sure, it looks cute now, but thats cause its not biting YOUR nipples

The aforementioned alien child with his in-the-Airforce Abba.

I don’t understand why anyone would do this more than once.

The first time, ok, you didn’t fully realize what you were getting into. But I know otherwise sane people with multiple children.

Chana Leah, fortunately, is on her first. Being one of my closest friends, I spent the first few days after birth with her on the mystical musical moshav of Modiin, and I’ll tell you, adoption never looked so good.

As cute and sweet as the little thing was, it just further emphasized my notion that babies are little more than miniature alien creatures who first invade your body and then co opt your entire sexual self and turn it into a utilitarian breeding and feeding machine slightly less effective than a farm animal.

Most of your adult conversations start revolving around thier digestive system, and you think it’s all made worth while when they smile at you, but really, it’s just gas. Somehow, through days, weeks, and years of systematic sleep deprivation, you slowly become convinced you love this selfish devil/alien who sprang forth from your womb and sucked your former self out through your breasts.

Plus they’re expensive, and they stink. People tell me that at any moment some combination of hormones will hit me and I’ll be cooing along with the rest of the pod people, but I just don’t see that happening any time soon.

I believe in Jewish peoplehood and all, but this is asking a little much, don’t you think?

That all having been said, Mazel Tov Chana Leah and Tzali! I’ll see you again tomorrow at the Brit.

Update: The name was announced today; Eden Yiftach. Welcome to the world little man.

About the author

Laya Millman

122 Comments

  • mazel tov! just wait to see what your breasts look like after you’ve breastfed one or more. not to mention what your vagina looks like after an episiotomy and what your stomach looks like with fresh stretch marks. nevertheless, they give you such nachas, like today when my 7 year old is throwing up and coughing strep germs all over me…

  • and of course keep your head on, love your husband, don’t let him abandon you, and have custody of your children that you went through such physical and mental anguish and tribulations. Make sure that he helps you, tell him what you need and want, and keep the love fire buring high at all times.
    Mazel Tov,
    Peace,
    Jobber

  • I would just like to say, if you think this post is bitter, imagine hearing Laya expound on this topic almost every day for the past couple of weeks.

    Trust us: she hates babies.

  • Mazel Tov!!! I must say, having had Laya as part of my social circle is Israel really is helpful in hearing a lot of the good news while I’m away. Thanks for the update, and send them my love.

    And for the record, she’s got a lot of strong views on all kinds of matters of family life, that’s what makes Laya who she is, the fun loving, oppinianated, trying to save the world, but not really knowing how to save her self, awesome girl.

  • Welcome, Laya–you’re finally old enough that your friends are beginning to procreate, and what you’re experiencing is a rational person’s reaction to the prospect of the magical process of birth.

    The first experience of a close friend having a child does this to a lot of us, hitting with a wave of both resentment and envy. Why aren’t they spending time with me anymore? Why do I have to listen to how many hours of sleep they’ve been averaging a week, or how many times the youngster goes poopie? Those first few months are enough to drive anyone even remotely associated with the child to drink. I swear I experienced sympathetic exhaustion when my nephew wasn’t letting my SIL sleep. But soon, the difference between gas and actual laughter becomes clear. Still stinky diapers, but those diapers aren’t forever. You may never warm to the idea of the birth process, alien, admittedly, it does seem. But smiley giggly babies are tres adorable….what would a good aunt do? I’ll send you some pix of my nephew…

  • Laya wrote:
    I believe in Jewish people hood
    – – – – – – – – – –
    – so will you be picketing the brit?

  • I second Laya’s feelings/observations. However I’m aware of the unhealthy narcissism that fuels these feelings. C’est la vie. Seems to be worse for creative types though.

    Dang…the loss of sleep alone makes me wanna avoid the whole stinky experience.

  • BD, no idea what you are talking about.
    Esther, even after they are past the poopie diaper stage, the horror continues. Just wait til they start saying “no” and “mine”, hitting other kids and running away from you when it’s time to brush their teeth.
    Shtreimel, I’m glad we agree, but you get off easy, all you have to do is knock someone up and hold the little devil sometimes. I’m under no illusions that there’s a measure of narcissism/selfishness to it all, but your life for the next 20 odd years is never the same. And children really are naturally evil.

  • Laya…I’m a musician and artistic type. Most of my friends are as well. And we all share that infamous self-centered shtick that doesn’t bode well for marriage/children. But most of us feel a deep sadness when we ponder a life without family/children. Alas, I agree that I get off easy. Actually, I’d prefer “easier”. Cuz the whole things looks mighty difficult.

  • Okay so I suck at this HTML thing…Click on my name, encino yeled, to see my cousin.

    Damn, I’ve got to be the uncoolest blogger on this thing.

  • As Schwartzi says on the Moshav- its the only game in town. Pregnancy is uncomfortable at best and then babies rip their way out of your body and are needy, sticky, poopy messes… but when you nurse a baby in the middle of the night and they take a break to look up at you, well there is no one who could resist that kind of love.

    BTW I never liked other people’s babies but I love mine(despite the fact that I am tired, covered in baby snot and have no time to myself)

  • Darlings, DARLINGS, calm DOWN, gee willikers, oy gevalt.

    When it happens to YOU, it stops being a freaky spectacle observed from the outside; maybe it’s your blood hormones, but you get into it, and understand how to do it. Your friend will LIKE the changes in her life, and in her re-tooled identity, in a little while. Give the poor girl time. And don’t make it harder by whining on her parade, OK? You could cause real, permanent damage, depending on how much she is interested in your views. She is in a difficult, sensitive, transitional time now.

