Month: November 2014

Thanksgiving Leftovers Sandwich

The TueDo List: Enjoy Your Leftovers, Shop Small Businesses and Indulge in Holiday Films

My goal for this weekend is to do as little as possible. And I’m grateful that I have an opportunity to lapse into inertia. Here are a few other things going on this weekend that I’m thankful for (and you may be too). Happy holidays, my friends. It’s on. Leftovers I could not be less interested in the mall this weekend, but I’m all about leftovers and television. As for the remains of your dinner, Food Network, Martha Stewart, Southern Living and Cooking Light all have recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers — and many of them not the typical turkey-stuffing-cranberry-sauce sandwich variety. Weekend TV guides from Mashable, Daily Beast and Indiewire can help with the glowy box entertainment. Indiewire’s guide is my favorite — they’ recommend watching The Leftovers tomorrow on HBO Signature, calling it a bleak but must-watch drama. Shop Small Amid the Black Friday and Cyber Monday chaos lies Small Business Saturday. It’s an excellent opportunity to remind myself to do most, if not all, of my holiday shopping in my community. This event is (somewhat ironically) sponsored by American Express, which provides a map of local …

Why I Was Ungrateful For Those Gratitude Lists

For many years, you could spare me your gratitude lists. I didn’t want any of that manufactured positivity. I didn’t believe in it, couldn’t abide by it. The last thing I needed was your swirly font and numbered reasons to dig life, doubling as a reminder of all of the things I didn’t have. Then, faced with a choice to change everything or die, I quit drinking. The first person who really helped me understand how to live as a sober person asked me to send her a gratitude list as soon as I woke up every day. It wasn’t really negotiable. She told me a grateful person had a better chance of not drinking, and my desire to quit was bigger than my hatred of gratitude lists. l had also opened my big mouth and told her I would try anything to get better, so I shut up and sent her five things (mostly) every morning, in a plain black font text thread. My gratitude lists include being alive and they often include coffee, as some mornings …

Why Don’t My White Friends Talk About Race? Here’s What They Told Me

My anger was palpable long before the announcement by the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri. I was already antsy. Wanting to fight. Craving some sort of confrontation, as I often do when life doesn’t hand me lemons, but lobs them at my head. When I learned a decision was made, I was ready. I wanted to go in and tell people what I really thought of them and, most importantly, their silence. I am a feisty person and when I hurt, I use my words not for good but for bad. This pain was amplified by knowing full well that Darren Wilson wouldn’t be indicted. A feeling that many of us had sitting at the bottom of our guts like a heavy meal. I wanted my friends, my largely white, female following, to get angry, to say something and to feel that hurt. So, as a writer, I used my words. I put out 140 characters that explained exactly how I felt: I would love to see those social justice/social good folks to at least …

The Super Weird Thing I’m Thankful For

We asked a few of our contributors for the things they’re thankful for — not the obvious things, like family, food, water, health — but those little intrinsic things only they can appreciate. A dishwasher named Sven is perhaps my favorite.  In fact, two of our contributors actually named their beloved inanimate objects, because they are so fond of them. Let the weird begin… Vamps I can’t live without trashy romance novels, the worse the better, even better if they involve vampires — did I just write that out loud? Guess I did. There is nothing like a bad romance novel to wipe out the convoluted work of trying to build a tech start up and dealing with wireframes and coding by day. —Adaora Udoji Zzzs with JJ JJ is my travel-size down pillow. I really don’t think I could sleep without him. I come from a long line of pillow-namers 🙂 I can roll it up and put it in my suitcase! —Wendy Goldman Scherer Pick Up The Damn Phone I am thankful for people who still …

Why I Give: Angel Investor Susan McPherson on Social Good

Susan McPherson was only 21 when her mother died in a tragic hotel fire. Rather than allowing the grief to define her, Susan has dedicated her life — and funds — to giving back to the world. I met Susan only about a year ago, but in that time I’ve been awed to watch how often she gives, in ways both large and small. From her work as founder and CEO of McPherson Strategies, consulting with brands on corporate responsibility to advising several women-run start-ups and serving on the boards of Girl Rising and Business Council for Peace, she even finds time to host #CSRChat, a bi-weekly chat on Twitter. Last month she wrote a great piece for Medium about her path to becoming an angel investor. She writes, “Through angel investing, I could harness my passion for helping other women make change, while supporting the wider movement to increase the number of women providing capital and expertise to early-stage companies.” Freshly 50, Susan McPherson is a petite powerhouse; she’s got more energy, buoyancy and …

