Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Call for Submissions!

As most of you know by now, I’m due to give birth in October, which, holy crap, isn’t that far away! I still have so much on my to-do list, like: choose a pediatrician, take childbirth classes, buy a crib, take a tour of the maternity ward at the hospital, decorate the nursery, plan a bris, decide if we want to hire a doula (and, if so, find a few to interview), pack a hospital bag, launder all the new baby clothes, and on and on. Sometimes I lie awake at night worrying about whether everything’s going to get done in time. But, really, this is all the easy stuff, isn’t it? The hard part comes after the baby gets here: the sleepless nights, the round-the-clock breastfeeding (if I can even breastfeed), dealing with surging hormones, and just trying to manage my time in an efficient way.

I’d love to say that nothing on this site will change in the months following my baby’s birth, but I know that won’t be true. I expect I’ll have to cut back on posting (but I’ll definitely still strive for at least daily posts), publish more “Your Turn” columns, and a few re-runs here and there; I hope you’ll understand. I’m also hoping some of you may be interested in helping to create some content to keep the site afloat during my partial “maternity leave.” To that end, I’m making a call for submissions. What I’m looking for are pitches for relationship-themed personal essays (around 500 to 750 words or so) and fun lists (please peruse this category to see the style I’m interested in), but I’m open to other suggestions, too. I’m also looking for a few guest columnists who’d be willing to tackle a question every week or every other week for 2-3 months. Maybe you’d even like to nominate someone (in the comments) for guest columnist. I’m all ears.

I’m sorry I can’t offer payment for your submissions or guest columns, but I can, of course, offer a byline and a link to whatever online project or website you might want to promote. I also hear from people who have contributed in the past that writing for DW is a fun time. Traffic averages around 16,000 pageviews and 6,000 visits a day, so this is a good place to gain a little exposure if that’s something you’re looking for.

Please send your submissions to me at wendy@dearwendy.com with “Submission Pitch” in the subject line. I will certainly try my best to respond to each and every pitch that I receive, even if I can’t use your idea/writing. If you’re interested in being a guest columnist, please choose a letter from the archives β€” or feel free to make one up β€” and write a sample response in your own style and voice. Again, I’m looking for guests columnists who can commit to at least two columns a month for about three months. As for other submission pitches, please just send your ideas and 1-3 writing samples (or links to writing samples). Please do not write anything new for this site since I can’t promise publication. I’m really just looking for ideas and samples right now. Thanks so much for your interest, and please feel free to pass this call for submissions along to any writer friends you may have (just be sure they familiarize themselves with the site a little bit before they pitch their ideas). Thank you!!

109 comments… add one
  • MissDre August 25, 2011, 12:24 pm

    I nominate Spaceboy for the guys column. Where is he at these days?

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    • SGMcG August 25, 2011, 1:08 pm

      Maybe work caught up with Spaceboy, like it does for me somedays. Pity. I still have his chart. πŸ˜€

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    • Britannia August 25, 2011, 12:33 pm

      I nominate Bittergaymark, Spaceboy, and Regina!

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    • Wendy August 25, 2011, 2:05 pm

      He’s been MIA for over a month. If anyone is in contact with him, please tell him he’s missed!

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    • TheOtherMe August 25, 2011, 3:52 pm

      I think he’s just logged in as someone else… LOL !!
      I always wonder if all the clever posts are from the same person with many identities πŸ™‚

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  • silver_dragon_girl August 25, 2011, 12:30 pm

    Not sure I’m remotely qualified (or desirable!) but I’ll probably send you a pitch anyway. Because I feel like this:

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    • TheOtherMe August 25, 2011, 3:55 pm

      That’s too cool !!

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    • Budjer August 25, 2011, 3:58 pm

      That dog gets freaking pumped up for food.

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      • TheOtherMe August 25, 2011, 4:00 pm

        OMG. I have to take a video of mine when someone’s at the door

  • Pinot23 August 25, 2011, 1:11 pm

    First, good luck on the next couple months, I love guest columnists!

    Second, I know I won’t change any minds on here, but circumcising a baby is so, so unneccessary, for health or religious reasons, in our modern times. It baffles my mind that female circumcisions are appauling and cause such an uproar, but everyday parents allow for their sons to have their penis mutilated.

