Category Archives: Pregnancy

Should Couples Sleep in Separate Rooms?

usCoverIf you’ve been on the internet today, you’ve probably read the shocking news about Donald and Melania sleeping in separate rooms.

It’s everywhere right now: NO PILLOW TALK FOR PRESIDENT! His marriage must be hanging by a thread!

Well, maybe it is and maybe it isn’t.

But I wouldn’t pin it on whether or not they keep separate bedrooms, because my marriage is doing just fine and my husband and I…

… have our own bedrooms too.

shocked.pngI’ve hidden this fact for a long time, for reasons the current media explosion is making obvious: I didn’t want people whispering about how my husband and I were probably having marital problems and were maybe even headed for divorce.

Because sleeping in separate bedrooms is strangely taboo. It makes people think your marriage lacks intimacy.

So I kept it quiet until the day I moved next door to the kind of neighbor who would march through your house, taking inventory, until she couldn’t help noticing two master rooms with giant beds in them.

She’s exactly the kind of neighbor I’ve desperately needed. The kind who knows everyone in the neighborhood: where they live, what they do, how they’re currently fixing up their house and what kinds of BS problems they’ve been having with the school district. The kind whose confident, direct approach could be the perfect Yang to my Yin-like ballet of barely grasping what color car anyone drives and fretting about how anything I might say could possibly offend someone. (Did I say ‘hi’ wrong? Did they just give me a weird look?)

Well, I respect that kind of of forthright honesty and couldn’t bring myself to counter it with a bunch of lies. We were going to be living next door to each other for a long time and I could tell we were going to be friends, so why start out with some Three’s Company-style charade?

That’s John’s room, and mine is upstairs…

She looked at me sideways until I told her, “He snores, and I’m an insomniac.”

And that’s pretty much how it happened, how I came out about our separate bedrooms deal.

How it all began

My husband and I never intended to sleep in separate rooms. We slowly evolved this peaceful arrangement after our bedroom had turned into a nightly battlefield.

You see, I’m a hardcore night owl, chronic insomniac and very light sleeper.  He, on the other hand, is a champion snorer who can wake you up through three closed doors, from a different story of the house.

He also considers his sleep utterly sacred. “Like a religion,” to quote him exactly, which makes him prone to extreme grumpiness whenever woken up in the middle of the night by my tossing and turning or because, say, I needed him to roll on his side because my ears wouldn’t quit bleeding.

I used to stare at him at 4:30 in the morning, irrationally resenting how easily he could just drift off like that and reminding myself how wrong it would be to shove a pillow over his face right now.

I felt horrible about being mad at him for something he couldn’t help, but I was just…

so    t i r e d.

insomnia cat
(My sleep-avenging insomniac superhero fantasy self)
We tried everything. Earplugs, nose-strips, even sinus surgery. None of it worked. Turns out, they’d have to reset his entire jaw to fix the problem and it wasn’t worth the risks.

It finally all came crashing down one night when I was pregnant, in that brutal late period of pregnancy where nothing is ever comfortable and you find yourself overheated, aching and flipping into broken starfish positions across your bed, trying against hope for a few sweet hours of oblivion as your baby keeps digging her foot into the underside of your ribs…

It was during these painful hours of sweaty exhaustion, when his spoon-in-the-garbage-disposal snore was pushing and pulling two inches away from my ringing ears like Satan’s own accordion, that I finally snapped:

“I’m sorry, but you have GOT to GO.” (Before I kill you, darling.)

Either pitying me or fearing for his life, the poor guy relocated to the couch.

Well, the couch kept happening until it turned into a futon that turned into the office converted into another bedroom. Then we ended up buying a house with a serendipitous second master bedroom and could finally stop pretending that this sleeping apart thing was a temporary deal.

Some unforeseen perks

Although my husband and I started sleeping in separate rooms for purely practical reasons, we’ve discovered the arrangement offers real  perks beyond being able to get a decent night’s sleep.

You see, one of the coolest parts of being single is having complete dominion over your own territory. Being married means companionship, but you can sometimes lose all of your personal space, which is probably why couples tend to carve out man caves and femme dens.

On the other hand, having your own room means:


(My room)
You can express your decorating style without having to compromise with anyone. My bedroom involves a bathtub with peach curtains and chandeliers. I keep fresh flowers on my coffee table, next to a tea set and whatever fluffy indulgences make me happy.

My two daughters call my room the “girl clubhouse” and like to hang out on my flowery bedspread with all of our cats, purring in harmony around the throbbing pinkness of my rose-strewn monument to glittery estrogen. The whole place reeks of vintage movie stars and unicorn magic.

Meanwhile, my husband can put up that monkey-drinking-booze poster that that he finds hilarious without me giving him crap about it. His place is one big Testoster-oni treat of electronic wires, open closets, spread-out zombie comics and tiny hair shavings.

He can leave his underwear on the floor or refuse to change his sheets until they don’t bend anymore if he wants to and I don’t have to care, just as he doesn’t have to deat with having a thousand throw pillows in his way.


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“Hold on… I need a sec before we get started”
We don’t have to watch each other clip our toenails or nose hairs, because we have separate, private places in which to do these things. Kind of like when we were dating and didn’t have to watch every nasty step of each other’s transformation. We can still pretend to just wake up like that.

Having separate bedrooms doesn’t mean we can’t still visit. Or even stay a while.

But it’s not a given. You’re on boy or girl territory with a temporary visa.

Maybe that sounds cold, but it’s actually fun. It keeps you courting… you can’t juse scratch your butt before Dutch-ovening your partner while knowing they’ll have to put up with it. Unless neither of you minds, I guess.

Keeping a little mystery can bring dating excitement back to the marriage. You still have private territory. Your own identity. Your own refuge to think or read or do whatever without having to entertain anyone else. 

Maybe we should rethink the separate bedrooms taboo. It may not be right for everyone, but it doesn’t obviously mean a marriage is falling apart.

So stop being so judgey, people. You just made me defend Donald and Melania Trump.




Little Pink Boxes Made of Ticky-Tacky…

For today’s post, I was inspired to try something different: a freehand comic strip!

The only problem is… I don’t know anything about making panels or drawing on computers, which complicates things.

But was I gonna let my complete ignorance and total incompetence stop me? Hell no!

So here goes… and I swear I’m going to get much better at this.



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What Do Our Family Values Really Mean?