How a Community of Drug-Users Saved Us From Violence

In the mid-1990s, I worked for Philadelphia’s needle exchange program, Prevention Point. Twenty-plus years later, I cherish the community that the needle exchange created — that odd and random assortment of people of all ages, races, economic strati and degrees of addiction. The ties that bound us seemed so tenuous. Hundreds of people would line up at the sites — street corners in Kensington or Germantown known for open-air drug markets, sex work and gun violence. And we, the “helpers,” would arrive in a van to distribute supplies that would prevent the spread of HIV, Hepatitis C and other infectious diseases. I didn’t know then that I would be helped at least as much as I helped others. Many of the exchangers (people who used the needle exchange) were extremely tense when they arrived at a site because they were jonesing and had been waiting for a clean needle. To an outsider, our safety may have seemed at risk though those of us who volunteered or worked at the needle exchange rarely gave it a …

Thirty Years of Thank You

Q: What do you do if you miss your mother-in-law? A: Reload and try again. That’s one of my favorite mother-in-law jokes, which I tell with impunity here because I actually love my mother-in-law. In fact, as I sat down to ponder the subject of gratitude and who I am grateful to have in my life, hers was the first face that popped into my head. Truth be told, I also thought of my dog, which led me to consider what my MIL and my terrier have in common, besides a passion for dark meat turkey. I reckoned they both come whenever I call them and they both let me know how much they love me all the time. The fact I “got” Barbara simply by marrying her son is a total bonus. For three decades, she has spoiled me with kindness, not to mention skillets full of crispy brown rice and wheat berries (my fave) and buckets of hot fudge sauce (my other fave). Without preaching, she’s taught me much about being a good …

Practicing Gratitude: 5 Things I Do Every Day

As a recovering alcoholic, practicing gratitude is a key part of my daily life. It has to be — otherwise, I start to slowly slip back into a self-centered, self-pitying, reckless way of thinking that, if left unchecked, will most likely lead me back to the easy-out comfort of my former best friend, the vodka bottle. I use the word “practice” because for me, being grateful is not easy. Sure, on some days, when everything’s going my way, it’s a cinch. But on the more difficult ones, it takes effort. And on some days, I totally know I’m phoning it in. But here’s the thing — even just an ounce of effort is better than none at all. Because since I got sober and started incorporating these daily “thank you” routines into my life, my once non-existent self-esteem has started to soar. It’s actually quite amazing. I’m feeling more and more comfortable in my own skin, and I think that’s because I’m actually learning how to reach outside of it, and see the bigger picture …

Margit’s Note: Hey, Thanks

  It’s a rough day to try and be thankful. But there is something almost apropos that the Ferguson decision happened only a few days before Thanksgiving. Daring us to find our better angels. Find the commonality, find the hugs, find the conversation that needs to happen. For me, there’s a lot to be thankful for: health; family; a roof; the Metrocard that gets me where I need to go. a hot coffee in the morning; a book that changes my mind. And as TueNight, we’re most thankful for the community of diverse voices that share their brave, hilarious, surprising and insightful voices with us every week. You are everything. This Week: Heather Barmore asks why you’re being so quiet about Ferguson Laurie White writes her thank you notes Kathleen Warner realizes cancer was a catalyst for change Julie Parr is grateful for a community of drug-users Amy Barr finds friendship in her own family Our contributors share the weird things they’re thankful for…. And I talk to an angel (investor), Susan McPherson And a Few Ways We Can …

Late Night Snack: “Loss” — Our Very First Podcast

Well it’s appropriately and officially “Late Night” (almost midnight, here on the East Coast) and we’re posting our very first podcast. Back in October when we had professional actors read some of our stories aloud at our TueNight birthday party, we realized how fun it was to hear our words aloud. And, since we Google Hangout (amongst ourselves) each week to plan upcoming issues, we thought we’d also share a bit of that behind the scenes with you, dear reader. So HERE. WE. GO! This week: We discuss this week’s theme and our own forms of “Loss” — from loved ones to cats to heck, virginity. We read an excerpt from Wendy Goldman Scherer’s piece, “The Inlaws: The Collateral Damage of Divorce“ Rebecca Soffer, co-founder of Modern Loss talks about her own grief, and why she started a site all about loss. Have a listen, and please tell us what you think in the comments below. Production Notes: Adrianna Dufay did an amazing job producing this whole shebang. Much love friend. Special thanks this week to Ben Patterson, from HeresTheThing.com for the mic loan and more. …

