There are plenty of shiny, expensive objects I lust after, but I’ve never cared much what my ride looks like or what company’s insignia is on its rear. But as my family stands at the crossroads between old car and new car, I find myself feeling unusually emotional about the transition. I am going to miss the old buggy.
This, after all, is the car in which we brought home both of our babies. It’s the car in which I struggled and eventually learned to install a car seat. And it’s the car that suffered innumerable tire problems after a harrowing drive to the hospital through pothole-riddled streets to get there just in time for #2 to arrive. It’s the car for which I then waited at the shop as my wife cuddled that newborn on her first full day of life. And so on.
So yes, it’s just a hunk of steel and glass and other materials, which I will be glad to see driven away by a buyer who’s just handed me a check. But it’s also a pile of memories, our mobile home of sorts since before we even had kids. And so forgive me my wistfulness. Those tiny creatures whose first precious moments outside of the hospital were spent in that back seat are now on their second and third car seats. One is going to be a first grader, the other will start nursery school come September. Old enough to ask, incessantly, “Are we almost there?” and to seemingly drop more pretzels on the floor than were in the bag originally. Old enough to lobby for specific types of cars and colors and for where they will sit once we get it.
There’s nothing wrong with the old car, and it should have many years of good life ahead of it with its new owners. But as we look forward to a new member joining our family this fall, we’ll have a new tiny creature who will need his or her own seat and will need to find his or her own place—in the car and everywhere else—beside his or her bigger sisters. Bigger family, bigger car.
And so it’s not all sadness to see the old car go, not by a long shot. But as I learn to navigate a big honkin’ car unlike any other I’ve owned, I’ll also need to do the same with my big honkin’ family. Exciting, even thrilling, something I wouldn’t trade or surrender for anything. And also more than a little scary, a jump into the unknown.
Umpteen car salesman have promised me smooth rides and easy maintenance. May it be.
Today, I had the honor of going to a March of Dimes editorial luncheon that focused on the risks and benefits of mental health medications during pregnancy. March of Dimes is an organization that is near and dear to our hearts, as our very own American Baby/Parents editor-in-chief Dana Points is the chair of its National Communications Advisory Council. This year, March of Dimes is celebrating its 75th anniversary and continues to work toward helping women have healthy, full-term babies.
Mental health medications, and medications in general, have become more common in our society, and that extends to pregnant women. According to the CDC, about 90% of women take at least one medication during pregnancy. Roughly 70% percent take at least one prescription medication. But just how safe is it to take medications, specifically mental health medications, when you have a baby on the way? There is no concrete answer to this question.
According to Dr. Christina Chambers, director of Clinical Research at Rady Children’s Hospital and the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California San Diego, it can be difficult to know for sure what role any given drug may have played in causing a birth defect. One out of every 33 babies has some type of birth defect regardless of whether Mom took any prescription drugs.
The decision to take these medications should be made on a case-by-case basis, and pregnant woman should only stop taking them with their doctor’s approval. Dr. Kimberly Yonkers, director of the PMS and Perinatal Psychiatric Research Program at Yale University, emphasized the importance of balancing possible risks and benefits of any medications given to the mother and the baby. For some women, it may be best to stick to their regimen, while other women can go off their medication under close supervision.
Let’s talk about something we really ought to be talking about a whole lot more: Infertility. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 6.7 million American women aged 15-44 (that’s about one in every ten) will or would have trouble getting pregnant.Yet there’s still this horrible stigma around talking about infertility.
The struggle to get pregnant is one of the worst triple threats a woman or couple could face. Several friends have been trusting enough to open up to me about trying to conceive, and, as a journalist I’ve interviewed many women coping with infertility over the years—yet the confusion, sadness, and frustration many feel never ceases to cut to my core. I’d call it more of an emotional hell than an emotional struggle. Then on top of that, you’ve got the physical struggle. Many fertility procedures are invasive (think surgery)—and getting daily or weekly fertility injections can be brutal.
Finally, and for some, most importantly—you’ve got the financial struggle. The thing is, the emotional and physical struggles are almost always worth it to women who want more than anything to become mothers. But the financial burden can only be “worth it” to those who can afford it, and that’s not everyone.
The high costs of fertility treatments often act as a flat-out barrier to those who can’t afford them. Sure, there are some places in this country where couples having trouble trying to conceive get awesome support—like Massachusetts, where insurance companies that provide pregnancy-related benefits are required to cover diagnosis and treatment of infertility, including IVF. That’s amazing . . . if you happen to live in Massachusetts. If you live in, say, Georgia, your insurance company isn’t required to cover any fertility treatments. Not one.
If you’re curious (or simply really need to know!) about infertility support where you live, you can look up fertility clinics in your area here, and then check out the just-released, state-by-state Fertility Scorecard, created by the phenomenal people over at the RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. They’ve got an interactive map, showing you how each state ranks in terms of providing women with the tools they need to get pregnant. I think anyone looking at the facts will agree that we’ve got a long way to go when it comes to infertility support in America.
There’s a ton of speculation about Kate Middleton’s royal baby-to-be, but we know one fact for sure—and it’s that Kate looks great. How’s she staying in such fantastic shape? According to many reports, the typically active and outdoorsy Duchess is practicing prenatal yoga with a private instructor.
I can already see you rolling your eyes and thinking, “Well, who but the royal family can afford private yoga lessons?!,” but the amazing thing is that anyone can play Kate Middleton for a day (or the full ten months of pregnancy!) with our totally doable prenatal yoga video series. We can’t promise that these moves will suddenly give you a posh British accent (or even give you Kate’s gorgeous figure—a lot of that is genetics, people!) but they will help you look and feel your best.