As anyone who follows my blog probably knows, I like to talk about the funny side of raising kids. That’s why I started it: I want to remember these wonderful things, years from now, after sleep deprivation and everyday life would’ve made me forget.

Plus, in a world of constant political debate, I figure the hilarity of parenting brings people together. No matter what side of the aisle you’re on, we all love our kids. So I mostly try to keep things light.

But tonight, I need to get something off my chest.

A fellow blogger recently wrote a piece about our health care system. She’s a hospital student intern trying to figure out who qualifies for Medicaid waivers and who doesn’t… struggling to navigate our complex health care system and deal with turning people away.

And her piece really struck a nerve.

My husband works for the State of California, which means we have health insurance. Unlike 13 percent of pregnant American women, we were lucky enough to have access to prenatal care when we found ourselves suddenly dealing with an unplanned pregnancy.

I had regular checkups, blood tests, and ultrasounds, for which we paid nothing.

Proper prenatal care reduces the incidence and severity of a staggering number of complications. Luckily, I had a healthy pregnancy. Unlike many American families, we have enough means for me to eat properly, do prenatal yoga, and otherwise take good care of myself.

img_0504I also didn’t have to work right up until delivery, or get fired for trumped-up reasons because my employer didn’t want to deal with maternity hassles, leaving us in dire economic straights just before facing parenthood…

Even so, we found ourselves in a life-or-death situation when Brontë was being born.

Most first-time moms have long, protracted labors that take hours upon hours to complete. Not me.

No, by the time I realized I was in labor, I was screaming in the car while my husband desperately tried to drive us to a hospital in time.

By the time we stumbled in the door, it was too late for an epidural. They could feel our baby’s head as I was collapsing on the floor.

Something was wrong.

I knew something was wrong because the blur of doctors surrounding me felt panicked. They told me they couldn’t hear the baby’s heartbeat right before slapping a mask on my face that knocked me into total unconsciousness.

Twenty minutes later, I woke up in indescribable pain to see my baby next to me.

Her eyes were wet and shining. I clawed the air around her, trying to grab her, until they pumped enough drugs in me to make it possible.

As I held her on my chest for the first time, the doctors told me she had been turned backwards, that every labor contraction was slowing down her heart and they had to perform an emergency C-section before she went braindead.

If we hadn’t made it to a hospital, or got there fifteen minutes later, she would have died inside me and I would have probably bled out.

img_4278And I try not to think about that when watching her beaming 4-year-old face as she teases our kitties or perfects her Silly Dance. Because thinking about it means breaking into choking sobs, imagining her tiny eyes being cold and dead instead of blinking and shiny.

I know I’ve made cracks at the expense of women who love the idea of natural childbirth or having babies at home, but there’s fear behind these jokes.

Fact is, many American women resort to having their babies at home because of our staggering medical costs. America is, by far, the most expensive place to have a baby. Bills range from $10,000 for a complication-free, routine delivery to well over $100,000.

Of course, that doesn’t take into account the complications that might’ve been prevented with proper prenatal care.

Which is perhaps why we have embarrassingly bad maternal and infant mortality rates. Despite the high cost of delivery, the US has a far higher infant mortality rate than any of the other 27 wealthy nations studied by the CDC.

Our babies are three times as likely to die as those born in Finland or Japan. Even though we’re the wealthiest nation in the world.

And if I wasn’t lucky enough to have access to health care, I’d be part of that statistic too. Even as a married, educated woman of reasonable means, who appeared to have a healthy pregnancy.

We ended up being okay, by the skin of our teeth, but change one sliding door in our path to parenting and it all would’ve ended in tragedy.

As it does, all the time, in our wealthy country where people don’t have access to healthcare.

This is wrong.








Why Kids Are The Best Biking Accessories

I used to bike a lot, though I never called myself a cyclist. Mostly because I biked, in normal clothes, just to save college parking pass money and stay in shape. Not pretend I was in the Olympics.

“Cyclists,” on the other hand, ride bikes costing thousands of dollars while wearing expensive spandex pants and shirts that look ready to have brand logos slapped all over them. They wear this stuff into Starbucks, apparently hoping people will think they’re taking a coffee break mid-Tour de France, then spend all their time talking about gears and personal equipment setups.

These are the guys that scowl at you from under their cycling helmets before attempting to pass. Many seem permanently peeved.

These guys

Maybe it’s because they have to share the road with so many drivers that hate their guts.


And their bad attitudes made drivers hate MY guts too.

I was always surprised by how many drivers made a point to visibly roll their eyes while speeding around me while I was minding my own business, riding in the designated bike lane. It never make sense, because I wasn’t one of those fancy bike jerks. Cars could get around me. I even hopped onto the sidewalk whenever a parked car was in the way.

Funny-Bicycle-Meme-Rides-Extremely-Slow-In-The-Middle-Of-The-Road-PictureYes, I know you’re not technically supposed to do that, but there were never any pedestrians on the sidewalk. We Californians love our cars. I figured detouring around the sidewalk was better than weaving in and out of traffic, at any rate.

Fast-forward several years and I’d dropped the biking habit entirely. Post-college life wasn’t nearly as bike-friendly, what with all the employment, freeways and fatigue getting in the way.

Ibert child seat

But when Brontë was nearly two, my husband and I decided to give biking another shot. We did some research on child bike seats and eventually outfitted my bike with a green Ibert front-carrier. I slipped her into it one day and took off…


She was amazed by the experience, singing and waving her tiny arms in the air. I imagine it would be pretty exciting, picturing it from her point of view. She was waaaaaay above the ground, flying by at a speed uncommonly fast for babies, feeling the breeze blow back her curls and wondering where we were heading next…

Unfortunately, I was pregnant at the time. We only managed to bike around the neighborhood a few more weeks before every time my thighs moved up a couple inches, they’d slam my belly and crush my ribs.

WHATEVER, Superwoman…

We moved the bikes back into the garage.


Until a few weeks ago, when John and I grabbed our kids’ hands and led them back to the bikes.

Brontë was THRILLED. “We gonna BIKE?” she shouted while beaming. She asked for her kitty-cat helmet and I was amazed she could remember so much about something that happened so long ago. You never know what kids will remember.

Only now, the kitty-cat helmet belonged to Bridget, along with the green Ibert chair. Brontë got a new Minnie Mouse helmet and a child seat that went in the rear.

“I LOVE IT!” she screamed.

It was all new to Bridget, but she quickly got on-board, ringing my purple owl bike-bell over and over and giggling at her newfound sonic powers.

