Friday, January 30, 2009

Guest Blog -- by Rochelle Jewel Shapiro

My father wanted a boy. Unfortunately, he had three daughters instead. When I, the third daughter, was born, he said, "Another girl!" He lost his voice for six weeks.

Maybe it was better than what he might have said if he could speak. They waited seven years to try again, because they thought that seven was the magic number that would change their chemistry and their luck so that they could finally produce a son. And it worked, probably coincidentally. But my mother was forty-two by then and in 1954, that was considered quite late for motherhood. But my oldest sister was sixteen. Rumors shot around the neighborhood that my brother wss really her illegitimate child. My big sister was mortified.

And my mother had her consequences as well.

"What a young grandmother," people would say to her.
"No, I'm just an old mother," she'd tell them sadly.
And then people would snicker crudely. "By your age you should know how not to get knocked up," a man in a hardware store whom she didn't even know said.

My mother would sit up in her grave and applaud if she knew how many women today are having children over forty and even later. And she would be thrilled to know how much you support each other. It's better than wearing ear plugs as she'd threatened to do so that she wouldn't have to hear the remarks that people were so free to make back then.

Rochelle Jewel Shapiro is the author of Miriam the Medium (Simon & Schuster) which is selling in the U.S., the U.K., Belgium and Holland. Her essay, Ess Ess is just out in Feed Me: Writers Dish About Food, Eating, Weight, and Body Image. (Ballentine Books, 2009)

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