Have you ever tried prenatal yoga? Would you? Tell us about your pregnancy exercise routine, and share your best tips in the comments.
Here’s the skinny on the Kim Kardashian miscarriage scare: Apparently Kim K was returning from Paris Fashion Week on Tuesday night when she was rushed to a Los Angeles doctor with worries that she was suffering a miscarriage. Pregnant Kim Kardashian, who is four months along, reportedly started feeling ill on the plane and started calling friends in a panic. The great news is that she and baby are A-Okay. The not so great news is why Kim’s health was in jeopardy in the first place.
Mean-spirited tabloids have been splashed with “Pregnant Kim Kardashian this” and “Pregnant Kim Kardashian that” for weeks now. Maybe you saw a photo that was making the rounds on Facebook, comparing an unflattering pic of Kim with Shamu the Killer Whale. Heck, maybe–like a few of my friends–you even shared it on your wall or liked it on someone else’s page. I know it seems like it’s all in good fun, but in the end, it’s really not.
This is hard for me to say, since I am in no way a fan (I really don’t understand why she’s famous!), but Kim Kardashian is human, and she suffers the same insecurities that any of us would. For a woman whose entire empire has been built on her physical attributes, getting slammed for pregnancy weight gain has got to be painful. I’m sure she’s freaking out. And apparently, that kind of criticism is at least in part responsible for her miscarriage scare. She’s been so upset about the attacks on her figure that she’s reportedly been obsessively working out seven days a week—and wearing herself out. Not good for her, and not good for baby.
Anyone who knows me can attest that I love snarky gossip as much as the next girl, but I do think commentary on super-sensitive things like pregnancy weight gain is in really bad taste. I mean, the woman is going through one of the biggest physical and emotional challenges she’ll experience in her life, and weight gain is a part of that. I’m not saying we should sit around and sing Koombaya together (booooooriiiiiing!), but I do think pregnant women (including Kim K!) deserve a break.
Do you agree that people are too hard on Pregnant Kim Kardashian? Do you think people have gone too far with insults about her pregnancy weight gain, or do you think that as a celeb she’s fair game? Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts!
Huge news to those of us on the royal bumpwatch—Pregnant Kate Middleton is having a girl (or so we think from a slip of the tongue yesterday!). While greeting some of her well wishers in Grimsby, England, a woman gave the Duchess of Cambridge a teddy bear, prompting Kate to say, “Thank you, I’ll take that for my d–” Holy smokes. Of course she could have been saying she’d take that for her dog, Lupo, but it’s way more fun to believe that she meant daughter–and that the royal couple is having a girl!
If Kate Middleton really is having a girl, she’s going to be a bonafide princess—which in this day and age of Disney Princess mania, is a pretty big deal. That said, I really hope Prince William and Kate Middleton’s baby grows up to be a new kind of princess–the kind that resets what the word “princess” means to little girls everywhere. The kind of princess that inspires girls to be more, to do more than simply be beautiful (although with Lady Lovely Locks for a mom, she’s sure to be gorgeous). With that thought in mind, I’ve decided to play fairy godmother and bestow my wishes for the baby princess-to-be:
May she have the courage of Katniss . . .
While it’s insanely unlikely that any royal babe would ever face the trials that Katniss does in the Hunger Games trilogy, I hope that this princess borrows from the heroine’s playbook when it comes to being courageous and doing the right thing.
The moxie of Merida . . .
In Brave, Merida stands up for herself in a way that no other Disney Princess ever has. She doesn’t want to be rescued by a prince, or even to have a prince “rescue” her kingdom. When things go wrong, it’s up to her to set them right—and she does.
The drive of Dora . . .
Whether or not Kate Middleton is having a girl, it’s certain that this child won’t often be left to roam the countryside alone like Dora does! Still, I absolutely hope she emulates Dora’s infectious can-do attitude.
The strength of She-Ra . . .
Come on, guys. How cool would it be to have a real-life Princess of Power? Maybe she wouldn’t have to actually move mountains like He-Man’s sister did, but it would be incredible to have a princess who stood up for important issues and who had the power to really make a difference. Also? It’d kind of be the best thing ever if she rode around on a pegasus.
And the brains of Belle
While I absolutely don’t want Kate Middleton’s baby girl to end up in a relationship with a scary and violent beast (yikes!), I do hope she has Belle’s curiosity about the world, as well as her love of books and knowledge.
If Kate Middleton is having a girl, what do you hope she’ll be like? Do you think she could change the way we think about princesses? I, for one, certainly hope so.
Let’s face it—pregnancy super sizes your whole body. Even if you stay fit and healthy, you’ll have a pregnancy bump, and almost definitely a pregnancy bum and pregnancy boobs to complete the look. But the one upsizing that many moms-to-be don’t expect is pregnancy feet.
A recent study by the University of Iowa confirmed that up to 70 percent of women will see their feet grow by up to half an inch in length during pregnancy. That’s a whole different shoe size, ladies! And although I’ve heard that a lot of moms’ feet eventually shrink back down to their pre-pregnancy size, the researchers in this study are saying that for many mothers, the growth is permanent.
I know, I know. I can already hear you guys groaning over never again being able to fit into those gorgeous strappy wedges you saved for (and only wore twice), but we all know there’s an obvious upside to having pregnancy feet. This is a bonafide, no-excuses-necessary pass to go shoe shopping to your heart’s content. You’ll need flats, sandals, boots, heels–heck, maybe even new bedroom slippers! I mean, you? Barefoot and pregnant? No stinkin’ way.
Honestly, pregnancy feet might just be the best thing to happen during pregnancy besides, well, having a baby!
Do you (or did you) have pregnancy feet? How much did your feet grow? Inquiring minds want to know . . .