Since then, we’ve biked nearly every evening and the kids couldn’t be happier. I’ll ask them if they want to ride the bikes and they’ll drop whatever they’re doing to run away, returning with their bike helmets slapped onto their heads and yelling “GO! GO! GO!”

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They seem okay with the idea


My husband and I take them to a park outside the neighborhood so they can play for a while and wear themselves out before getting back on the bikes and returning home. Sometimes we grab dinner while we’re out, either take-out or something fast.

It just goes to show that you don’t need to spend much to make your kids happy. Really, spending time with you is all they want.

I’ve also learned something about biking outside our neighborhood with the kids:

Remember how I said drivers tend to be hostile to cyclists? Well, not when kids are involved.

Something about having a smiling, waving baby with a tiny pink helmet between my handlebars has completely turned people around. I’ve suddenly gone from Annoying Cyclist, plaguing the road, to Awesome Mom, doing right by her kids.

We’ve gone from this…


Now, cars give us a wide berth. They motion us forward, even when I was waiting to let them go first. Drivers hang their heads out to smile and wave at Bidgie, who yells, “HI GUYS!” in the most adorable way.

To this

I guess I can’t blame them. Bidgie is pretty dang cute when she she rings her bell and shouts “BYE BYE!” to the passing folks. Brontë waves too, from behind her dad, before telling him again how strong he is for biking so fast. They’re finally getting a chance to hang out together and talk, and it’s bringing them closer. She used to hate his singing and now she asks him to sing.


And I think we’ll be riding for years to come. Especially now that I know kids are a biking superpower.











Girl Farts and Water Faucets

According to a survey recently covered by Glamour and Women’s Health, most people start farting around their significant others sometime between two and six months of dating. About ten percent let it rip from the start.

Reading this reminded me of something a guy friend posted on Facebook. He had seen a female coworker walk into the bathroom with a newspaper and couldn’t get over the shock. Apparently, it was the most horrifying, unfeminine behavior he had ever witnessed.

I couldn’t help but respond: “You know women have to use the bathroom too, right? We have working bodies just like you.”

“Sure, sure,” he said. “But I picture them floating above toilets with yards of fluffy dresses, totally unconnected from what’s happening below. The newspaper makes it all too real.”

“If it makes you feel any better,” I told him, “Sometimes I used to take a book into the bathroom at work when I didn’t even have to go. I just wanted a break.”

It did make him feel better, which was hilarious since he was hardly some teenage boy living in dreamland. He’d been married to his high school sweetheart for fifteen years… how could he still be so touchy?

But then, who was I to talk? I was so shy when my husband and I were first dating that I’d turn the water on whenever I had to go number one. I didn’t want him hearing my pee sounds.

When women hold in farts

And if I needed to do anything more elaborate, I’d make him take his dog for a walk: “Your Rottweiler just told me she needs to go for a walk around the neighborhood.”

John, bless him, would actually do it. He’d grab the leash with a big smirk on his face because he knew exactly what was going in but found it cute that I went to such lengths to maintain the princess illusion.

He had no such hangups, transitioning into open-farting and walking around in ratty shorts early on. He’d pop one and I’d scowl at him and he’d tell me it was just because  he felt comfortable around me now.

“A little too comfortable,” I’d grumble.

girlfartsMy friend Steph thought I was crazy. One evening she took my hand and sat me down, looked deep into my eyes and had a serious talk with me about bodily function acceptance.

“You have needs too,” she said. “You have to pee and fart like everybody else and there’s no call for this amount of shame.”

“I know,” I said. “I just think contorting your body while grunting out farts all the time isn’t good for romance.”

She rolled her eyes but needn’t have worried, because pregnancy would be a game changer. Beyond throwing up left and right, you reach a stage during pregnancy where you have to pee every ten minutes, very urgently and often with little warning. There just isn’t enough time for elaborate preparations, so the faucet-starting subterfuge had to quit.

But that wasn’t all.

I remember distinctly the moment it happened. I was nine months pregnant and John and I were standing in the garage when I felt a fart coming on….

I clenched my butt-cheeks as per normal, but began to panic as I realized it wasn’t going to cut it this time. I felt the tingle of a thousand air bubbles straining my lower intestines as my butt cheeks valiantly struggled to hold back the dam…

But it was no good. I had a ten pound bowling ball collapsing my intestines and realized this fart was about to happen, like it or not.

I tried to let it out slowly, hoping it would pass quietly and inconspicuously , but it began audibly rumbling from the gates. It started with a balloon squeal, then as my muscles faltered, it crescendoed into a growling roar.

It was the longest, most horrible fart I ever farted, beating any night alone after cauliflower and beer. I don’t know if it was the pregnancy hormones or if the baby was farting simultaneously, but the thing just kept on going and going, amplified by garage acoustics.

Echoing throughout the garage, I may as well have had a microphone by my butt, and there was no point in pretending anymore. I started nervously laughing in horrified embarrassment and each flex of my stomach muscles popped the fart noise out louder until it sounded like the fart was laughing too.

I swear this thing lasted at least a minute and a half. It was such a ridiculous fart that you wouldn’t think it was real if you saw it on a slapstick comedy. “That’s just stupid,” you’d think.”No authentic farts could possibly go on for that long. Some special effects guy needs to back off the whoopee cushion.”

Well, pregnancy farts do. Somewhere halfway through mine, my husband John broke into hysterics. His delicate wife who wouldn’t even pee without the faucet on was now farting right in front of him like the champion frat boy of alpha epsilon omega. By the time it was over, John was grabbing his stomach and rolling on the ground with tears pouring out.

The weird thing is, I think the Great Fart made John happy. It meant we were really a couple and could finally let down our guard. He was now the guy I trusted enough to fart around, and once you’ve farted like that, there’s just no going back. The princess illusion is over.

Thank god for that.

Not so for my four-year-old, however, who sees no conflict between farting and princessery. She’ll happily run around in elaborate princess dresses and rip farts whenever she feels like it. She’ll giggle while telling us “my butt said ‘thurp'” before going back to her tea party like she’s the fairy unicorn sorceress of Glitterland.

I’m glad she can fart in peace.



What Pregnancy Taught Me About Losing Weight

My “before” picture
Please don’t hate me for saying this, but over the past year, I’ve had to gain ten pounds so people would quit accusing me of eating disorders.