    Is it really attractive to watch other people eat? Not really, especially if you think in detail about what is going on, crunch, crunch. But your OWN dinner is a fine thing, yum yum!

    Nothing good is free. You know that.

    There IS TOO a commensurate reward. It’s not just penal servitude. You get back every ounce you put in.

    I am still laughing.

    Darlings. It works. That is why we are here at all.

    Hee hee hee!

    OTHER people’s children are smelly and expensive. Your OWN are marvels. I am not making this up.

    Remember this future scene: “Mind the stairs, Ma. Hold the rail. Hold my arm. Louie, get the car out front, so Ma doesn’t have to walk so far. Ma! Careful. Let me carry that.”

    Old age waits for us all. The people you take care of now will take care of you, later, when it is YOU in the bassinet, when it is YOU who are smelly, inconvenient, tiresome, unable to give anything, and expensive.

    Creative people make just as good parents as anybody else. Get this: you don’t have to be a perfect parent. Just a half-way reasonable one. And you figure it out as you go along.

    You would all make perfectly fine parents.

  • man, the proud abba sure bears a striking resemblance to “gabe” from six feet under… anyone else with me on that?
    laya, the universal rule for narcissists is that other people’s babies suck, but yours rule. esther’s whole “smiley giggly babies are tres adorable” thing may not be true for you until you have one yourself.
    and not to contradict all the “reproductive system getting turned inside-out” you mentioned up there, but many women have told me that pregnancy was the most amazing thing that ever happened to them.
    that, and that their enjoyment of sex went through the roof.

  • You don’t have to be scared, and you don’t have to be jealous.

    Childbirth is a ton of serious, sweaty work, but you can deal with it. Nobody is trying to be mean to you. It is the only pain that does not mean that anything is wrong. That is even true without medical care, and we have good medical care. You don’t have to be too organic-holy to use painkillers, either. Even a cesarean is entirely survivable. All my cousins needed them, and they are fine. Men! Don’t be scared or guilt-ridden to “put her through this”. It’s normal.

    The beginning of life is messy, and the end of life is messy. The middle is neat and clean. So, can you cope with a little mess?

    When the baby sleeps, you sleep, right then. That is how you get through. You leave the phone calls unmade and everything else undone. Maybe the floor will sweep itself. It doesn’t matter. Sleep.

    Of course building a new human being is a big job. It’s a lot of wooork, but so is everything. And when you are finished, you have a person. That is the biggest product there is. What else do people do with their time that is more important?

    Nobody since Eve has ever known any more about it than you do.

    Now that we “try to improve our relationships” we all think we have to have fine, high-quality relationships, to go with our fine, high-quality clothes, and our fine, high-quality educations, blah blah.

    So, the notion of the perfect parent sneaks into our minds. “I can’t be entrusted with this! we whimper” Oh blah.

    If you are ordinarily competent, you can bring up children. THEY don’t have to be perfect either. If you are using a computer to read this, you are ordinarily competent.

    Go forth and multiply. It’s fun. It is the biggest thing there is. It’s the perfect wave.

  • do you all think it’s a cultural phenomenon that (many) women are emotionally unprepared for pregnancy and motherhood for years and years after our bodies are ready for it? or is it biological? it puzzles me.

  • There is no way to “be prepared”.

    You become prepared, while you are right in the middle of it. It is NORMAL not to be prepared.

    You don’t really get the point of the whole business until the fourth month of the pregnancy. Then you get it, because you feel quickening, the kid wiggles all tickly inside you. It feels cute. It does NOT hurt. You start becoming a mother, because you realize this is not just a positive lab test, this is Someone. Many, not all, women get some mental communication with the baby, before birth, mind to mind. That is not a fantasy, either. About half, I think. Don’t ask them about this. It is the most private thing in the WORLD.

    As for the birth, you go to classes, then you just take what comes. It is an experience that cannot be choreographed in advanced. But you find the inner resources to deal with it, as it is going on. Really.

  • right, i was just pointing to the face that biologically i could have an 8 year old right now (i’m 20) and if i had grown up somewhere else or in another time i very well might.

  • It IS a little stranger. But it is a blood relative, and so is going to make some sense to you. But it is someone new. A stranger. A wonderful stranger, who will somehow be better than you, be everything you wished you could be but weren’t. The world anew!

    Sometimes you get someone who is a lot like you, and that makes it easier.

    Sometimes you get someone who is a more like the other parent,which is harder, or, who is a fair bit different from both parents. That is allowed. It is harder. You have to try harder, that is all.

    Being a woman and giving birth to a male, who will grow up to be one of Them, is amazing and very strange.

    You have to understand that everybody has a right to be who and what they are!!!

    See, I am TOO a liberal.

  • Boom Boom Booms, another unassisted goal by Laya ***

    JM, I have found this analysis is valid mostly w/ child # 1. Only because I think the parent will usually make mistakes w/ the first one, some of them they will not repeat.
    Jobbers

  • I suspect that Laya has some unresolved sibling issues. Why else would a warm, loving, giving and smart young woman have such strong and negative reactions to babies? And if we actually were to believe Michael, to children stam?

    Wait until you find Mr. Right, Laya. You’ll want to make a lot of babies that look just like him 🙂

  • GASP!

    I will hold back my comment, but not without letting you know that I am holding it back…which is why I’m telling you that.

  • The thing nobody warns you about is the love, man. People always think about the hassle of changing diapers, losing sleep, fixing bottles etc.

