Video on Today: In the latest in our “Shine a Light” series, TODAY’s Tamron Hall meets with several women brave enough to share their stories of domestic violence, and she reveals guilt she feels over domestic violence her own sister faced.
One of my closest friends, Katie, was on the Today Show this morning speaking about her experience with domestic violence (she is the blonde woman who speaks first). I’m floored by how courageous and well-spoken she is. And the organization she works for, Day One, has raised more than $20k since it aired — a lot of money for a small nonprofit. So, so proud of her.
Gah he IS my husband, isn’t he? Still getting used to that — though we’ve really launched straight into married life. In the first week we met with a lady about life insurance, added him to my health plan, went to Ikea, and installed complicated shelves in the baby’s room — andwe’re still married. Amazing.
We met nearly 6 years ago at our friend’s supper club. I was helping to serve and he was there early to hang out. Our friend introduced us ‘cause we both work/worked in green buildings (he specialized in clean tech law) and we immediately hit it off. (Though his opening line to me was that in all my jewelry, I reminded him of his (Indian) mother. Never letting him live that down.) He took my card and emailed me on the spot, lalala.
And then … his date showed up.
She was kinda mousey, nothing I couldn’t handle, and I could tell it wasn’t serious. That night I got home, sank into an easy chair, and told my roommate Jane, So I met a guy….
But then he didn’t make it to my crazy global warming birthday party the following weekend (man, those were the days), and then I was hit by an SUV and was out of commission for a month, so we didn’t see each other ‘til Halloween. Jane and I were absolutely not going to go out ‘cause we had a 4 am wake-up call the next day to leave for PA to canvass for Obama. But our third roomie, Andrea, coerced us. When I mentioned this guy I knew (M.) was throwing a party in the East Village, her eyes lit up. Little did we know that her real motive was to casually meet up with a guy she had just started dating who she knew would be out in Manhattan.
Anyhoo, long story long, Jane and I found our kitties in Wilkes-Barre, Obama was elected, and M. and I were just friends for the next few months. Friends who had a crush on each other for sure — though I have since learned he was very dismayed at the prospect of dating “a blogger,” cue maniacal laughter, and, for my part, he was growing this outlandish beard and dressing in overly formal clothing to counteract it and I was concerned he was one of those hipsters (turns out it was for a charity bartender competition and all is forgiven all around).
Then in January I was on a two-borough, three-party, fuck-the-blizzard tear with Andrea and the aforementioned guy (file under shit you would never dream of doing in your 30s), and we ended up at the 30th birthday party of the guy who introduced M. and me.
M. was behind the bar, clean-shaven and wearing a t-shirt, and I got a load of those pecs and biceps and that. was. that.
Moral of the story is, girls are just as lecherous as boys and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
“The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames.”—
A number of people are posting on Facebook and Twitter that if only he knew how loved he was, he never would have taken his life. A video from his film World’s Greatest Dad in which he describes suicide as a permanent solution to a temporary problem has been making the rounds, captioned with the likes of “he should have taken his own advice.” If only… If only…
But depression doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t work in any way that’s comforting or reassuring or filled with lessons.
I’m reminded of my dear friend Fiona’s wisdom in the face of her brother’s (my ex-boyfriend’s) suicide. She described his depression as ”a debilitation, mentally. It blocks off certain parts of the person’s vision.”
"One thing I’ve found in coping with this, is that I’m amazed at how my mind doesn’t allow me to be overwhelmed by everything at once," says Fiona. "So when I think about Cian, I think about different aspects of it. My mind finds a way to strategise it, I suppose, in order to get around that. That’s a survival mechanism. Depression, I think, is almost the opposite of that, because you are overwhelmed by all of the negative thoughts."