And I’ve thought long and hard about whether I should write this post at all. I know how easily it could seem like one big, giant, obnoxious humblebrag (“Oh, poor baby, she has trouble keeping her weight up after a couple of pregnancies. That must be so rough.”)

But the thing is, I kind of accidentally learned some weight loss secrets while I was trying to shed my baby weight and I’m thinking those secrets could really help other people who are trying to get into shape.

So here it goes…

Never, not in a million years, did I expect to have problems getting “too thin.” Especially after pregnancy.

I come from a family with really efficient metabolisms, the kind that probably kept us alive through all kinds of brutal winters and potato famines, but are a real hassle in this modern day and age.

And I’ve been struggling with mine for years. While I’ve never been more than around fifty pounds overweight, I’ve been dieting off and on since junior high school.

I’ve done low fat, low carb, portion control, Weight Watchers, Atkins, South Beach, vegan… you name it, I’ve tried it.

I’ve also tried a billion different forms of exercise. I’ve walked, ran, cycled, fenced, done yoga and aerobics, and lifted weights, just to name a few.

Through loads of discipline and self-denial, I always managed to ride the bucking bronco of starvation up until about the last ten or fifteen pounds or so, then I would struggle for a while before being thrown off. I would get my bearings, jump back on the horse, and repeat the same cycle.

Over and over again. Those last ten pounds never budged, no matter how hard I tried.

Then a few years ago, when I was first pregnant, I gave up dieting in the interests of the growing baby. Predictably, my weight exploded.

I gained way more than I was supposed to and was routinely lectured by healthcare professionals about how I needed to get a handle on it. They told me to use fat-free dressing, drink diet soda, and stop eating fruit, dairy, and nuts (!!!).

It was scary. I’d worked very hard for many years to avoid obesity, and there I was, helplessly watching the numbers on the scale blow up to ever greater heights, day after day. Knowing how tough it can be to lose the baby weight, I didn’t know if I’d ever turn things around.

After my daughter was born, I got on the Weight Watchers breastfeeding diet plan, because I wanted to drop the weight but needed to make sure I could breastfeed. It was very important to me.

Six months in
I ended up not only losing the pregnancy weight, but those resistant last ten pounds I could never shake before, and then another twenty pounds (about eighty altogether).

Then I did it again after having my second daughter.

Why would I have an easier time keeping my weight down AFTER having children than before? It sounds crazy, right?

But I don’t think it’s a fluke.

Because of the babies, I changed my dieting approach and found I was having a much easier time.

This wasn’t even the first time I had done Weight Watchers (or the second). This time, however, I did several things differently:

  • I ate a lot more fruit

The Weight Watchers diet lets you have as many fruits and vegetables as you want for free (except potato, peas, and avocados). Even though the idea was scary (I had been a low-carb dieter for years and was afraid of sugar spikes), I took full advantage of the opportunity.

I ate fruit like crazy, in addition to regular meals, often eating several bananas in a row then topping it off with an apple and a bunch of pineapple. Calorically speaking, this should’ve made a significant dent in my success.

But it didn’t. No matter how hard I pounded the fruit and veggies, my weight just kept dropping.

I’m firmly convinced now that our bodies don’t metabolize fruit the same way they metabolize simple sugars and that calories are only part of the picture.

Maybe it just comes down to how much harder it is to eat 500 calories of produce than candy, but whatever it is, I think you can eat fruit to your heart’s content (assuming you’re not diabetic).

Plus, eating fruit means you aren’t eating doughnuts. Fiber fills you up.

  • I didn’t try to rush the process

I used to get impatient when I was dieting. I’d get tired of always watching what I ate and having to measure everything, and just wanted to hurry up and lose the weight already. Especially when I was struggling through a plateau.

If my weight hadn’t budged, or god forbid, had gone up after a week or so of diligent dieting, I’d start playing hardball by dropping my calories even further. I’d force my weight down, using any means necessary.

But this time, I was breastfeeding my baby, so I couldn’t risk dropping my milk supply by not getting enough calories.

How horrible would I feel if my baby went hungry just because I wanted to drop a couple pounds? I owed it to my child to make sure I stayed healthy, so instead of starving myself, I’d just stick to the plan and eat everything I was supposed to. I thought it might take longer, but be worth it.

You know what? I stopped having those long plateaus. Many weeks, my weight held fast or even went up slightly, but eventually it would drop again. My weight came off much faster, in the long run, when I just held fast and ate everything I was supposed to.

Water weight changes all the time. You can bloat because of hormones, salt, swelling after exercise, or even the weather… I think when you crash diet, you start freaking your body out, so while you might initially lose a couple more pounds, you’ll hurt your weight loss over time because your body goes into revolt.

Just stick to the plan.

  • I didn’t try to overcompensate when I “fell off the wagon”

No matter how disciplined you are, most dieters lose control at some point. Maybe there was a potluck at work and someone brought some nachos, and you love nachos, so you find yourself diving headfirst into a bucket of cheese before you had the chance to think straight (maybe that was actually me, not you. Okay, that was me).

Or maybe it’s a holiday or vacation (I personally won’t diet on holidays or on vacations, by the way, because I believe the sense of deprivation will do more harm than good) and they drop the diet for a bit.

But whatever the reason is, after dieters have eaten a bunch of stuff they’re “not supposed to” in unreasonable amounts, they tend to have one of two reactions:

  1. They figure they ruined their diet, so they throw in the towel, or
  2. They try to make up for their transgression by starving themselves until they get back on track

I tended to go with the second option, but again, I had babies to breastfeed and I didn’t want to sabotage that. So I just resumed the normal diet again, waiting it out.

And I found that my weight would stall for that week, then be right back on track by the next. I didn’t fall into my typical vicious cycle of starvation and binging.

  • I exercised regularly more frequently but less intensely

And… time to put a little back on

Whenever I used to exercise, I tended to push myself too hard, too soon. “No pain, no gain,” right?

Partly, I figured you had to work hard to get anywhere, but mostly, it was about feeling self-conscious. I didn’t want to look weak or super out-of-shape in front of everyone.

 Because that’s embarrassing.

I’d start a new class or routine with great intentions, get overzealous about it, then quickly burn out.

But just having had a baby is the perfect excuse to take it easy. You can permanently injure yourself if you push yourself too far, because your body has been through a lot and needs to recover. Plus, everyone knows you just had a kid, so they’re impressed you’re even trying to do ANYTHING.