Being Small is the Greatest Escape

There is no such thing as quantifying loss. Loss is beyond measure, inherently both heavy and weightless, its true burden to be measured only by those who are carrying it. In that way my dead parents equals your failed business venture or your sister’s cheating spouse. We cannot assign it a hierarchy. Loss takes, and takes, and takes. This price is what equalizes. We only need know it takes. I had the hubris to write a book about walking through a season of loss in my life. I called it Falling Apart In One Piece, a bit of wordplay that pleased me, because with it, I could announce my failures and overcome them, too, in a single breath — even though the truth is, it took me almost three years to walk that distance. The night of the book’s official publication, I was feted at a party. It was a poignant kind of triumphant: I stood on the stairs in the entry hall of a friend’s beautiful suburban home, surrounded by dozens of people listening …

The In-Laws: The Collateral Damage of Divorce

I married young. Well, young-ish. I should have listened to my grandmother (who didn’t live to see the wedding) when she told me it was a mistake. I should have listened to the voices in my head. I should have called it off before we stood under the chuppah and definitely should have called it off before the mauve-flowered brunch. But I didn’t. It was heartbreak to realize my husband had no interest in being married to me after two years. Sure there were signs. Big fat neon signs. And when he basically stopped speaking to me, I truly got the hint. He was a horrific match for me. We had nothing in common, it seemed. And that day (it was Rosh Hashanah) when he told me at the park that he hated my father and that I was just like him, it stung. Sharply. So when he asked for a divorce, I was all in. But at that moment, I didn’t think about how hard it would be to tell my parents who paid …

Music Collage

The TueDo List: Turkey Trotting, Lost in Music and Getting (and Giving) Help

This weekend will be frenetic for most of the United States, with Thanksgiving travel plans and Black Friday looming on the horizon. And if you’re like me, you’re settling into that time-honored tradition of complaining about the cold. As an alternative, let’s look at some of the fun things this weekend has in store. Lost in Music Shh, don’t tell — I actually like One Direction, so let’s just call that an homage to my lost childhood. The boys have a new album out, which is named Four because it’s their fourth release. I’m also into Wilco’s four-disc Alpha Mike Foxtrot set. It’s a collection of rare and non-LP recordings that would make a great a holiday gift for a fan on your list. My favorite music news of the week was the bizarre invitation sent to former Drive By Trucker’s frontman Jason Isbell to audition for The Voice. He was a good sport and accepted, promising to wear a bikini while he performs. I’m on my umpteenth listen to his 2013 solo release Southeastern.  Losing Thanksgiving Calories The fondly named (for everyone but the bird in question) turkey trots …

Ode to a Lost iPhone (A Poem)

It’s morning in ChelseaI have but a selfieto show where you might last have been.I’ve scanned all the garbagePeered under the cushionsI love you like dearest of kin. Are you in the dryer?Looked lower and higherIn search of my wee data fix.Seems my 5S is goneI’m such a moronMaybe I now buy a 6?I lost all my contactsMy apps are for naughtHow can I now get an Uber?Hailing a cabAnnoying and drabFeeling like such a big loser.How ’bout the cloud?Oh, I was too cheap!to cough up for additional storage.Hubris, my friendYou got me againPlease now talk me down off of this high ledge.Hey — I never claimed to be a poet. Although poetry writing was my major in college. Whatever. Just read on, phone owner.My license allows(poetic that is)To above say some technical fallacyOf course I have back upto prevent for the lack ofmy iJunk but oh now-you-seeHow punished a girl(a person, to wit)Can feel by the loss of a phoneTo keep track of my gearand prevent such bad fearI may need a personal drone.So …

10 Years After Losing Twins, A Mother Reflects

I was almost six months pregnant with twin boys after undergoing IVF when, at a routine anatomy ultrasound, we discovered one twin had died, and shortly after we got the rest of the bad news. I was suffering from preeclampsia, a severe case, and I had to be admitted to the hospital immediately. Twelve hours after I was admitted, the doctors surrounded my bed and told me that I was going to die unless the pregnancy was terminated. Either my son and I could both die, or I would just lose my son. It was the worst day of my life. After I came home from the hospital I disappeared into grief. For three weeks I lay on my couch, watching reruns of the vampire show Angel, and listlessly eating junk food. I spent most of my time in the gray of loneliness, a hand on my empty belly, feeling terribly lost. I remember handing out Halloween candy to the neighbor’s kids while silent tears ran down my face. I remember occasionally swimming out of …