    *PFFFT* That’s nothing- that stuff is easy.

    The truly hard part is the crazy love you feel for your children, like nothing you’ve ever felt for anyone or anything else in your life. Nothing can prepare you for that. It’s like someone suddenly drops this insanely precious antique in your lap and you have to carry it around all your life, except that it can wander around on it’s own and sometimes you even have to let other people watch it. The worry, the regret, the anxiousness that you’re not doing something right…. sometimes it just breaks my heart to simply watch my kids sleeping.

    I always chuckle when people without kids wonder why anyone would subject themselves to the experience. It’s a very good question. Life would be easier without them, that’s for sure. But the comparison is just too far-fetched, because you literally start to exist in another world, on another level when you have kids.

    And yes, of course it is definitely also a righteous pain in the ass sometimes.

  • I was all set to launch into full-scale war on the uppity childless people, but I couldn’t muster the energy after dealing with a 2-day throw-up spree, courtesy of my 10 year old. I surrender. Yes, kids are messy. Yes, they sometimes smell really, really bad. Yes, I need a drink.

    But I gotta admit- he’s really cute when he’s asleep.

    Mazel tov to your friend, Laya.

  • Laya is I think a post romantic, it has to feel right first intellectually, as opposed to just going w/ the flow. Not that big a deal, everything in its proper time you know that famous niggun by the Byrds.

  • I liked the way you put that Mudskipper. My Father always used to tell me when I was growing up and even when I was a young adult “you can begin to understand how much I love you until you have a child of your own”, so he did try to prepare me. The love is insane.

    However, I have already instructed my children that they will have to contribute to my plastic surgery fund someday for the havoc their births and upbringing has wreaked on my body.

  • so nice to hear people say nice things about me, even if they are less than accurate. For instance Janice, I pretty sure I don’t have unresolved sibling issues, I think my little brother is the coolest. I just don’t like babies. Not everyone has too, right? They’re kinda like dogs, They slow you down and pee on your carpet (how’s that for warm and loving?). More trouble than they’re worth as far as I can see.

  • Sometimes they pee on your face, too, Laya. And that helps with all kinds of complexion issues. So you see, they aren’t all bad and they are different from dogs who are more likely to pee on your foot.

  • What does Laya’s mama say? Laya herself must have passed through some of these early, moist phases. Also the little brother. Laya’s mama surely finds the whole business worth it, what with a beautiful, intelligent daughter like Laya.

    Meaning: when you BEEN THERE you can report.

    Everybody loves sausage*, but nobody wants to watch it being made. Like policy.

    But where would we be without sausage, policy and babies?

    * Substitute Shakshuka, if you insist on being literal-minded, and you are not Ashkenazi. Or Baba Ganoush. Or Chummus. Or whatever. Chop chop! Mix mix! Splat splat! Yum yum! Clean-up. Mess! Oy.

    Note: babies are not hairless dogs. They are people. Indeed they are less trouble than most people, because you are unique to them. Try that with your friends, ho ho.

  • Didn’t we do the same to our own mothers?

    I would feel guilty, except that I couldn’t help doing it, and, anyway, my mama did the exact same thing to grandma!

    My mama said: what you owe me, which is huge, you repay, not to me, but, to your own children. The debt is eternally paid forward, to the next generation.

    That’s how cosmic bookkeeping works.

    How do the MEN repay their own mamas? By taking care of their mama’s grandchildren and their mother.

    This has stood the test of time and so can’t be totally stupid. I mean, here we are.

    Let those who were purchased at Macy’s cast the first stone. The rest of us were born.

  • I’m Ashkenazi and I friggin’ hate sausage.

    But speaking of sausage, maybe it can be used as an example. I don’t like sausage. Now, do I not like sausage because of deep-seated childhood issues and will eventually learn to like sausage once I make my own, or is it perhaps possible that I, as a person mature enough to make my own decisions, just don’t like sausage and will never like sausage because, to me, sausage is hugely unappealing?

    So why, theoretically, can the same idea not hold for babies?

  • Laya’s mama says Don’t give in to peer pressure!

    Meaning: just cause everyone else is having babies is no reason I need to.

  • Ah! But you like Shakshuka! You are on record as saying that it is a proof of that G-d exists, and loves His people Israel!

    There must be something you love and need which is not neat, clean or easy during its formative stages!

    There is ABSOLUTELY NO NEED to wonder what Michael’s mama would say to the idea of exchanging Michael’s existence for an untroubled, sleep-filled youth. I wouldn’t even want to be in the building if someone asked her that question.

    Shalom Aleichem a Mama, Michael’s Mama.

  • Hey Laya’s mama! We understand. It is the mothers of the BOYS who don’t feel a thing. Your sweetie will make ANOTHER sweetie and be very well, in the fullness of time, with the blessing, with the compassion of Heaven, B’chasdei Hashem. Did I do that right?

  • My own mama took it all pretty well. She did not wonder in terror if I would die, or gloat that now I knew what she had been through, or roll her eyes lugubriously at the tragedy of it all. She smiled down at me in my hospital bed wider than I ever saw her smile before, and said very little. Then, she personally paid for a nurse’s aide to live-in with us for a whole week to show us how to care for the newborn (who presently sports a beautiful close-cropped beard, is married himself, and is working).

    Obladi, Oblada, blah blah blah. Life isn’t so terrible.

  • I understand the squeamishness of being peed on. Believe me. And I know that parenting isn’t as cool and laced with banter as the Gilmore Girls would have me believe.