Since I already felt ahead of the game, I just pushed myself a little bit and took a break whenever I needed to. Since I didn’t get injured, I kept going back, and grew stronger and stronger over time.

I learned that exercising regularly is more important than exercising intensely, because the intensity will come in time. Even if you start with a light walk, just keep doing it, and eventually you’ll get into shape.

  • I focused more on health instead of thinness

Losing weight used to be all about vanity for me. Sure, being healthy sounds awesome in theory, but I really just wanted to look better in my clothes.

My focus changed, however,  after having kids. I cared less about how I looked in a swimsuit and more about having enough energy to handle sleepless nights or play with my kids as they became rambunctious toddlers.

This shift in perspective may seem subtle, but its implications are great. If all you care about is weight loss, for example, you might as well eat doughnuts for dinner, as long as the calorie counts add up.

If you care about your health, on the other hand, you’ll make sure your meals are nutritious enough to fuel your body properly. You’ll actually care about getting enough protein, fiber, and a variety of nutrients. You’ll have an easier time controlling your appetite because your body is getting what it needs.

You will exercise because you know it’s good for your body, even without the instant gratification of dropping pounds. Over time, you’ll have more muscle, better energy levels, and have an easier time keeping pounds off.

And this stuff adds up in the long run. Getting in shape is a marathon, not a sprint.

I hope these tips will be helpful to someone who is struggling. I may have learned these things by accident, but they have made my life so much easier.

If you’re having trouble losing weight, even with diet and exercise, the problem might be that you’re actually trying TOO hard.

Pregnancy taught me that your body is a complex machine that needs love and nurturing. You’re better off gently steering it into a healthier lifestyle than trying to force it at breakneck speed. Start gently, and keep going.

I guess if I had to sum them up in a phrase it would be “try easier.” It’s the long game that counts, not reaching a certain scale weight or hitting a new exercise goal by the end of the week.




















A Public Service Message to All the Pregnant Ladies Out There

pregnantbellySo there I was, pregnant for the second time, after giving birth to my beautiful daughter a year earlier, and stretching my weary limbs in a prenatal yoga class. Looking out across the sea of anxious eyes from mothers-to-be reminded me how frightened I was the first time I saw a double line on a pregnancy test, how nervous I was to embark on this life-changing experience with all its unknowable consequences.

After reflecting on everything my first pregnancy and delivery taught me, I’ve decided to offer a little advice to first-time moms.

During my first pregnancy, the fatigue and nausea turned me into a sleepy vegetable. It can be a vicious cycle: the fatigue makes you weak, and as you grow weaker, you become increasingly inactive and sore. By the time I had my first daughter, I was a terribly achy mess of bloated limbs and atrophied muscles, which ended up making everything harder than it probably had to be.

I managed to get into good shape, though, after the baby was born by attending a postpartum sculpt class where you can bring your crying infant and also take a break to cuddle your baby or breastfeed at any time without feeling the least bit self-conscious.

The class was wonderful.  Not only could we reclaim our shape after the ravages of pregnancy, but we could also get out of the house without worrying about our newborns going ballistic and making us suffer a bunch of awkward stares.

Beyond that, we could hang out with other new moms who were similarly stressed, sleep-deprived, and talk about our baby experiences to our hearts’ content.

For my next pregnancy, then, I decided to be proactive and take a prenatal yoga class.  It kept me in better physical shape by preserving flexibility and in better emotional shape by getting me out of the house to relax a couple of evenings a week with other women in various stages of pregnancy.

My first piece of advice, then, is to attend these pre- and post-natal classes whenever possible. Television and movies do NOT prepare you for pregnancy. In Hollywood, actresses just slide a pillow under their belts, eat sardines and ice cream, and otherwise frolic around like everything is fine until one day their water dramatically breaks and –BAM—motherhood!

Without other women to share your experiences with, you have no idea if your hip pain is normal, whether you should be concerned about constant heartburn, or how to keep food down, or whether [insert random body part] is supposed to look like that right now.

Of course, having the baby doesn’t magically end your confusion, either. It’s wonderful to be able to share advice with other women whose babies are crying nonstop for hours, who aren’t getting any sleep, who don’t know how to run an errand without their infant exploding into an impromptu public meltdown. I highly recommend these kinds of classes for the sake of your well-being.

My second line of advice, however, is even more important.

One interesting aspect of the prenatal class I attended is that after every woman delivers her baby, she writes about her delivery and everyone in the class gets to read an email about her birth story.  This is wonderful, especially for first-time mothers who are nervous, not knowing what to expect and undoubtedly being routinely terrorized by random women coming out of the woodwork to share every birthing horror story imaginable (seriously, when I was pregnant the first time, I don’t think a week went by without some strange woman telling me about her third degree tear, which is the last thing you want to envision throughout the nerve-wracking countdown).

Now, in a prenatal yoga class, especially one in which most members are enthusiastic breastfeeding advocates, there tends to be an inordinately high concentration of women trying for a “drug-free” natural birth.  Some of them even want to deliver the baby at home, instead of a hospital.  Many have watched The Business of Being Born, and regard the medical community with great suspicion.

I am more of a moderate in these matters, believing there are times when natural methods are the best tools, but other times when the scientific advancements of the medical community are the way to go.  For example, I think you are much better off controlling your cholesterol with diet and exercise, if possible, than relying on a drug. I also think popping an antibiotic every time you have a sniffle weakens the immune system and breeds antibiotic-resistant diseases.

However, if your heart suddenly stops or you come down with a dread disease, you need to be in a hospital with trained professionals, because Mother Nature doesn’t concern herself with weak members of the herd.  Likewise, I believe breastfeeding is by far the best method of nourishing an infant. But, like growing your own organic fruits and vegetables, it isn’t always feasible and formula has been a literal lifesaver for many.

Having given birth to one baby already and gotten to the hospital too late for an epidural, I can tell you from personal experience that doctors are not offering to numb your entire lower body via the spinal cord because labor is merely “uncomfortable” or something you can simply “breathe” away. People aren’t getting offered epidurals for gas pain or splinters…. you get them for childbirth or lower body SURGERY.

In other words, labor pain is potentially one of the most physically excruciating experiences a person can have, and can last a very, very, very long time. Yes, it is “natural,” but so is being eaten alive by lions, being crushed to death by an anaconda, or bleeding out during a problematic delivery.

And yes, you can do it without pain reducers, just like the women of yore. You can do a lot of things if you really need to, like saw off your own arm if it gets trapped under a boulder and you need to get free to survive.

