fat slobs who deserve to be killed when our huge fat babies tear us apart during labor, but you know, there are c-sections, so even though We Should Have All Died we all got to live to make America fat. No hope for me. No hope for Baby Jane. Maybe some hope for, like, my next baby’s grandchild, if I do enough fucking preggo Pilates.

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The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson: An Object of Love

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Maggie Nelson’s new book, The Argonauts (Graywolf Press, 2015), might be better than anything I’ve read previously by her (yes, better than The Art of Crueltyand even, I dare say, Bluets). Part personal essay/cultural critique/love letter to her newborn child and to her partner, renowned artist Harry Dodge, this whirlwind of text falls into neat fragments with its title borne from a Barthesian simile:

… in which Barthes describes how the subject who utters the phrase “I love you” is like “the Argonaut renewing his ship during its voyage without changing its name.” Just as the Argo’s parts may be replaced over time but the boat is still called the Argo, whenever the lover utters the phrase “I love you,” its meaning must be renewed by each use, as “the very task of love and of language is to give to one and the same phrase inflections which will be forever new” (p. 5).

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It’s a Girl! Or, Am I Finally Ready for Jumpsuit Feminism?

I’m the kind of feminist who values stuff that has been traditionally associated with The Feminine. If I have to choose between “difference feminism” and “equality feminism,” I’ll choose difference: no unisex jumpsuits for me, Charlotte Perkins Gilman! You might expect that I wouldn’t want to dress my children in jumpsuits, either.


This family ruined everything by forgetting the styling rules for unisex hair.

I don’t actually believe that there’s anything in the world that’s fundamentally “feminine” or “female.” I just tend to like objects and activities and aesthetics that people consider “girly”—or, at least, that Americans have considered “girly” during my lifetime, even though some of those things (poetry, the color pink) were once the domains of boys, while others (talking loudly, talking a lot) get gendered differently depending on the context. Because I’ve more or less colored within the lines of what girls like me (white, cis, able-bodied, neurotypical, highly educated, apparently straight) were expected to do, I’ve experienced sexism and misogyny differently from the women I know who have had to struggle to gain a foothold in male-dominated fields, or who were shamed for not looking or dressing the way women are “supposed” to look or dress, or whose lives don’t conform to heteronormative models of marriage and child-rearing, or who have had to bear the burden of convincing people that they were women at all. Instead, for most of my life I’ve been most affected by the brand of sexism that dismisses my interests and practices as trivial and marginal. And, as many of my posts here and most of my academic writing makes clear, I have a very strong knee-jerk reaction to that kind of sexism—not because it’s The Worst Kind of Sexism in the World, but because so few people even seem to recognize it as sexism. Making people recognize that kind of sexism feels like important work to me, and like work I might be able to do.

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GO ASK ANAIS: Coworkers, I Love You, But You’re Bringing Me Down (AKA Stop Shaming My Radical Parenting Choices!)

Go Ask Anais

Illustration by Forsyth Harmon


Dear Anais,

This past June I became a mother. I’m also an educated professional. I took the maximum amount of maternity leave available to me (about five months), and about three months in, I came to grips with the fact that I’d actually be returning to my job. Just to clarify, I actually wanted to return to my job—but I think that there’s a phase of the postpartum period where many new parents just believe they will always stay home with their babies (or live in the fantasy that they will), because parent-baby attachment is just that kind of intense love explosion. But I digress.

Once it was time to buckle down and actually figure out childcare, My (male) partner and I decided, for many many reasons, that he would leave his job to stay home with our baby son, while I returned to work full time. While financially it’s not super-comfortable, we are privileged that this is an option for us, even if it’s temporary. The decision feels to me like exactly what I want in a family—baby gets to be cared for by a beloved parent, and parents both understand the intensity and joy of being full-time with baby, as well as the intensity and joy of balancing a working life and family life (my partner worked full-time during my maternity leave). It also felt like an incredible way to counteract crappy gender dynamics, by letting our son be nurtured and comforted by my partner as his primary caregiver. Continue reading

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