    Of course you don’t have to have babies just because “everyone else” is. (Hard for me to believe that’s true, though.) There are those of us who always saw ourselves as mothers and others of us who never did. But speaking for my unmarried thirty- and some forty-something female friends, focusing on a religious imperative to bear theoretical children is not a pressure that we need.

    Finding the right partner is about figuring out your compatibilities on all fronts, including your positions on procreation.

    (The Jewish community has requested that I add the following disclaimer: “Please note: Your failure to procreate will result in the slow trickling of the Jewish people toward extinction. Please exercise caution.”)

  • Let’s not forget when the poo accidentally drops to the floor.

    Or when they have a terrible cold and sneeze on you.

    Not to mention all that cooking. Why don’t they make their own food?!

    And dang it, how is it possible that a child grows out of his new pair of shoes once every two months?

    Did I mention no more flying around the world until they are older? Then it’s too expensive because all they do is eat and you have to pay for it.

    😆

  • There is no need to scientific-ize everything. No offense, but there is nothing intelligent about keeping a baby pee journal. It will not make the baby stop peeing, and it will focus your mind onto the baby as a Mr. or Ms. Pee-Machine. He/she is no more a pee-machine than you are, and that is not a good child-bonding technique. Do unto others, etc.

    What I am trying to communicate is the basic, peasanty, aspect of it all. There is no college-graduate way to do this, unlike other things one does. Like plain food, or, Shakshuka, which CK says is honest peasant food, that has kept his family alive for centuries.

    I cannot imagine CK’s family keeping a pee journal!!!! may they increase, increase, increase.

    There are some things to do in a modern way. And there are some things to do in a very ancient way.

    Nobody has claimed it was not work.

    Everybody who has actually done it has stated it is worth the work.

    The only people against it are those who have not done it. Those who have done it, are for it.

    WELLLL, So what would be the scientific conclusion?

    QED.

    If you want to get religious, the commandment to have children is aimed squarely at MEN ONLY to relax Esther!!!

    They MUST have children, and you own the means of production, ha ha, so they are stuck negotiating with you!

    G-d is not as mean as all that, you see.

  • um, hello? isn’t this supposed to be an “edgy” jewish blog?
    did no one read my “sex-getting-1000%-better-during-pregnancy” comment?
    p.s. laya, first things first. find a *man* who doesn’t repulse you, then you can work on your issues with babies.
    but you gotta quit dissin’ babies — my baby RULES, and is frikkin’ cute. here’s a video to prove it.

  • It has to do w. love,unconditional love. This is a warped point of view that the post is expressing. Some people like playing the anti christ whenever they can.

  • Three things you cannot undersandd until you have your own:

    1. How incredibly painful childbirth is.

    2. How soon you forget the pain.

    3. How unbelievably fast you fall in love with that little baby.

  • Upon reflection, I cannot understand all this interest in the back end of the baby. The pee and poop. Who cares? I never gave it one thought. I just threw out the paper diaper and put on a new one. Big deal.

    The other end is the interesting end. The eyes. The faintly haired little head. The perfect little legs, with their straight kick, one two, one two.

    The sweet smell, that has another note in it in addition to the perfumes of the various baby products. That note is the KID. HIMSELF. The strange miracle of knowing your own babies’s small as “right” and your friends’ babies’ smell as, not bad in any way, but, inexplicably, “wrong”. We can tell our own by smell. A miracle of mammalian biology.

    You know the cry, too. Even when it is heard out in the hall, too far to see or smell, you know which one is your own. You hear a cry out there: “That’s not mine,” you think, and it isn’t. Another mew. “That one is mine,” you think, and then they wheel the bassinet into your hospital room. It WAS yours. How did you know? You just knew.

    It is so important to have a crib-mobile, and fabrics with designs, or the kid will be bored. Wuold you like to live all day in a featureless environment?

    A friend used to say, “It’s not an atomic bomb, it’s just a baby.”

  • That’s why the kid wants his mama even though the nicest lady in the world is holding him. He can tell by smell she is not his mama. Mammalian biology. Amazing.

  • […] In the event that after reading Laya’s post from yesterday you still somehow decide to go ahead and procreate, you’ll be glad to know that a group of Israeli rabbis have put together a list of names that you should never name your child (reported in Newsday). Uttering the name Ariel is problematic because it could beckon an angel namesake instead, drawing down his wrath, they caution. Omri — the name of an evil biblical king — should be taboo because of the highly negative connotation. And naming children after dismantled Gaza settlements, like Katif, is another bad idea, they say, because of the controversy involved, they say. Jewish settlers, predominantly religious unsuccessfully opposed the withdrawal. […]

  • Yeah also the actual smells do not bother you as much when it’s your own child. Not saying it is the most pleasant smell in the world, but it’s not as big a deal as Laya is making it out to be, WHEN it is your own.
    That is interesting also. This is one of those arguments that no one can win because those who don’t have their own, cannot discuss it on the same level of understanding. imo it’s a kind of defense mechanism towards the question, why aren’t you married, like, who would want to be.
    Committed Jews, cannot have it both ways tho.
    THen you have the loving Aunts, the unmarried ones especially, who try to use the nieces as their own private parenting experience. Pathetic.
    And these are hot women I am talking about. Go figure.

  • Yes, the father has the same smell recognition, not just the mother. THAT is seriously amazing. HE didn’t feel a thing! I guess mammals learn very well and very quickly!

    Now don’t go calling me a reptile. I’m a placental mammal and proud of it.

    We here in Western Civ have more access to cleanliness than anybody and there is no need to have a smelly nursery or baby.