But I think it is a particularly nasty form of cruelty to make a woman feel as though she somehow failed by accepting pain-management during childbirth.  We don’t call people “losers” for wanting Novocain when getting their teeth drilled or numbing shots before receiving stitches, yet some people will actually point to a woman who has suffered through constant nausea, back pain, hip pain, and fatigue for nine to ten months, and consider her selfish for using pain relief to help her through what might be 20+ hours of physical agony.

These women probably denied themselves everything from booze and soft cheeses to lunch meat and too many cups of coffee for the better part of a year, and then risked their lives in order to create new ones for the betterment of the entire species. How on earth could they be considered weak?

That being said, there are many women for whom natural childbirth remains a goal.  Sometimes they describe a natural birth as their version of climbing Mt. Everest, a physical achievement that gives them great confidence and an understanding of their own strength.  Some want to feel connected to the many generations of women who came before them by experiencing the same natural process.  Others want to be fully “present” during the birth process and believe that anything that drugs or numbs part of them will cloud the experience.

This is a deeply personal and valid decision, and my hat is off to any woman who manages to get through the entire episode without begging for the sweet, sweet release of anesthetics…

But, for the love of all that is rational and sacred, PLEASE do not attempt to do this at home. Please deliver your baby in a hospital filled with trained professionals and equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment… in case something goes wrong.  Because this is the one thing home birth advocates tend to forget: Women may have been having babies without doctors for centuries, but they also used to die in childbirth. All. The. Time. Sometimes in agonizing yet preventable ways.  So did the babies.

If you are in a hospital, no one is going to force you to have an epidural, you can have the baby as naturally as you want. Many hospitals now come equipped with midwives, birthing balls, and all the other nifty gadgets so beloved by the natural birth crowd.

You don’t need to have an epidural, but it is nice to have one available, in case you change your mind upon actually experiencing labor instead of just imagining it.

But far more importantly, you need to be in a hospital in case something goes wrong.  What if the baby is coming out the wrong way and is going to break its arm on the way out and cause you to tear from the vagina through the anus? What if the baby’s umbilical cord gets wrapped around its neck and the baby is going to rapidly suffer brain damage and then death if no one can fix the situation? What if your placenta tears away from the baby and you need an emergency C-section because you are hemorrhaging to death and both you and the baby will die without one?

Because these things DO happen from time to time, even to healthy women with normal pregnancies. For example, one of the leading advocates of the “Freebirth” movement, a group that argues for unassisted childbirth at home, is a woman named Janet Fraser. Though Fraser demands that other women be “drug free,” she herself ran to a hospital for her first delivery to request not only epidural anesthesia, but also a medically unnecessary C-section.  More tragically, in 2009, Fraser gave birth at home and her baby died of cardiac arrest. The coroner’s report indicated that the baby’s death would have been prevented in a hospital.

pregnancy-296486_640Every 90 seconds, a woman somewhere in the world dies in childbirth. In Afghanistan, where regressive gender politics have effectively forced women away from doctors, women face a one in ten chance of dying while delivering a baby.  Childbirth is no joke… it used to be one of the most dangerous times in a woman’s life and we have the medical and scientific communities to thank for so dramatically dropping those risks over the past century.

I believe much of the rhetoric of the natural/at-home birthing movement is akin to faith healing… the idea that childbirth only becomes dangerous or painful because you “believe” it will be implies that any suffering is your own fault and you wouldn’t be having these problems if you just had more faith in the process. It’s an emperor-has-no-clothes belief system, because any failure of its promise of painless, easy childbirth is blamed on the poor mother, who is apt to deny any problems because they would supposedly prove failure on her part, rather than the problematic belief system itself.

I suppose the ultimate show of faith is having a baby by yourself, at home, with no professionals around in case anything goes awry. But, gentle readers, this is simply a dangerous thing to do. How would you feel if something horrible happens to your baby and you then have to live with the fact that you might have prevented it if you weren’t trying to prove something?

If you absolutely, positively, insist in having the baby at home, at least be sure you are reasonably close to a hospital and DO NOT have the baby by yourself. Make sure you have a doula or midwife on hand who can figure out if an emergency situation is taking place so you can be rushed to the hospital if need be. Even in the days of yore, when women routinely gave birth at home, there was always someone hanging out with her, making sure she didn’t pass out or suddenly need assistance.

Because, dear readers, some of the birth stories I’ve read from the prenatal yoga moms have made my blood run cold, though obviously, I cannot reveal the mothers’ names without compromising their privacy. One woman labored by herself for hours, in the bathtub, while her husband was at work. She was in labor for several days before finally being rushed to the hospital. Her water had broken long ago, her baby was leaking meconium (baby poo) into her system, and she was going into septic shock.

She was given blood transfusions and an emergency C-section, which saved her life and that of her baby’s. Do any of you guys watch Downton Abbey?  Septic shock is a horrible way to die.

Another friend of mine was a huge advocate of natural, at-home birth. She is young, extremely healthy, and had to be rushed to the hospital while delivering her baby because she was bleeding to death.  They saved her and her son. She doesn’t like to tell anyone about the experience because: 1) it embarrasses her that the method she was so gung-ho about worked out so poorly, and 2) she feels like a failure because she didn’t give birth the way she wanted to. This is tragic, in my opinion, because women should not feel like failures after struggling through a naturally hazardous process, and also because we need to be aware of the very real risks we are taking.

I’d also like to share that of the many mothers who wanted a natural birth in my class, the majority ended up begging for an epidural somewhere around 4 centimeters of dilation, which is before things get really rough.

There is no shame in this.  You cannot be expected to truly know whether you will need pain management if you have never experienced this type of pain before, and it is good to have all options available.

There are also a couple of mothers who made it all the way through… they gave birth with nary an anesthetic in sight and they feel fantastic about their accomplishment. No one forced them to get an epidural; you see… it is always your choice.

Just because something is possible, does not mean it is always desirable.  Mother Nature can be quite harsh. She weeds out members of the herd by killing off members prone to physical problems and removing them from the gene pool. But Nature also made the human animal a brilliant creature who could invent new medications and methods of preventing many deaths and illnesses. So, you could also view medical practices as natural, in that they are the natural extension of human ingenuity and invention.

Some might even argue that taking unnecessary risks, rather than relying on your species’ ingenuity, makes you a potential candidate for weeding out.