If you think about it as losing the ability to strategize around and through overwhelming emotions, you understand that a person can know that he is loved, and kill himself anyway.
a) how long you are pregnant for. I hear a lot of people saying pregnancy is 10 months because they do this math: 40 weeks divided by 4 weeks = 10 months — but, of course, months aren’t 4 weeks (unless they’re February). Nine months is accurate, especially when you consider that REAL pregnancy is only 38 weeks. Which brings me to…
b) when to begin counting the start of pregnancy. Now you think this part would be easy but nope. When you actually do the deed and the fertilized egg embeds bowchickawow, you are already TWO WEEKS PREGNANT. Wow! Amazing! But that’s ‘cause they count from your last period (rather than some unknown date of insemination), which earlier in my pregnancy I found kinda cheaty (how was I already 5 weeks pregnant the moment it was confirmed?). Now I don’t notice those two extra weeks.
c) what month you are. When people ask me how many months along I am, I am baffled as to how to respond. If we counted it like we count birthdays, I am six months pregnant — meaning I just completed my sixth month. But we tend to reset the pregnancy month at the beginning of the month, which would make me seven months pregnant. I go with that answer because, as I said, it seems to be what other people do and my belly looks “seven months.” But that means I’ll be “9 months pregnant” one month before the baby is due. Which is confusing. WHY IS THIS SO CONFUSING?
d) how to divide trimesters. Ok now we’re just getting dense. Some people say the third trimester begins at 27 weeks; my doctor and most others say 28. But that leaves 12 weeks to go and um 40 divided by 12 is not three (38 divided by 12 is not three!). I am 27 weeks (plus one day) right now and I am feeling VERY THIRD TRIMESTER. I would like my third trimester cred, please!
This post brought to you by a pregnant lady with way too much time on her hands.
(Last night I couldn’t sleep ‘cause I was panicked they made a mistake and the baby’s actually a boy — despite having triple-checked the “potty shot” sonogram just yesterday to be sure the “three little lines” were (still) there. I could do this shit ‘til the cows come home — thank goodness pregnancy is only nine months.)
You guys! I am truly pregnant. People give me their seats on the subway and everything (not every time, of course — what do you think this is, Sweden?).
I’ve continued to have a ridiculously easy time of it, though I have learned that no one gets through pregnancy unscathed. My skin, which was doing so great, suddenly erupted with zits last month and that really bummed me out because without my usual Micro Retin-A and in-office peels, a few scars formed in their wake. I gotta get married with this face in 11 months! My dermatologist assures me we can do a quick series of peels post-breastfeeding and I’ll be blushing-bride-ready. But unfortunately that means we’ve got a vanity cutoff on breastfeeding, baby. Either that or I say fuck it. Which may just be my motto for motherhood.
I’ve been seeing a chiropractor for the inevitable soreness that accompanies one’s pelvis pretzeling out of shape, a dentist for a new mouthguard to combat pregnancy anxiety night-grinding, and a cardiologist to monitor my heart in light of my birth-mother’s fatal late-pregnancy heart failure (my health insurance must love me). On Monday I had an echocardiogram — an ultrasound of the heart — and it was sobering, lying on my side in a darkened room, watching four chambers beat in time. Our happiness rests on so little.
I have never liked the feeling of my own pulse.
But — the results were positive; my heart is strong, and we have no reason to worry.
Still, we will all be glad when she is safely delivered.
And that brings me to happier thoughts — the delivery. Months ago my future-father-in-law, an anesthesiologist, told me he didn’t want me indulging in any of this midwife or home-birth funny business. “And when they offer you an epidural, take it!”
Never having been the kind of person to refuse drugs before, I can’t imagine suddenly doing so in childbirth. (He also told me that in the thousands of births he’s worked on he’s seen that refusing epidurals can actually slow down the process — the exact opposite of what you read online from ‘natural birth’ advocates. The idea being that the pain cramps you up, I suppose. I have no idea which is true but I did enjoy hearing an anesthesiologist’s perspective, particularly one whose only dog in this fight is a successful and smooth delivery of an already-adored granddaughter. And yay, drugs.)
Her room is coming together — at least in my mind, and soon enough in reality. I will share pics, of course.
On Saturday my aunts threw me a baby shower in St. Paul. Never having been a bride, the experience was totally new to me — new and awesome.
(I wore white because I am a mother-to-be, a bride, and a virgin. Not entirely sure why I look stoned.)
It was easily one of the most creative and fun showers I’ve witnessed and deserves its own post — just as soon as I get those photos (DAD :).
Gena is throwing me a shower brunch at home in a couple weeks and then a couple weeks after that Andrea and Peter are throwing us an engagement party at Clover Club. Oh and we’re technically getting married tomorrow at City Hall. Wheeee!