    Babies are not made of formica but they rinse off with the same ease.

    ESPECIALLY YOUR OWN.

  • Laya, I agree with you one hundred percent. It’s a toss-up as to which is more disgusting — having a baby, or taking care of it. Which is why I love being an aunt; it’s legitimate for me to refuse to change diapers. But what they say about the smiling is true. When a baby smiles at you for real (and it’s not gas) it’s one of the best feelings in the whole world. Why? Because a baby’s smile is real — there’s no faking. You know they’re smiling because they’re happy to be with you. It’s pure love.

  • I am so glad that there are women out there who do not want to be bothered with babies. If it were not for a woman who felt the same way Laya does, I would not be blessed with the most amazing little girl in the universe.

    I spent the first 38 years of my life praying for a baby, but one of my own was not in Hashem’s plans. When other women at work used to sit around showing their kid’s pictures and talk about all the cute thing their kid did, I used to lock myself in the bathroom and cry my heart out.

    Finally, when He realized that I was ready, he sent a baby to another lady, so she could give that baby to me. That was 2 years ago, and my life has been a world of wonderment ever since. Every time she reaches up to kiss a mezuzah, every time she says a bracha, every time she insists on Sh’ma before bed, my heart fills with so much love it feels like it will burst.

    I am the luckiest woman on the entire planet. My house could burn down tomorrow, and I could lose everything, but as long as we got out safe I would still praise G-d for the best blessing of all.

    Every child in the world should be this wanted. Every single one. If you don’t want a child, chances are, someone else has been waiting their whole life for yours.

    ~Grace, the world’s happiest mommy. 😀

  • If a woman does not believe in abortion or pre-natal testing, it is very important that she find out if she is a carrier of any of the genes for genetic disorders that are prevalent among Jews.
    Although both parents need to be carriers for a disorder to manifest, and even then the odds are in favor of a healthy child, it is another consideration to factor into the decision making process.
    People shouldn’t criticize a individual’s or couple’s decision not to have children because they may not know the backstory.
    Additionally, people shouldn’t jump into reproducing on blind faith when there is advanced medical technology to assist in increasing the chances that the baby will be healthy.

  • Only one Jew in 25 carries the gene for Tay Sachs. You can be tested for it easily. The odds of two of them marrying are therefore very small. Even then, a sick child is only one in four. A carrier is one in two. A non-carrier, a person like anybody else, no problem, from such a couple, is one in four.

    These conditions are ASSOCIATED with Jews, but they are still very rare events, even among the Jews.

    I truly hate to be mean and tiresome but the real threat is waiting too long! After 35 or so, Downs Syndrome, which is only caused by old eggs, in any population, not just Jews, goes from rare to not all that rare at all; a tragedy that is completely avoidable if you just get off the stick on time, may G-d help us all to marriage and breakfast in bed, yum, yum, with no perfectionism and everybody easy-going.

    Good Shabbos and an easy delivery.

    And no fair being simply chicken! And no fair sour grapes!

    When I had mine I, we, knew NOTHING and even we managed it. It’s not rocket science.

  • Right, and if one takes a stand towards Jewish committment, they cannot say no babies. It is way too hypocritical. I will even go as far as to state, Having a baby in the Diaspora is more important to the Jewish people than a single gal to live in Israel never to have babies as a concious decision.

  • I agree with you totally. Let’s eliminate these problems as fast as possible.

    The biggest disease however remains not marrying anybody at all, while our warm-blooded, sweet young people hang around with deeply mystified looks on their faces, getting sadder and more hurt every year, wondering what in the world is going on. The toll of that is far higher.

    I warn you in advance that this nut is made of several very tough materials, compounded together into a very tough alloy indeed.

    In the mix are: the permanent differences between women and men (universally denied), the gulf between their interests (universally denied), the general inhuman-ness of the highly competitive economy which has no room for fidelity even to a place, let alone a person, the stupid worship of unrealistic perfections of mind and body, the cost of a square foot of real estate and a unit of time, the marriage tax, the cost of education. The simple fact that no one is doing it, so how can anybody buck the trend, with no community support.

    Stuff like that.

    You sound like an insightful person. Can you offer some help with this?

    The need to have more money than Croesus to even think about marrying. The cost of a wedding being over the moon.

  • Here are some notions that have been floating around. Can somebody actually do something?

    ———————–
    Annual Marry-Your-Girlfriend Day

    Free Wedding on the Beach Initiative (OK, almost free)

    Midnight-Butterfly Bridesmaid-Dress Cotillion With Black Tights and Tons of Rhinestones

    Distance Learning, In-House Rabbinical Student Tutoring On Sundays, Home-Schooling Jewish Education Alternative If You Are Having Trouble Affording Day-School

    Floating Shabbos-Dinner in Your Friend’s Studio Apartment Network, Don’t Show Up Empty Handed And We Pray Mincha Maariv (Arvit) with A Mechitza and We Light Candles Together Initiative

    (And don’t forget the crock-pot for a yummy cholent to come home to on Friday. If you can make Shakshuka, it is even better.)

  • why does everyone assume that laya will have babies when the right guy comes along or when it feels right or when the time comes? maybe laya really doesn’t want to have babies ever. and maybe she will change her mind, and maybe she won’t. and either way wouldn’t that be a perfectly legitimate life choice?