If you wish to forgo the epidural, that is a valid choice. But please, keep yourselves safe.

That is all.

What’s Up With All the Peanut Allergies?

My daughter Brontë recently started attending preschool. It was high time for her to go (she really wants to make friends with other children), but for me, it was bittersweet. It’s the end of an era: the World of Just Mommy and Brontë.

It means she won’t stay a little girl forever. Someday she will learn to drive, go off to college, and move out of the house…

We are very close, so I knew it could be a tough transition for her. The night before her first day, I lovingly packed her My Little Pony backpack with a coat, extra socks, and a change of clothes. In the morning, I gave her a special treat (Frozen cereal. Anything Elsa is gold) and explained to her on the drive over that mommy would be dropping her off to play, but not to be scared, because mommy would come back in a little while to pick her up.

She looks terrified, right?
She looks terrified, right?

When we arrived, I squeezed her tiny warm hand as we crossed the parking lot to the front door. She was wide-eyed. I knelt down to hug and kiss her as I mentally prepared myself for an emotional flood. This was the first time she would be left by herself in a new place. She might grab me around the legs, sobbing, and beg me not to leave her. I would reassure her, again and again, promising her that this would be so much fun and I would definitely always come back for her.

Instead, she popped her My Little Pony backpack on a nearby hook, like a pro, then casually said “Bye moms!” before tearing off into the building.

The transition went, umm, rather smoothly.

I, on the other hand, have much to learn. This is a unique,  play-based preschool where one parent works a shift every week. I love the concept of parental participation, but it means a steep learning-curve about a bunch of new policies and procedures. My shift is on Wednesday, and I’m supposed to bring kid and parent snacks every month.

These impending snack duties made me anxious. How much is enough? How organic should it be? Can it contain gluten? Are graham crackers alright, or do they contain too much sugar? What if it’s messy? Will other parents be mad?

I’m the new kid on the block and don’t want to jack up my reputation with an embarrassing snack faux-pas, so on my first Wednesday, I was curious to see what the snack-bringer was dishing up.

It was quite impressive: hot crockpot chili (it’s finally getting chilly in California), with tortilla chips and cheddar cheese. She told me she had also made corn muffins, but couldn’t bring them in after reading on the box that the mix was prepared in a facility that also processes tree nuts. Last year, five of the kids had severe nut allergies.

My daughter demonstrates her mastery of backpack-hook technology
My daughter demonstrates her mastery of backpack-hook technology

Uh-oh… nut allergies. Not only can’t we bring in any food containing nuts, but we can’t bring in anything prepared with ingredients that might have once made friends with a nut. Non-nut ingredients can’t even run in the same social circles without tarnishing their reputations.

I don’t mean to make light of severe allergies, of course. Allergies are a serious issue with potentially tragic consequences. But what confounds me is how nut allergies have become so prevalent.

I was a kid during the 1980’s. Back then, if you tossed a handful of rocks into a cafeteria and hit five random kids, I guarantee that at least one of them would have been eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at the time. Another one would’ve been bouncing off the walls while stuffing his face with Willy Wonka candy.

That Willy Wonka kid would be diagnosed with ADHD, nowadays, just like that hyper kid who used to sit behind me whose butt never actually touched his seat. He would just hover over it, trying to sit down, but shaking with too much energy to manage it,  like a trapped Roomba smacking repeatedly against a corner of the room.

ADHD diagnoses have also exploded in the past twenty years, but it’s possible that we just didn’t know what to call it, in those days, when a kid didn’t pay attention (besides “spazz”). Perhaps we have a better handle on behavioral patterns and potential treatments now than in my youth.

Back then, the principal would give each class a brief speech every year, during which he would introduce his spanking paddle and warn us about how our butts might get better acquainted with it if we chose to misbehave.

Not sure if anyone’s butt ever met Mr. Paddle, though. The warning may have been enough.

Whether a child is choosing to misbehave, or simply has abnormal brain chemistry, can be a difficult call. While experts continue to debate the relative merits of punishment vs. medication to treat problem behavior, allergies seem more straightforward: a bad physical reaction to a peanut is an objective fact. A positive test result is clear.

Still, you can’t bring a peanut anywhere near most schools anymore, in case peanut dust hits the air stream, whereas about half the brown lunch bags at my elementary school contained PB&J’s on any given day.

Once, when I was a child, I heard about a kid with a severe peanut allergy who died after taking a bite of something containing peanuts. I remembered it forever, mostly because it sounded so incredibly strange. Allergic to peanuts? How was that possible?

I never knew that kid, or knew anyone who knew him. It was always a friend-of-a-friend story. For all I knew, it was an urban legend, like the razor blades stuck into apples in some kid’s trick-or-treat bag.

And now, there are five kids with severe allergies at a small preschool?

The problem is now so prevalent that I was warned, by medical experts, not to eat any nuts during pregnancy, in case it triggered nut allergies. It bothered me at the time, since nuts are incredibly nutritious and I was used to eating almond butter every day.

After much internal debate, I decided to ignore the advice.

My family has no history of nut allergies, so I figured it wasn’t a big risk. Plus, the list of foods we are supposed to avoid when pregnant is very long. Depending on the source, it includes rare meat, dairy, soft cheeses, fruit juice, sushi, homemade desserts, pre-stuffed poultry, lunchmeat, fish, meat spreads, vegetables, sprouts, salads, smoked meat, refrigerated meat, nuts, and herbal tea.

The list of banned foods so long, in fact, that I was more concerned with not getting beneficial nutrients than about potential contamination. Following such strict guidelines means you won’t be left with much to eat beyond saltine crackers (which probably have too much salt). We don’t even know how well vitamin supplements work, so I cast my lot in the “food variety” bucket, rather than playing it safe.

pregnantnutsTurns out, I may have been onto something. A study following more than 11,000 pregnant women found that mothers who ate tree nuts during pregnancy actually reduced the incidence of allergies. In this CNN report, the study’s lead author suggests that early exposure helps children build up a tolerance.

This makes intuitive sense to me. Allergies happen when your immune system attacks something it doesn’t recognize, so wouldn’t you increase the risk of allergies through lack of exposure? How could introducing a food “trigger” an allergy in someone who wasn’t genetically predisposed?

A recent article in Time suggests exposure peanuts might even cure peanut allergies. Another study showed that predisposed children fitted with a “peanut patch” increased their tolerance to peanuts ten-fold.