    /end rant.

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    • ForeverYoung August 25, 2011, 1:40 pm

      I would like to refer you to the blog, STFUparentsblog.com. If someone asks for advice, that’s one thing. Otherwise stfu.

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    • Pinot23 August 25, 2011, 1:50 pm

      Alright, I guess I knew that would go over like a lead balloon.

      But, since I’m on the chopping block, I just want to point out that the AMA does not recommend circumcisions in all, or even most, situations. And that the benefits, as published by the AAP, are only regarded as “potential” benefits. And the risks of problems are real.

      I mean, why cut something up that is perfectly fine to start with??

      I already stated that I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind. I’m just reacting to what I read. And surprised that so many perfectly rationale adults have such irrational ideas about something as serious as this.

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      • Kim August 25, 2011, 2:07 pm

        Regardless of your opinion on the matter, circumcision is a personal decision to be made by the family. The time/place to go on a soap box about circumcision is not a post by an advice columnist asking for reader help while on maternity leave where she mentions as PART of a sentance having a bris for her baby. That just comes off as judgemental/rude and out of place. Many of us want to offer our support for Wendy as she starts this new stage of her life and comments like this detract from the supportive enviornment many would like to foster for her.

      • MissDre August 25, 2011, 2:13 pm

        Pinot, for the record, I agree with you. But this is a personal decision and to each their own.

      • lets_be_honest August 25, 2011, 2:14 pm

        You’ve obviously never seen an uncircumsized member…YIKES!

      • Tanya August 25, 2011, 3:23 pm

        This is absolutely unnecessary.

      • lets_be_honest August 25, 2011, 3:32 pm

        Oh, for god sake, take a joke. Penises are ugly. IMO, uglier when not cut. Get over it.

      • Tanya August 25, 2011, 4:09 pm

        Maybe you have the wrong penis πŸ™‚

      • SpaceySteph August 25, 2011, 6:06 pm

        Unnecessary was when Pinot decided to hijack this thread to insult Jews and anyone else who wants to/has a religious imperative to circumcise their kids, as well as anyone who has dealt with female circumcision by pretending the two are in any way equal.
        This joke, however, was funny and much appreciated in lightening the mood.

      • Lydia August 25, 2011, 3:26 pm

        Honestly, penises are probably never going to be very pretty, circumcised or no. But handjobs are so much easier with a little foreskin to work with. πŸ˜›

      • MissDre August 25, 2011, 4:14 pm

        Haha agreed.

      • soandso August 25, 2011, 4:57 pm


      • GatorGirl August 26, 2011, 9:30 am

        I find it offensive to bring up sexual acts. We should be supporting Wendy during this exciting and difficult time in her life…not bring up what type of penis is better for handjobs.

        Wendy, I support your decision and wish you the best of luck.

      • Lydia August 26, 2011, 4:54 pm

        Okay. I was responding solely to lets_be_honest on the matter of what penises look like – in a lighthearted manner, just like lets_be_honest’s original comment. I don’t really see how that is mutually exclusive with supporting Wendy? Of course it is up to her and Drew whether they will let their son be circumsized or not.

      • SpaceySteph August 25, 2011, 2:36 pm

        I just… I want to say something here but I’m not sure what I could say that would convey the offense I take to this statement “surprised that so many perfectly rationale adults have such irrational ideas about something as serious as this.”
        Maybe if I were a writer instead of an engineer I would have the words.

        Basically, and I write this as a Jewish woman, your suggestion that to follow the religion and culture I was raised with would be irrational is extremely offensive. There is more to the decision that the potential medical benefits, the aesthetic improvement, or anything else. Its also about heritage and belief and giving your child a sense of belonging and community in a crazy, fucked up world. Even if you think god is a mass delusion, connection to your ancestry and community is not.

      • Valerie August 25, 2011, 2:40 pm

        I totally 100 % agree with you. I wasn’t sure how to touch on the religious aspect either. I’m not Jewish, but I found that to be extremely offensive as well.

      • Quakergirl August 25, 2011, 3:01 pm

        THANK YOU. I was just going to say this. It boggles my mind that anyone thinks it’s appropriate to say what is “unnecessary…for religious reasons” when it comes to anyone else’s personal religious beliefs and traditions. That is so incredibly offensive I don’t even know where to begin.