  • It’s just that it’s highly hypocritical and unlike her political and personal stance that she has taken in her life, and on these blogs, in advocating Aliya, she had several posts a few months back, in which she criticizes those Jews who live and stay in the Diaspora. So it is logical to assume, that she is a committed Jew. As such, committed Jews, first and foremost procreate, that is, ensure the survival of our people for another generation. It would be out of character for her to take a position of not having children, especially when her most prominent stated reason for not liking babies, is their poops.
    Myself for instance, we had the boy and the girl, and could have stopped there, and in fact were advised as such by very smart and influential people, (based on economic reasons) but as I am an emotional person, and w/ all the stories of the Holocaust and those lost in Israel over the years, I agreed to have more (my wife wanted more anyway but I was on the fence). So I did so out of being committed to the Jewish people.

  • if there is any hypocrisy in what laya allegedly promotes (i didn’t read the posts, i’m just assuming you relayed them correctly) it’s in failing to recognize that not all jewish people should make aliya, it’s a personal choice. just as there are ways to be a productive (and reproductive) jew in the gola, there are ways to contribute to the jewish people without necessarily having babies. and, really, no fair throwing the Holocaust out there. that having been said, it is very important to have and raise more jewish people, without a doubt. i thank you and your wife for your contribution. interesting that you bring up those who gave their lives, because when i think of the lochamim who made it possible for Israel to come into existence and the soldiers who continue to give their lives to protect that existence i could cry just thinking about how much i owe them and how much love and gratitude i feel for them. if i was sure that having babies was the true way to honor them, i’d have five (that’s a lot to me).

  • Yow. This is just a post about what little nudnikim babies are. And they ARE nudnikim! They don’t listen, they cry for no apparent reason, they have gross stuff leaking out of every orifice and they make you crazy as they stumble around, wreaking havoc like little drunken sailors on shore leave. So what? I have two little babies in my life right now, nephews who in quiet times look like cherubic little angels. Sure they’re mini-terrorists, but I love them to pieces. Laya’s post was written as a result of having spent a couple of days helping out the new mother and child immediately after the birth! Everyone directly involved was obviously somewhat bewildered by little Eden Yifftach. Obviously the experience was going to be traumatic! But look at Tzali gazing at his boy – the photo could have used some flash or a tungsten filter but the awe and the love shine right on through. Yeah, this post may reflect some of the trauma of child birth but you’d have to be a cynical old coot to not sense the deep, deep affection that permeates every word. Mazal Tov to Tzali and Chana Leah and little Eden. These people could have done all this in the commfort of Babylon. Tzali could have been passing out cigars at some meaningless office job in New York. Chana Leah could have been attended to by the finest obstetricians on the upper east side. Instead, he’s in the air force and she’s on a moshav somewhere in Israel. Read between the lines people. This post aint about stinky babies. It’s about love and passion. Mazel frickin Tov. 🙂

  • Jobber, allow for a little complexity on issues. It will serve you well. Ofri, I think you are mistaken, probably should trust jobber simple assesment of my stance and beliefs, don’t know from where you get the “every jew should make aliyah” bit either. and ck, sheesh yo. Flash sucks indoors and you know it! The deliberate lack of a tungsten filter was to color the scene in a warm glow. I like it darker and warmer!

  • where did i get it? from the “she criticizes jews who live and stay in the Diaspora” bit. i made it perfectly clear that i didn’t read the criticism in question, and that i was responding to jobber and not to your supposed views. but i am perfectly happy to reserve all comments hereafter, since it’s become clear that this isn’t really about exchange of ideas at all.

  • i do indeed criticize aspects of Diaspora jewry, but its a different story to say all jews should make aliyah. Please, there’s no need to stop commenting, but I have to say it’s a little hard to be called a hypocrite by someone who is basing the assessment on second hand info.

  • Great. We’re all friends again. Terrific. If only I could get past Laya’s spelling of “Fricken” when it so clearly should be “frickin’.” And of course her self-described “deliberate” cynical, dispassionate, unfeeling, misanthropic abandonment of the tungsten filter.

  • Wonderful post, CK.

    (Babies do not cry for no reason. If the reason is not apparent, well, you haven’t figured it out, that’s all.)

    The cry is all he’s got. He can’t write his congressman.

  • Laya if you will check your post about the Montreal Yom Haatzmaut celebration please. Complexity? What do you mean? You still go on and on about very trivial matters. And I and many others am saying that this is simply that you don’t have YOUR OWN baby as a comparison. You refuse to see this point. So forget it, it’s not that important. You have stated many times about making Aliyah here. What is the complexity I am lacking in terms of this issue?

  • This just in: having a baby does not ruin your figure.

    The pregnancy weight falls off, if you want it to. Tax free until kid’s first birthday. Then you get serious, and eat a few salads with no oil, stuff like that, and it just comes off. It was never really part of you anyway. It was just there to make the birth possible.

    So don’t worry about that.

    Your bosom gets much, much nicer. You have heard of underwires?

    Your skin too.

    Stretch marks? Not everybody gets them. Those who do, can wear something with lace in it.

    Morning sickness? Not everybody gets that either; only about half.

    Not being able to work or concentrate? Not necessarily. Yes, life changes.

    It is worth it, because of, “Mom. Mind the stairs. Mom. Shlomie, bring the car around, so Mom doesn’t have to walk so far. Mom! Hold my arm. Let me carry that.”

    It waits for you.

    Oh, it is good, to see someone whom you cared for, care for you.

    Si je gagne, a cause de la couleur du ble.

    You can DEAL with this. It is WORTH it. It does not RUIN you in any way.

