Saturday, September 27, 2014

On an Orange Squash

Note: Here's a little piece I wrote for my creative writing class recently, inspired by 19th-century essayists like Lamb, Chesterton, and Beerbohm. It's meant to be sarcastic, even if it doesn't manage to be funny, so please don't take it too seriously.

Over the last few years, the fall season has brought with it a new crisis: the Pumpkin Wars. Everyone must take a side; either you love pumpkin, or you don’t. And if you’re on the “don’t” side, then you must not only pass on seconds of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving; you actually must take a strong stance against all things pumpkin.

Of course, this isn’t about pumpkin pie. Pumpkin pie, we all agree, is a harmless, unimpressive Thanksgiving staple. Even the pumpkin lovers aren’t necessarily that interested in pumpkin pie. It’s the other pumpkin things that spark debate. Pumpkin bread. Pumpkin muffins. Pumpkin cheesecake. Pumpkin butter. Pumpkin chocolate, hot cocoa, air freshener, candles, coffee.

I must admit I’m on the pro-pumpkin side of the argument. I’m the nut who waits for pumpkin all year long and then attempts to drown in it for the three months it’s available. I roast and puree my own pumpkins and keep bags of puree in my freezer. I try to sneak pumpkin into every possible dessert and, hey, even breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

(A couple weeks ago, I read on a food blog that in fact it’s not the flavor of pumpkin itself that people like, it’s the spices that tend to come with it--cinnamon, cloves, allspice. I am so determined to disagree with this notion that I adamantly refuse to even consider it. If I’m wrong, I’m happy to cling to my ignorance.)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Why we need to stop praising the early pregnancy announcement.

Have you heard the news? One of the infamous Duggar kids, from the show "19 Kids & Counting," has announced her pregnancy early, before the typical 12-week wait.

In general, people seem quite proud of her. Some pro-lifers have declared that she is making a bold step toward recognizing the life of a fetus as a real human and not just a ball of cells. Some have simply lauded her ability to be optimistic and enjoy the pregnancy.

In the face of all this praise, I feel like it might be appropriate to talk about the other side.

When I was in my first trimester of my current pregnancy and had only announced my pregnancy to family, a dear family member told me about a friend of hers who had always announced her pregnancies right away because she didn't want to diminish her own joy by being pessimistic. This family member meant well by this story, I'm sure, and she didn't outright say that my husband and I were doing the wrong thing to wait, but I was a little hurt by the implication that announcing early is better.

The fact is, miscarriage is real and extremely common; it's estimated that a third of pregnancies end in miscarriage. A third. I know many, many women who have suffered miscarriages. If you can't think of anyone you know who has had a miscarriage, they probably just haven't told you about it.

Of course, we all hope for the best. Of course, we all believe as hard as we can that the pregnancy will work out. But we can't know for sure--and pretending that miscarriage can't happen to you is not going to make any difference.