The end is in sight; from time to time I even forget what week I am. August and September will whiz by; October will be a heavy-hipped slog but at least there will be autumn in the air.
From time to time us OG Tumblrs ask ourselves the important questions: what amazing feats would I have accomplished had I not wasted so much fucking time on this site? and what the hell is Julia Allison up to these days, anyway?
And oh god I’m glad that second question popped into my brain this late afternoon (muscling out the question of whether I will pick up a hot dog on the way to the chiropractor because duh, of course I will) … ‘cause it turns out she is planning to marry herself at Burning Man later this month and if that ain’t the most perfect thing I’ve heard today.
You may find the voice familiar. As smooth as honey, with just the right bit of grit. Here and there, you might think it sounds like Sam Cooke. And you wouldn’t be wrong. It’s his younger brother, L.C., whose first studio album was delayed fifty years. Today, Cooke, at 81, is finally releasing his debut The Complete SAR Records Recordings, done in 1964.
Amazing! Click through to listen to “Put Me Down Easy” with what certainly sounds like both Cooke brothers.
hi nora, read your post on drinking during pregnancy & different country's advisement regarding this issue. as I as watched a French film this weekend: Making Plans for Lena, I was amazed how even TODAY French women still smoke during pregnancy, & blatantly! I have seen preg. French women smoking in films previously and realize their culture seems to think it is alright, or rather OK with the facts that it may cause low birth weight, but def. a different view in our cultures. Interesting.
Sooo interesting, isn’t it? I always think of the hugely pregnant working class Irish girls smoking fags outside the pregnancy center I lived near on the north side of Dublin. “Keeps the birth weight down!” they’d joke. Or, not joke.
I gave up smoking nearly 7 years ago but continued socially smoking ‘til just before I got pregnant. The smell of smoke totally grosses me out right now — I hold my breath and cover my nose whenever I see a lit cigarette — which I take as my body saying, Steer clear! Bad for baby!
But there are other French/international things I am doing in spades. Like eating certain cheeses. I just can’t get myself worked up about raw or fresh cheeses, or small amounts of (really high quality) raw fish. I ate a raw oyster or two when pregnant until my pregnant food writer friend explained that while she’s taking a similarly liberal approach to eating, oysters have a naturally occurring bacteria than can cause (very rarely) miscarriage, but is harmless when you’re not pregnant. So, oysters are out.
Not to be blase about it but healthy babies get born in the millions. My thought process is usually, if I lost the baby, what would I regret having done? And then avoiding that.
Have you had any alcohol during your pregnancy? I'm not asking to wag my finger, just that you obviously have a modern take on life and everything, so I was curious. I just found out I'm pregnant and haven't told anyone yet, and I don't think a glass of wine here or there would cause any harm, and my doctor agrees, but obviously people are judgy. Just wondering about your experiences in terms of food restrictions, etc.
Congratulations! And great question. This is something near and dear to my heart (because alcohol is near and dear to my heart).
Short answer: yes, I am drinking, but I had very little in the first trimester (like: 3 oz beer and maybe 8 oz wine, total). I was nervous about miscarriage, as everyone is.
These days I am going by both my doctor’s and the UK National Health Service's alcohol recommendations for pregnant women — 1-3 glasses of wine a week is not a problem (and may actually be beneficial in that a relaxed mommy is a healthy mommy). The US Surgeon General still says no alcohol and I'm sure will continue to do so for some time — despite something like 60% of American doctors now saying small amounts of alcohol in pregnancy is fine — because we're a pretty conservative country, and it's ethically challenging to conduct controlled clinical trials of limited alcohol consumption. (Even my cardiologist says 3 glasses of wine a week is fine, and I am potentially at a very small risk for heart complications in pregnancy, because that’s what my birth-mom died of.)
I’m staying away from hard alcohol because just the smell of it turns my stomach — and wine is the best. (But not gonna lie, one glass of rose DOES NOT CUT IT and ugh I cannot wait for that two-glass buzz again!)
As for judgy people, I’ve experienced a little bit of it, always from older people whose own mothers, ironically enough, probably drank without guilt when they were in the womb. The American medical establishment came down really hard on alcohol and caffeine in pregnancy in the last generation (when we were born), so I find myself constantly educating Baby Boomers and up on what we’re allowed to do now. (Which includes 8-10 oz of coffee a day, god bless.)
