Not quite two weeks ago I read an article by syndicated columnist Teresa Strasser (an Emmy-winning television writer, a two-time Los Angeles Press Club Columnist of the Year and a multimedia personality), that hit a nerve with me. It appeared in the Wintersville Scene on June 15.
I am pretty sure that anyone who read it was at least bothered by what she said. For those of you who didn't see it, I'll give you the short version. Her headline for the column said it all, "Baby No. 2: I'm just not that into you." From the minute I read that, I felt my blood pressure rise.
How can you not be excited about having a baby, even if it is "baby No. 2"? I get that she has a toddler to deal with at home, but come on. A new life is something to be excited about, to make new plans and do new things. I know women who are not able to have children and would love to have been blessed with one, let alone two. She is fortunate enough to be blessed with two. The least she can do is give a crap.
What did she say to make me upset? Well, here is part of her column.
"My last ultrasound photo is somewhere in my glove compartment, most likely covered in a light dusting of Crystal Light. My point is, that thing isn't exactly laminated right now. Sorry, Baby Number Two. It's not that I don't care about you. It's just that this is no longer my first time at the rodeo. There will be no shower in your honor. Your fetal photos will not be distributed to family and friends, nor will they even be regarded at all after the doctor pronounces you basically normal looking. I won't be investigating your tiny, embryonic face for my nose or my husband's brow or thinking it's amazing when you suck your thumb in utero. I mean, it is pretty cool, but mama has stuff to do now.
"Baby Number Two, while we're leveling with each other, you probably won't be wearing any new clothes. You will be crawling around in what were once your brother's pants. They will be lightly stained but otherwise clean and hygienic. I'm going to get the old Pottery Barn changing tabletop out of the garage and will seriously consider hitting it with some Pledge before sticking it back on the dresser in your big brother's room. You may or may not go to Mommy and Me music classes and movies and discussion groups, depending on how lonely and bored I get.
"I'm not exactly nonalcoholic-wining and dining myself, either. No prenatal massages, no staring at myself in the mirror taking an endless series of baby-bump photos and slathering myself with expensive stretch mark cream."
Why would you say such things to your unborn child? AND put them in print. This poor little boy may see his mother's words in the future and what will he think? Like any normal child, he'll probably think she didn't love him or maybe didn't even want him. Maybe he'll think Mommy wanted a little girl. I can only guess at what this precious baby will think, but I know what I think, and it's not very nice.
I was told that MAYBE she was just trying to be funny. She missed that mark completely in my book. Not a thing she said was the slightest bit funny. I did not laugh. I did not snicker. I did not even smile as I read the words she wanted to be printed across the nation.
(Letusick, a resident of Rayland, is a copy editor for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)