A Little (or a Lot of) Respect

According to the US Census, 44.6% of women between the ages of 15 and 44 are childless. Nearly half of those women who earn $100,000 or more do not have children. When I think of my five closest friends, 80% are childfree.

I’d like to believe that we live in an age in which all women’s choices can be respected, yet I realize that viewpoint is rather idealistic. There is still the presumption that heterosexual women should get married and have children – in that order. For some women, that is the path of their choosing, while for others, it isn’t.  I hope for the day when being single after 35 or married without a child doesn’t evoke confusion or judgment.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about women’s choices and the need to respect the spectrum of options regarding relationships and family. As excited as I am to be expecting, I approach pregnancy with more pragmatism than sentimentality.  I attribute that approach to a combination of my age and health experiences.

How have I approached pregnancy thus far?

"+1:" When friends ask how the three of us are doing, I respond as follows:

The Man, Flake [my dog] and I are great! Thanks!

I smile when friends refer to their babies-to-be as their “+1s” or any fraction thereof. But, I feel more comfortable saving the use of the term, “+1,” until she’s here. I’m thankful that she’s growing as she should be, but if she doesn’t keep growing inside of me, she can’t survive outside of me.

Sonogram Photographs: If you’re a regular reader, you know a lot about me. (At times, you might have found out far more than you’d like to know!) However, I won’t be sharing any sonogram photographs or as I refer to them, “placenta pics.” In the early stages of pregnancy, I think that the baby-to-be looks like a tadpole. In the latter stages, 3-D and 4-D technology creates some images that I find to be off putting.

“Mommy” and the Baby’s Name: I look forward to being a mom in four-and-a-half months, but I don’t feel comfortable when people call me “Mommy.” Likewise, although we’ve picked out a name, we’re not sharing that with anyone until after she’s born. (I appreciate that this pregnancy is a miracle, but I don’t want to tempt fate!)

Shopping for the Baby: I’m halfway through my pregnancy this week and haven’t bought one piece of baby clothing or any items for the nursery yet. I’ve said that I won’t begin to shop until she’s 24 weeks since that’s the stage at which she’s potentially viable. (Again, I’m not tempting fate!) In addition, there’s such excess when it comes to baby products. The world will go on if I don’t have a Diaper Genie or the perfect wallpaper trim when we come home from the hospital. I can’t get overwhelmed about the small stuff.

Online Resources: Once a week, I go onto one pregnancy website for a few minutes to read what's going on with my body and the fetus. Beyond that, I have neither the time nor the inclination to be inundated with information about my pregnancy. If my doctor says that all is going well and I feel good, I say a prayer of thanks and hope for more of the same at my next appointment.

I appreciate that I’m in the minority as to how I view being pregnant, and I would never tell someone else how to react to the experience. I’ll continue to respect whatever choices my friends make, regardless of which boxes they check off on a census form or how they view pregnancy and motherhood. At the end of the day, I  hope and pray that my friends are happy and healthy, and I'm thankful that they hope the same for me.

A Turquoise Giveaway

The dog days of summer mean that it’s the perfect time for a great beach read…and giveaway!

In her newly released book, Turquoise – A Love Story, Ayshe Talay-Ongan digs deep into her own life experiences to pen this high-impact novel which spans two decades, three continents and two marriages. She says the novel is written to entertain and inspire both women and men in quest of genuine love who struggle with the roles and expectations heaped on them by societal context or circumstance.

Released earlier this year, Turquoise is the story of an enduring and passionate love affair between a Turkish woman and psychologist Yasmin, and Renan, who is the husband of Yasmin’s school friend, Ani, both of whom are of Armenian origin. Upon laying eyes on Renan for the first time, Yasmin is inundated with the knowledge that she has come upon her destiny, and falls deeply in love. The challenges ahead of her loom, not the least of which is loyalty to her friend, the ethnic divide, political and socioeconomic turmoil, or immigrating from the country of their birth when the going gets tough.

Dot Whittington, the reviewer for The Weekender says, “Turquoise is not a simple romance but a tale of passion and love – the love of a child, a job, two countries and a man.”

Yasmin moves through the years with professional achievements, entrepreneurial ventures and travels, friendships, relationships and a quest for motherhood in a love-starved marriage. Turquoise also explores the violent consequence of historical and cultural contempt, which impacts Yasmin and her family above and beyond the story of unrequited love and family loyalty. According to Wendy O’Hanlon of Acres Australia, “This novel is a strong comment on the evil of how all humans have such traits and some countries are more openly prejudiced than others.” She continues, “This is a big, powerful novel of love, angst, political unrest and ethnic hatred. The author has skillfully penned these pages so that the characters are raw and real, their emotions searing, their plight palpable.”

Dr. Ayshe Talay-Ongan is a psychologist and an emeritus academic. She is the author of three textbooks in developmental psychology. Turquoise is her first novel. Its sequel Emerald is currently under way. More information about the novel and author are available here.

I have to smile that I’m posting about this giveaway today, as there’s a reunion tonight in DC for all those who attended my high school in Turkey. For those of you interested in gemology or etymology, indicates that the word, “turquoise,” is probably derived from Turkey because the Turkish merchants and dealers took these gemstones to Venice for sale.

If you’d like to enter for a chance to win the book, Turquoise, just include your favorite gemstone in your comment.

You must enter by Friday, July 20th for a chance to win a hard copy or e-version of the book. Hard copies may only be shipped within the continental United States. The winner will be chosen via Good luck!

* Pursuant to FTC Guidelines, this promotion is being conducted without compensation.