Whenever I feel a teensy bit guilty I remember the words of a friend of mine, who gave birth to a very healthy and very big baby girl one year ago — “My only regret with my pregnancy is not drinking more.” Meaning, don’t feel guilty about your glass. Enjoy your pregnancy!
Noted. (Hopefully our baby won’t refuse to nurse, as I did, cause that’s my whole weight loss plan — just like every (disingenuous) Victoria’s Secret model and starlet who’s had a baby in the past five years. Oh, I just breastfed….)
Just a little under 31 years ago, I played a key role in a conspiracy theory that grew up around a passenger plane downed by a Russian missile. Trust me, I did not mean to be involved.
On September 1, 1983, Korean Airlines flight 007, a Boeing 747 with 269 passengers, was shot down over the Sea of Japan. At about 6am that morning, I arrived at my summer job at the American Embassy in Tokyo where my task was usually to start up the computer which had been turned off over night. But on this morning, I realized the system was already engaged and that a surprisingly large number of workstations had been left on over night. While rare, I had seen this pattern before when a Washington deadline for information was looming.
Not long after I arrived in my office, I received a call from a secretary in the Agriculture Department who liked to play a computer game before her workday started. Her favorite game had a bug that regularly froze her workstation. This was the “bad old days” of computers and the only way to reset her station was from my central console.
On this day, I highlighted her workstation and hit the F6 key to reset. But my screen went temporarily black and then seemed to be starting again. I realized that I had mistakenly hit F7 and reset all the workstations in the embassy. This realization didn’t bother me much, because no one except the Agriculture section secretary was usually on the computer system this early in the morning.
But then all hell broke lose.
My boss, a Japanese computer engineer named Itoh, poked his head in the door. This was a shock because I had never seen Mr. Itoh before 10am ever. My job was to come in early and leave early and he arrived late and stayed late to shut down the system each night. He asked me what had happened. I told him I had shut down the system by mistake. He shook his head and ran down the hall.
Next, the head administrator, who I had only seen once in the computer room, walked in. He asked where Mr. Itoh was. I pointed down the hall. And he ran that direction as well.
More than an hour later, the Administrative Director returned to my office to explain what had happened. He told me about the Korean Airline disaster and that no one really knew what was going on, but that most of the information available was coming in from Japanese sources—first from Japanese fishing ships in the area and later from Japanese defense forces who were being dispatched to look for debris. A team of translators and US diplomats had been readying the first report for President Reagan at the time I turned off the computer systems. As this was a very early computer with limited backup capability, hours of work of dozens of experts had been lost when I inadvertently closed down the computer.
I, naturally, felt terrible and was, appropriately, fired.
It was only weeks later that I began to comprehend the effects of this single keystroke mistake. President Reagan was criticized in the press for his administration’s delayed announcement of the tragedy. But more troublesome, the reports that were being compiled in the US Embassy at the time of my error were meant to be shared with the South Korean government. As the team in Tokyo went back to rewriting the report—with clear evidence that the plane had been downed in the Sea of Japan—the South Korean government, working from flawed data, announced that the airliner had simply been forced to land in Russian territory and that all passengers and crew were safe.
That Korean announcement and the slow response by the US President—both caused by delayed real information—caused decades of conspiracy theories. Until the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, many Koreans clung to the hope that their loved ones were still alive and well in some Siberian prison camp.
So today, in the face of a Malaysian Airline crash in the Ukraine—and with all the associated speculation of 24-hour news organizations and the Tweetosphere, my advice is to take a deep breath, count to ten, and know that there is a very good chance that truth in the matter will be forthcoming very soon. And let’s hope that there is no stupid 23-year-old with his finger on an important keyboard in this information chain.
“Parents get money from the government each month called Kindergeld. You get about 200 euros/month per child, depending on how many children you have. The money is to help with diapers, food, toys, whatever. It’s not an enormous amount, but a nice chunk of change. You get paid that amount per child until they’re 18, but if they don’t have a job after that, then they get it until they’re 21, and if they’re studying, they get it until they’re 25.”—