  • so proud of you ck…you’re actually saving laya’s butt by explaining her frustration at being cooped up with a newborn that is not hers and therefore can seem like an annoying little alien. but oh! having a child is the most wonderful thing…and I was definitely not the maternal type. It wasn’t the hormones that hit, it was love. Ok, that was cheesy.
    Laya, you better not be talking about my wonderful child and nefew…and after spending so much time with them how can you not love all the wonderful things they do and do for others…
    And what about this new wonderful baby that has inspired all this bitterness…doesn’t he deserve a chance to prove himself in this world? Mazal tov, and what a beautiful name!!
    ck…so moved by you, miss you already!

  • JM,
    Have you ever heard of women dying during childbirth? What about the birth accidents that cause disorders like Cerebral Palsy. What if you have a child that is not completely healthy in someway. A committed Jewess can decide whether she wants to deal with these kinds of possiblities in her future or whether to choose against having children. What happens if it’s going to ruin your career? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…individual Jewish women are not responsible for repopulating after the Holocaust, they are only responsible for living their best life and contributing to the Klal in the way that suits them best.

    By the way, I still remember my Bas Mitzvah Haftorah from the book of Judges about Yiftach the Giladee who sent his daughter off to party before he had to sacrifice her…and we complain about the Palisteneans????

  • It’s more important for a woman to have children, if this is a normal process, than to worry about her career, which is a silly point, as it is legislated that there is not to be such discrimination. I have known some women who did not even take maternaty leave. Those who can afford to, they bring in an Au pair. This is often a person who not only looks after the babies but also cleans the house and shops, and does many errands.
    In the long run, I believe that most women who did not have children conciously are very unhappy about this choice. I saw an interview once w/ Stevie Nicks, she said this as much. That because of her career, children were not possible. She did not elaborate as many entertainment persons have had children, but when she said this, it was a very sad moment, she was almost crying. I have always loved Stevie Nicks, she got me through many lonely days and nights. I should see about getting some of her old songs. Joanie Mitchell as well.

  • oh my god, i never thought i’d see the day, but i agree with chutzpah completely. just like it is not the duty of every jewish man to die for Israel if he doesn’t want to (but toda la’el for those who were and are willing to). we are individuals after all.

  • Not so fast Ofri, if a Jewish man lives in Israel he should abide by their military service laws; just like if a Jewish man lives in the U.S. he should pay his taxes and abide by the laws of the United States. A woman’s right to chose or refuse to reproduce is an entirely different issue than military service.

  • that’s who that comment was directed to, but they are too busy learning and praying to listen.

    Shout out to my Landlord….if I die in a fire caused by the illegal apartment you installed over mine, having the whole friggin kollel learn in my memory doesn’t make it better.

  • The reason that was given was about the poop that the babies make. This is not a valid reason not to have children. And there is a need to build the population. In practical terms, if people are dating and want to get serious, this issue comes up, suppose the man wants to have a family, and his sweetheart says no, not happening, she has to explain why. THis is polite and civil.

  • What about the simple obligation to give back what was given to you? Your mommy got up in the middle of the night.

    We are tougher than you think. I am woman, hear me roar, remember? What are we, wimps?

    As for the assorted tragedies and woes, they are not common. “The odds are way with you” said a doctor.

    Chutzpah is a totally passionate, adoring mother. She just gets busy and a little stressed. But Chutzpah, don’t scare the young. It’s not considerate. Shouldn’t they have your joys too? A little spit-up hasn’t killed you, obviously.

    Oh the woe of it all. Woe is me. Oy gevalt.

    Oy.

    Yes, it is a lot easier with two parents and Chutzpah’s husband couldn’t deal with it which is unfortunate.

    But our men are men.

  • THere are many factors to consider when one considers divorce. Obviously, this is all hindsight here, you know, that lot looks like crap don’t buy it.

  • (Anybody who thinks the rigors of child-bearing and childr-rearing compare in the slightest degree with being shot at in the military has never been in the military, G-d help us, are we spoiled, Oh Lord. When you bring up children no one is actually TRYING to hurt or bother you in any way. The enemy are armed with real bullets not spit-up, Gloriosky in the proverbial morning.)

  • Jobber, My yom haatzmaut post was about how celebrating Israel in the diaspora was like celebrating a sport you don’t play, but that’s a far cry from saying all jews should make aliyah, or all jews should have a million babies whether they want to or not.

    Tanya, no, OF COURSE I don’t mean yours, its everybody else’s stinky little rugrats I’m talking about.

    Jewish Mother…I am not even going to attempt to address.

    Tachliss, children are high maintenance, selfish little aliens with no concept of any one else’s needs. If you recognize that and want one any way, i take my hat off to you. I think it’s great and may they always bring you joy. However, I absolutely do not think you should have one unless you want one, it isn’t fair to either of you. Now hasn’t this post gone on enough?

  • Laya could make a fine Mom, if she ever wanted to, on another day. In her own way, in her own time.

  • JM,
    “The Young” need to be scared because they are under so much pressure to reproduce that the concept of free-will in this regard has been taken away from them. Just saying that women have a choice that should be looked at from all angles. That’s what Helen Reddy would’ve wanted. If my daughters didn’t give me grandchildren I’d probably put some guilt and pressure on them, but then I’d stop and still be just as proud and love them just as much. Ok. If I had the last word this post is enough.

  • Laya, the tone of that Montreal post was very negative towards those in Montreal & other places who stay there and not move to Israel.If you had a proper search engine I am sure I can find the post about Aliyah that you have made.
    Of course it is all a personal choice but the reasons you are giving are non sensical, that they are ‘selfish little aliens’, this is not a valid reason not to have them. Especially as this is a Jewish website and this is one of the foundations of the religion, the family, pru urvu, be fruitful and multiply, so I wouldn’t just toss that one out like a wet diaper.