What I Learned When I Lost My Hair

For most of my freshman year of college, I wore a wig. My mom’s stylist had cut and dyed it to blend seamlessly with my own thinning hair. It looked natural, but I was always afraid that someone might find out. Maybe someone would knock it off-center at a party. Maybe a professor would notice the fake hairline behind my real hairline. After a few days of clipping the wig on behind closet doors or inside bathroom stalls, I realized I had to come clean to my roommate. The possibility that she’d spill my secret filled me with terror. People would find out that I was ugly, resent my fakeness, and leave me alone in a new and daunting place. All I could do was communicate how immensely important it was that she not tell a soul. I wanted to scare her into silence and she kept quiet like I’d asked. I didn’t consider the possibility that another person valued me enough to respect my wishes. I didn’t feel valuable, only afraid; anxiety is super …

The Beast with the Least: Taking Our Manx Home

Straight out of college, back in 2001, I took a job with the San Francisco SPCA’s animal hospital. Every morning I’d drive down to the Mission and spend the day processing new pets and arranging veterinary care for others. I saw homeless people with piles of donated towels they’d collected and brought in to use as payment for their beloved pets’ medical bills; I saw sweet old pit bulls covered with bite marks from when dogfighters had used them as bait; I saw a stone-faced lady lie down on the floor of an exam room when it was time to put her cancer-ridden Rottweiler to sleep. I’d cry the whole way home in the car every night. It was wonderful to spend so much time with animals — all I’d wanted when I was a little girl was to be a veterinarian — but the reality of so much suffering I was unable to prevent bowled me over like a wave. It was a kind of helplessness I’d never imagined, much less experienced. One day …

Close to Death: From My Hospital Bed, I Could Hear Her Dying

Someone was wailing. I pawed through the bed sheets for my 3-month-old son, but I couldn’t find him. Everything felt hot and damp from my leaking breast milk. I heard the cries again. Oooooh! I kept trying to peel back the twisted linen. And then, Mercy! Mercy! This was not my son bellowing. Instead of his fuzzy head I found a giant call button. Then my eyes made out the lopsided fruit basket and plastic pink water pitcher. I tried to sit up, but got caught. There were wires snaking out of my gown and I smelled like a sour armpit. The past 24 hours leached slowly back into my brain. I was 40, had just given birth to my third child, and was training for a half-marathon when a night of “bad indigestion” turned out to be a heart attack. Instead of picking up my older kids from the playground after school, I’d found myself on a metal table, gazing up as a handsome Italian doctor stented one of my coronary arteries and chatted …

Margit’s Note: What We Leave Behind

As we get older, there’s more and more we leave behind. Or we packrat it up in a plastic bin and try to hold on. But with people, places — and even hair, pets and phones — we know there will always come a time to let go. This Week: Cecily Kellogg reflects on the loss of her twins. Lauren Oster returns her beloved Manx. Wendy Scherer parts ways with her in-laws. Shira Mizel contemplates the loss of her hair. Stacy Morrison asks what happens when you lose everything? Jody Jones writes an ode to last year’s iPhone. And for Modern Loss’ Abby Sher, death is only a hospital bed away. Offline: TueNight Talks: If you’d like a little behind-the-scenes on this here site, I’ll be speaking at the Indie Media Camp in Brooklyn tomorrow (November 19) in a talk entitled, “I Started a Site Last Year and This Is How It’s Going.” Yep, pretty self-explanatory — should be lots of fun. Also at the conference will be Fusion’s Dodai Stewart, Medium editor-in-chief Kate Lee, Gothamist’s …

Rumer TiftMerritt and AniDiFranco

The TueDo List: Period Reads, New Jams and Judy Blume

This week’s issue is about that time of the month, which may or may not be this weekend depending on your life and cycle. But is it ever really a bad time for chocolate, good stories from good women, pretty songs and Judy Blume? Nope. So happy weekend — whether or not there’s a cramp currently in your style. Period Jams No one compares to Karen Carpenter, says this ‘70s child raised on her music. But Rumer’s voice comes pretty close, as do her tunes perfect for a lazy afternoon. Her new album, Into Colour, isn’t out in the U.S. until early 2015, but it dropped this week in the UK and Japan and you can get a free download of the single “Sam” from her website. Meanwhile, I’m catching up on her previous releases and feeling like I’m on a sweet musical trip to when my flare jeans were much tinier. In other women-in-music news, Ani DiFranco released Allergic to Water, and the wildly talented singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Tift Merritt joins D.C. area legend Mary Chapin Carpenter and …

