Saturday, September 10, 2011

Labor Day Weekend

Before this next weekend comes to a close, I want to write about my Labor Day weekend in NYC. First off--going somewhere with just my husband and one baby made me feel young and single again! We could watch movies! Go from Brooklyn to Manhattan and back several times in a day! We could stay up late and meet famous people! Seriously, life is so easy with just one baby. I hadn't realized how much I had adjusted to three small children until I spent three night away. It's the first time Eric and I have ever been away by ourselves (little Inga doesn't count!) since we started having kids.

We didn't even do anything super crazy. The whole fun was having so much freedom and quiet and discretionary time.

On Saturday night, we watched Midnight in Paris in lower Manhattan. My sister gave me a Fandango gift certificate, so the tickets were free. The film was fantastic--if you've ever studied the writers & artists in 1920s Paris (Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Dali, Stein, Baker, Porter, Picasso, etc), you'll absolutely love it.

We were the only people there with a baby. I didn't see anyone else under the age of 18, so we certainly got lots of stares. While the previews were running, I heard a very loud comment from a man a few rows back about "somebody bringing a baby to the show." It was totally obvious the comment was aimed in our direction. But I knew my little Inga. As soon as the movie started, I nursed her and she was out for the entire show. Not even a little squeak. So there, rude Manhattanite who assumed his evening would be ruined. I got lots of glowing comments on the way out of the theater about how angelic my baby had been.

On Sunday, I had a lovely breastfeeding moment. We attended services at LDS Park Slope Ward in Brooklyn. It's full of young families with small children. (Seriously, everyone was so stylish and hip-- pixie hair cuts, chunky glasses, slim 1960s-style suits...definitely different from my home congregation!) Anyway after the meetings were over, I was sitting in the lobby breastfeeding Inga with my top unbuttoned. No cover, of course. One of those uber-hip guys (late 20s, probably a father, skinny pants, closely cropped beard, thick-rimmed glasses, screaming "graphic designer") came up to me and said, "I'm so glad to see you breastfeeding openly!" He chatted about how he wants women to feel welcome to nurse openly, rather than having to hide in the mother's lounge. He said a lot of people still feel they have to use a nursing cover, even when they're in the mother's lounge. Crazy, huh? So that was a lovely moment.

I had a not-so-lovely moment on the metro, though. A man sat down next to me and started chatting amiably about Inga, throwing her smiles and getting her to laugh. He asked, "Is this your first?"

"No, she's my third?"

"Planning on having any more?"

"Hmmm, probably."

Then he turned from nice baby-cooing man to evil you're-what's-making-this-country-go-to-pot man. I got a lengthy tirade about how I should not have any more than three children, how if I had more than three, pretty soon we'll end up on welfare and our kids will be messed up and we will be miserable, since we obviously will not be able to provide for more than three children. This continued for about fifteen minutes. I just nodded and said yes and waited until we came to our stop. I mean, what can you say?

On Labor Day, we met at Karen's parents' apartment in the Upper West Side with other VIPs, including producer Elizabeth Mangum-Sarach (director of BirthFocus and blogger at BIRTH...from the backseat), Debra Pascali-Bonaro, and Kirsti Kreutzer & Anna Van Wagoner (from Where's My Midwife? and creators of Pregnant Mayhem). I had a nice talk with Ina May Gaskin, whom I've seen several times at conferences but never had the opportunity to meet in person until then.

Now, onto the BOLD event at the Museum of Motherhood--the reason for our NYC adventure. I arrived a bit frazzled, since the Metro ride from Brooklyn to the Upper East Side took quite a bit longer than it usually does. I nursed Inga as fast as possible (which is when this picture was taken), put on my high heels, and slipped into my seat just in time for the show to begin. It was a reading of Karen Brody's play. It was fully choreographed, except the actors had scripts. Several had memorized their parts, so much of the time it didn't feel like a reading.

I loved the play--full of real stories from real women from all walks of life. Women who chose elective c-section and loved them, women who had inductions and loved parts and hated other parts, women who had traumatic births and chose something different the second time around, women who stayed with their doctors even though they knew they should switch and women who switched providers to get the care they deserved.

I met Jill from The Unnecesarean ("Hey Rixa, I never realized you were so tall!" Jill is even taller, BTW), ICAN president Desirre Andrews, and more. Abby Epstein was there, but I never got a chance to introduce myself. I got to say some fun blurbs about my reaction to the play for the DVD they're producing.

During the play, Eric and Inga strolled around the neighborhood. Eventually he found a couch sitting on the curb--perfect place for Inga to nap. (Of course he hadn't worried about bedbugs at the time; let's hope they didn't pick any up from the abandoned couch!) After the filming was over, they joined us for the 5th anniversary birthday celebration. We got home a bit after 1 am and Inga was amazingly cheerful despite the late night and being dragged all over New York City.

Special thanks to chou and husband for letting us sleep in their living room!


  1. Not totally related to your post, but I recently had my own hipster moment at a birth where I was a doula.

    Older doula: "Placentas are magical."
    Young, skinny, OB resident with hipster glasses, straight faced and serious: "Totally."

    I'm excited that they are producing a DVD! Please let us know when it comes out!

  2. "I mean, what can you say?"

    Hmm, I probably would have said something along the lines of, "Don't worry, sir; unlike your mother, I plan to teach my children good manners" or simply, "What an incredibly rude thing to say to me."

    I'm pregnant with #4 and haven't gotten any comments like that so far, but am dreading the day...

  3. I got to see the play while 4cm dilated- 10 days before my son was born in 2010. It is awesome! I definitely will see it again and I am so glad you got see the reading with so many lovely people.

  4. I am the third of four children, and was raised in Houston, TX, where it is quite unusual for a middle-class caucasian family to have more than two children. My mom got a lot of looks and comments whenever she had all of us with her. She was occasionally asked, "Are these ALL your children?!" To which she replied, "Yes, and I worked hard for every single one!"

  5. You met Ina, that is wonderful!

  6. This continued for about fifteen minutes. I just nodded and said yes and waited until we came to our stop. I mean, what can you say?

    You say nothing, but instead get up mid-tirade and pointedly walk to the other end of the train car, like any other annoyed NYer would ;)

  7. I don't remember where you are from, but here in Mesa there are definitely no young hipster Mormon dads congratulating me for nursing openly in church! Your story does give me hope, though, that eventually that attitude will spread to "less enlightened" parts of the country.

    In all my years of nursing babies, I was the only one I ever saw nurse anywhere but the mother's lounge, to say nothing of uncovered! Around here, mothers leave Relief Society (the WOMEN ONLY meeting), go to the mother's lounge, use a cover, and turn their backs to the door while nursing.

    If they were smoking weed at church, they could hardly go to more trouble to hide it. What is the deal?

  8. "If they were smoking weed at church, they could hardly go to more trouble to hide it."

    Ha! And too true, unfortunately.

  9. I envy your NY trip! I grew up about 6 blocks from the Park Slope church building-- it used to be the longshoreman's union hall. When we started meeting there we used all these private offices with panelling and mirrors as classrooms. I'd say it's my home ward except that there are only about 10 people who are there now that were there when I lived at home.

  10. Rixa, glad you were patient with the subway crazy. It sounds like such a wonderful trip other than that moment, and an interesting opportunity. Our congregation is always distressingly hip, but beyond that, a wonderful place. Come again soon!


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