A sanitized environment isn’t always the answer. As I mentioned in a previous post (“Americans are Too Damn Clean“), studies show that children exposed to a little contamination (such as the mold and plant particles on a family pet) tend to have lower rates of allergies and asthma than those kept in more disinfected environments.

Is it possible that our well-intended avoidance of tree nuts is what’s responsible for the allergy explosion? Are other countries experiencing a similar tree nut allergy phenomenon?

It’s such a difficult issue. No one wants to be responsible for a preventable death, especially of a child. But on the other hand, is our vigilance actually making things worse?

Why Sitting Up is Awesome

Psst… come closer and lend me your ears and I’ll tell you a tale of the baby who could sit up!

Bridget can now sit up all by herself and is really having fun with it. She lays on her back and pops up repeatedly like a little prairie dog.

She must have killer abs.
Part of the joy of having children is getting to see the world all over again with new eyes. Most things about the world aren’t fresh and interesting to adults anymore, because they’ve seen it and done it so much that they can live in autopilot mode for about 80% of their day (I completely made up that statistic, by the way).
I’m guessing that’s why we do stuff like get off on the wrong freeway exit. We wear these little paths in our brains, flip the auto switch on, and zone right out.
Generally it works, unless we are tired and accidentally turn onto the freeway exit next to our house when we meant to go somewhere else, or put our keys in the fridge when we pull the milk out then can’t find them for an hour.
Or maybe that’s just me, because I’m the kind of fluffy dork who thinks about what my cat would tell me if he could talk instead of paying attention to what I’m doing. A couple weeks ago, for example, I accidentally poured chicken broth instead of almond milk into my cup of coffee. And it was the LAST cup of coffee in the house.
That was an unpleasant surprise. I figured out what the cat wanted to tell me, though. He had been trying to order 200 gallons of milk off Amazon’s online grocery, but couldn’t pull my credit card out of my wallet because his claws kept getting in the way.
Not really, but the amusing idea helped take the sting out of a giant mouthful of chicken coffee as my body seized into disgusted shivers. So gross.
At least I can now play the Exhausted Parent card in moments like these.  Baby Bridget, on the other hand, is not zoning out to all the daily minutiae of our everyday grind. She still finds everything incredibly new and exciting (plus, she gets a ridiculous amount of sleep. Jealous).
Bridget has been trying to learn how to properly sit up for weeks now, ever since she got tired of diagonally rolling around like a misshapen onion whenever she wanted to get anywhere. I would watch her repeatedly flex her shoulders, try to reach her tiny arms forward, kick her little feet off the floor in a flailing attempt to gain momentum… then finally flop right back down and erupt into frustrated, defeated screaming. Poor thing.
Finally, she did it. She was laying flat on her back and sat right up. She squealed in ecstasy, waves of pride radiating across her face. I grabbed my camera to capture her grand moment of victory.
Even when babies are so young they are barely able to sit up, they seem to understand the function of a camera (Also the phone. It’s bizarre). Bridget caught sight of my camera and instantly started posing for it. Brimming with confidence, she laid down and sat up, again and again, showing off her newfound skill and flirting with the camera.
Kids are so amazingly grateful for the little things adults have long taken for granted. But in this instance, I kind of understood how she was feeling. I remember exactly what it was like, back when I was about nine months pregnant, to get stuck on my back like some kind of enormous, flipped-over turtle. I’d flail my limbs around while trying to sit up, and finally roll onto my side, where I could bend my knees underneath my giant belly and use my arm and leg muscles to pull myself up. It was really frustrating.
I totally get it, Bridget. Sitting up is awesome.

YouBeauty Removes My Comment

My incendiary comment is removed by the powers that be
My incendiary comment is removed by the powers that be
Yesterday, I posted about a “Daily Aha!” article from YouBeauty entitled “Pick Your Pregnancy” that went out to inboxes everywhere.

For those of you who don’t know, Youbeauty is part of Dr. Oz’s health and beauty empire. Subscribers get daily inbox fare about current scientific health studies and beauty advice.

This article, with the byline “your health could determine your baby’s gender,”  claims that healthier women are more likely to have sons. Supposedly, this is because a healthy son is more likely to become a dominant male who will increase his mom’s genetic footprint.

While describing how you can increase your odds of gender selection, the article features a  photo of a cute baby in a blue room, wrapped in a blue blanket. The implication isn’t subtle: moms who can choose, choose boys. And you can increase your odds of bearing a strapping Alpha boy by getting healthier.

Irritated by its many sexist assumptions (that women prefer sons, that mothers of daughters are less healthy, and that we are genetically wired to be bossed around by Alpha males), I clicked on the article’s research link to see what methodology was used to support these throwback conclusions.

And what do you know? The cited study actually flat out disagrees with the idea, saying “healthy females do not produce more male than female offspring.” Seems pretty straightforward, right?

Apparently, some Swiss researchers were testing the Trivers-Willard hypothesis, which These ewes also know the superior value of strapping sons, amiright ladies?
(Phillip Haupt) These ewes also know the superior value of strapping sons, amirite ladies?
states that healthy women should benefit from changing the sex of their offspring, by looking at Bighorn ewes (cause sheep are just like us, I guess), who expected healthy ewes to create bighorn “supermales” (cue Wagner’s Flight of the Valkyries).

Only they didn’t, which should poke a hole in the entire theory. Wondering who at Youbeauty decided “healthy females do not produce more male offspring” means “healthy females produce more male offspring,” I glanced at the author and was further irritated to see a woman’s name: Rebekka Spiller. Great.

How many women are going to read that article, and being too busy to check out the research, will leave with the idea that science says bearing a son means superior fitness? Still bothered by the idea, I decided to leave a comment on the article today about how the study contradicts the article’s conclusion. I hoped it would prompt  readers to check the study before assuming the article had a clue what it was talking about.

And within the hour, my comment was removed by the administration.

Not sure why, since I didn’t break any of the standard rules about commenting. My comment didn’t use any profanity and wasn’t personally insulting. I didn’t say, “Rebekka Spiller, you dimwitted hack, great job reporting the complete opposite of what your cited study actually concluded so you could promote this sexist B.S.”

I also didn’t mention my own article, or promote my blog, or say anything that could be construed as spam.

All I did was point out that the study didn’t back the author’s conclusion, but the administration saw fit to remove my comment immediately. The article lives on, however, promoting its flawed research and jacked up conclusions. 

Very interesting.