  • Jobber, don’t read into it more than is there. I can be critical of diaspora jewry, I can love Israel, I can advocate Aliyah and yet still not believe that all jews should move here. B does not necessarily follow A, although it might for others. That’s what I mean about complexity. I would thank you not to lead other commenters into thinking I believe things I do not.

    Pru urvu is an obligation only on men. You may think my reasons are “non sensical” but at the end of the day, if you don’t want one, you don’t want one. I may one day decide I do, but today is certainly not that day.
    Aliyah, like babies, is great, if & when you want it.

  • Pressure to have children??? Are you dreaming? Yesterday, I asked a middle-aged woman if her 26-year old nieces were, maybe, getting around to thinking of getting married? We were starting to be buddies; this was a fellow yenta; the question was not too personal. She shot me a quick look that would have taken the paint off a car. Was I MAD?? the look said. At 26?? After making a vicious suggestion like that about her dear nieces, she will never like me now.

    Today, if a youngish person states, in carrying tones, among family and friends, an interest in marrying – with the implied consequence of children – he, or she, will get plenty of negative reaction. It will be couched sweetly and nicely, but it will be negative. You’re too young! Don’t you know this is only something you do if you just can’t resist the pull of fate, like becoming a poet or painter?

    That’s what I see when I look around. It’s not the old days anymore.

    26 is not an infant! It’s not 21! These nieces are grown women.

    If they meet the guy tonight, it would take a year to get engaged, another year to organize a 400 person wedding, another year to see if they liked being married, and another year to produce the first baby. That takes her to age 30. Which is ok, but it’s not exactly early morning at 26.

    And that’s if she meets him tonight.

    Ahoy ahoy. Where are the voices in cyberspace from 39-year old women, fine-looking accomplished women, who wish they had done things differently and have the guts to admit it? Who secretly resent all the bad if well-meaning advice they were given in the past about having “pleeeeenty of time” when they in fact did not have “pleeeeenty of time”, oh woe.

    Everybody is too nice. Complain a little. But about the right things!

  • Here’s something ugly: the baby boomers are DAMNED if they will get old. But: becoming a grand-parent implies hard that you are old. It also makes you marginalized. You are the retired athlete, who yammers on about the games from the sidelines. You are not looking fabulous running down the field. It is now somebody else’s turn to do that. You are not the star any more.

    This is a terrible accusation, but, subconsciously, there may be middle-aged parent types out there who keep their 20 and 30 year old children from taking that grown-up next step for not such nice reasons.

    And, grannies are saddled with helping. Maybe they don’t want those burdens.

  • In my original plan, which was to say, when I was 17 or so, I would have been married at 25 or 26, knocked up by 28, cool mom at preschool by 30.

    As you know, this plan did not come to fruition, not because I was lackadaisical in my approach to dating but because the prospects just weren’t there. At 34 now, there is CERTAINLY pressure to marry and move the Jewish people along already, but as I’ve said before, here and other places, I’m not willing to settle for someone who doesn’t “do it for me” on whatever level. I don’t think it’s unreasonable or unrealistic.

    And at a certain point that decision to wait may impact my fertility, I’m aware of that. All too aware of it, as my friends go through treatments or marry someone unsuitable, afraid that their chances for children are vanishing.

    But mine is a different story from the one here. Perhaps at 23, I might have felt the same way as Laya does in this post. At 23, children hated me (it’s true–I’m actually in the middle of writing about this), and I can only assume that they were responding to some sort of fear and contempt–that they were changing their parents, my friends–they were perceiving in my interactions with them. It’s a different story now.

    The pressure to marry and procreate has always been there, coming from parents, society and self. I much would have preferred to have found a life partner by now, believe me. But without that, the imperative to procreate seems less realistic and attainable to me than the imperative to write a book, because I’m much closer to having an agent and a publisher.

  • So, people pressure you to NOT do this at the time when it would be easier, both physically and socially, at 26, and, then, later, they pressure you TO DO it at 34, when it is no longer all that easy? Nice. Thanks. Great.

    Sometimes the right person is not there, as you say. I was just mentioning the universal negatives. Not to tangle with anybody’s mama, but Laya’s mom could have said, “you’ll get yours when it’s time, don’t worry”, instead of, “don’t succumb to peer pressure”. The flavor was not positive. The pressure is internal: it is merely reality whispering in Laya’s highly intelligent head, hey toots, this gets haaaarder later. Laya is no fool. She knows the story. It’s not a pretty story. So she is fidgety and conflicted. Her mom says one thing, and what she observes and knows says something else. And then there is this squalling kid who is not hers. All noise and no fun. Ouch.

    Look, people should do what they want and have a nice day. I was just pointing out some unacknowledged stuff, or thought I was.

  • It is horribly unreasonable what people expect of women! First, be very clever and accomplished, and then, get a nice man when you have established yourself in a career, and make a sweet family. And when you’re finished doing that, bring in the dog and put out the cat. Yackety Yack. Anything else??? Is it OK if I don’t find a cure for cancer? Or establish world peace?

    But just let a young woman make a low salary, and marry some fellow who isn’t a genius either, and they work at making it come togeter. Oh, the scorn! “That’s all you are doing with your fine mind? You should at least spend a decade running around helping others, to prove you are neither selfish nor stupid. Oh the shame. I raised you to be CONCERNED. And ACCOMPLISHED. All you can do is marry?”

    I am not sure this fair.