How the Founder of HelloFlo is Starting a Revolution, One Month at a Time

You may have seen the hilarious videos Camp Gyno or First Moon Party, both of which went viral with their no B.S. take on getting your period. Naama Bloom is the force behind those videos, a bit of content marketing for her company HelloFlo.com. Bloom was a marketing executive when she started noodling over the idea for a tampon/pad delivery service that would set you up with products at just the right time of the month. But HelloFlo has evolved into more than that — broader health care resources for women during pregnancy, post-partum and soon menopause. I had an illuminating chat with Bloom about how she’s turning the behind-closed-doors business about women’s bodies into something a lot more practical and shame-free. Margit: So how did you get started in the period business? Naama: It started as just a fun, intellectual exercise, honestly. I had a job at a small software company and I was noticing all these subscription services popping up. One of them was for a company called Manpacks, which originally started to …

Why Is Talking About Her First Period Still So Awkward?

The average age for girls in the United States to get their first period is 12 to 13, though the range of normal spans 9 to 15. And some research has shown that even that number is further encroaching into childhood, dipping more and more below 10. As a mother of girls, that’s cause for pause. You want them to be spared of all that a little while longer. It feels like a very adult thing for a child to process and deal with, but the last thing you want is for her to be scared. Even though you’d dread the thought that that totally carefree part of childhood would be gone forever, you want her to be prepared. However, having “the talk” (or at least one of the “talks”) is not the easiest information to give or process. The conversation I’d never have with my daughter: “You see, honey, you’ll be dealing with blood for a very, very long time.” “How long?” “Just 38 years or so. Oh, and it’s every month…. But you get used to it.” Not such pleasant news. Of course it is a sign of good health, but let’s …

16 and Not Even Close to Pregnant

At 16 years old many important teenage milestones had been checked off the list: Drivers permit? Check. Sweet 16 co-ed birthday bash? You bet. First kiss? Well…yeah. A few years ago. But there was one important thing that had hadn’t happened yet. One big thing. No I’m not talking about getting into an R-rated movie or being invited to that kegger in the woods (this was the mid-‘80s, people). I’m talking about getting my period. If getting your period meant that you were now a woman, that meant that despite my big boobs and insanely-intense interest in boys and Mick Jagger, I somehow remained a little girl. My gang of girlfriends, along with what seemed to be the rest of the world, had morphed into adulthood – what was the matter with me? I had been to the gynecologist who said to be patient, every girl develops differently, it would come, just give it time. I started getting sympathy cramps when my best friend Susanne had them. I started wearing a maxi pad “just in …

Hormonal Havoc: Understanding the Symptoms of Menopause

Once we hit 45 years old, a thought goes through all our minds at least once: How will “the change” affect me?  Will I have crazy, uncontrollable bleeding for weeks on end, drenching sweats that happen all day and night or painful sex that makes intimacy with my husband a thing of the past? The path to this change of life, medically known as menopause, affects every one of us differently. There was a time when we got together with our girlfriends to have a glass (or two) of wine and the conversations typically revolved around topics related to our out of control teenage children, financial issues and complaining about our husband’s/partner’s obsession with football. The conversation takes a dramatic shift when you are the first one in the group to bravely admit that you had a sudden burst of fire in your body that caused you to sweat so badly it looked like you just stepped out of the shower. The terrifying look on your 30-year-old friend’s face only highlights the fact that you are entering …

BookMaven’s Picks: My Favorite Heroines of a Certain Age

While there aren’t scores of books out there specifically and explicitly about menstruation (can anyone name many others than Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, Carrie and The Red Tent?), there are none — zip, zero, nada — specifically and explicitly about what our parents and grandparents elliptically referred to as “the change.” Go ahead, comb through your mental library stacks, type away on your search engine of choice — you’ll find that no author of fiction wants to be tagged with “menopause, end of menarche, change of life, cessation of menses.” Small wonder. We live in a youth-obsessed culture, and for centuries women’s nature-driven transition from fertile to fallow has been derided, mocked, given the gimlet eye. Women of a certain age in literature were long given this treatment, too: Think of Chaucer’s Wife of Bath, or Lady Macbeth, on and on to Mrs. Danvers and even Miss Jean Brodie. Fortunately, today women tend to think of menopause less as the end of life, and more as “the end of the sentence.” That …

Margit’s Note: A Bloody Good Issue

Period. What other word can simultaneously represent major “ugh” as well as the most innocuous of punctuation? We’re moving through blood, space and time — backwards to when we first screamed at our own undies, and forward to when it all just stops. As Tweens II (you know I can’t bear to say the phrase “middle-aged”), we’re beginning to prep our daughters in a way that feels shame-free and honest; and prep ourselves for the change (pronounced as Linda Richman would) in the same way. We ain’t kicking up our heels and singing along with Menopause the Musical, friends. But the girls are alright. This Week: Jennifer Ha figures out how to have “the talk” with her daughter. Diane Di Costanzo is feeling the hot coals. Karen Gerwin wonders if she should slap her daughter. Lori Ferraro is late, late, late. Bethanne Patrick gives us her favorite heroines of a certain age. We get the scoop on what the heck happens during menopause from the experts at HelloFlo.com. And I interview the founder of HelloFlo, …

TueDo11.7

The TueDo List: Yoga for Writers, the Echo and Dude Flicks You’ll Dig

This week’s issue was all about—and mostly by—men. There are lots of things to do this weekend made by or featuring guys that we can all enjoy. So have at it, ladies and gents. And whatever men you happen to hang out with this weekend, may they be of the enlightened variety (and even more so after they hang out with you.) Yoga—for Writers I love San Francisco, and nothing makes me want to book a last minute ticket from DC (you know, if I were a millionaire) than Chronicle columnist Mark Morford’s Yoga for Writers class at Yoga Tree on Sunday from 1:15-4:15. “One part hotly energized yoga class, one part fearless creative writing workshop, taking turns with each, blurring the edges of both. What will emerge? How will your voice change? Can a good backbend scandalize your boring syntax?” Oh yeah. Mark promises dynamic asana sequences interspersed with bursts of creative writing exercises, and the opportunity to fulfill the dream I didn’t know I had of showing up to yoga with a fully charged laptop …

Why Women’s Equality is Essential To This Father

On November 4, Americans all over the country will be voting in yet another important election. My fellow New Yorkers and I have a governor to re-elect or elect. Lots of big races across the country will be closely monitored on Tuesday. I know I will be staying up late that night to check out the latest results. I do hope my daughter will be interested in politics. I think what might help is to develop an interest in some issues and platforms while she matures. One of those issues is certainly Women’s Equality. I am a father of a daughter, a husband of a wife, and son of a mother. I sincerely believe it is my duty to support them and other women in the drive to create more equity in terms of work compensation. I know that I want what is best for my daughter. I want her to be validated and respected and not negatively labeled because she is female. I want her to feel safe and secure when she ventures to …

What My Wife Taught Me About Street Harassment

Damon Young is surprised and disappointed at many men’s reactions to the Hollaback! video. Haven’t they listened when women have told them about being afraid?  I was in D.C. around this time last year for a screening of our TV pilot. We (my now wife and I) drove down from Pittsburgh that day, and made it to town at around five. Since the screening was at 7:30, we had a couple hours to spare, so we stopped somewhere on U Street to grab something to eat, and eventually met up with our homegirl to walk to Busboys and Poets (where the screening was held) together. It was a 15-20 minute walk from where we were to Busboys. During the trip, I received a text I needed to reply to, so I slowed my stride and stopped for a few moments. They slowed too, but I told them to keep going and I’d just catch up. I was done replying a minute or so later. By this time, they were 50 feet ahead of me, totally engrossed in their own …

How I Became a (Junior) Birth Partner

I can’t remember whether it was the second visit to the midwife or the first session with the doula when I began to feel a visceral empathy for Hillary Clinton circa 1992. At some point during my wife’s (even now I hesitate to say ‘our’) pregnancy, it dawned on me that “this must be what a political spouse feels like” sitting on a dais, or in my case a chair, almost always positioned somewhat askew from the interaction between my wife and a prenatal caregiver. There I would sit, smiling and laughing and gesturing supportively in all the correct places, feeling highly scrutinized yet invisible, and realizing my only chance of becoming a full participant in the conversation would be by asserting myself in a way that might come across as overstepping, pushy, or even militant. Don’t get me wrong, the highly skilled and compassionate professionals who helped us along the path to parenthood were always happy to engage me on a serious level. But I always felt as if an unspoken burden of proof …