      • katie August 25, 2011, 8:04 pm

        maybe they meant that following a tradition/cultural thing just because it’s tradition when its been proven its bad/harmful/immoral isn’t a good idea. i can get behind that…. i mean female genital mutilation, i would say, is a part of many cultures, but it really is bad, and so that is why there are movements to stop it being done.

        i dont think there is any evidence that circumcision is bad, i mean people have been doing it for how long now and we have done fine and so it just becomes the desicion of the parent.. the poor girls who get mutilated carry those problems for the rest of their lives. boys who are circumsized are, generally, just fine and live without any complications. there can be problems, like with any procedure, but as a whole i feel like its not really that big of a problem- very different then female genital mutiliation, for sure.

        i remember in california this year, or maybe last year, there was a group that tried to get a law on the ballot to outlaw any type of circumsicion.. i thought it was funny, because there is no way that would ever be made law.

      • spark August 26, 2011, 8:31 am

        Totally agree, SpaceySteph! I’m not Jewish and I’m not a fan of circumcision, but I do think that every parent is entitled to raise their kids how they want. I think religion, community, culture, tradition are important. And although I feel strongly against circumcision, I think that when it comes to someone else’s baby, that person’s religion, community, culture, and tradition always outweigh MY beliefs–and yours, too. This is Wendy’s baby and Wendy’s everything else to decide. I feel silly even commenting on it!

    • savannah August 25, 2011, 1:57 pm

      yikes….Pinot23…disregarding your apparent total lack of class when it comes to respecting the choices of parents I am gonna dip a toe into this hot mess (because I have no self control) and say that as someone who has witnessed both acts you speak of your total and complete lack of understanding about the differences between them (settings, age, facilities, reason, supervision, aftercare, supplies, skill, information…i could go on) is what is mind baffling.

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    • EB August 25, 2011, 2:07 pm

      I’m sorry did you seriously liken male circumcision to FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION??!?!?!?!


      If you see these as one in the same you definitely have a few screws loose

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      • honeybeenicki August 25, 2011, 3:53 pm

        It seems a lot of people compare those as apples to apples in the to circumsize or not to debate.

    • Wendy August 25, 2011, 1:33 pm

      You aren’t the only one with a baffled mind at the moment.

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      • Kim August 25, 2011, 2:03 pm

        I’m baffled as well – your post left so much open to criticism. You’re giving birth in a hospital??? If your baby isn’t born at home, he will be born into trauma and be scarred for life. And you’re buying a crib??? Don’t you realize if you don’t have him sleep in your bed, he will never bond with you properly and will be scarred for life. And you’re going to launder his clothes??? I mean really, what loving mom would allow their child to wear an item of clothes twice – he will be scarred for life.

        I don’t see why we have to punish women for every decision they make about their child – even before the child is even born. Female circumcision is very different than male circumcision. While my husband and I personally decided if our child was a boy we did not want to have him circumsized, this is a personal decision that is best left to the family/doctors involved. And I’m assuming Wendy and Drew have thought this through and made the decision that’s best for their family. New moms have it hard enough without being jumped on for every decision they make. Personally, I get fed up with the judgement and lack of support I see all the time for new moms. Wendy – I think you will make a great/loving parent and I wish you the best of luck in the coming up months. I’m sure you will do the best job you can and whatever parenting decisions you make will be great.

    • Sarah August 25, 2011, 1:34 pm

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      • ForeverYoung August 25, 2011, 1:40 pm

        I second that nomination

      • EB August 25, 2011, 1:44 pm

        So on that note…I nominate Sarah!
        No but seriously I think Sarah would be an awesome guest columnist.

      • ReginaRey August 25, 2011, 1:37 pm

        As an aside, Sarah, I think you should offer yourself up for some guest columns. I enjoy your rants.

      • Valerie August 25, 2011, 1:41 pm


      • amber August 25, 2011, 1:45 pm

        i agree, i enjoy reading sarah’s comments as well!

      • Sarah August 25, 2011, 1:47 pm

        Haha! That would be so much fun! I don’t think I give out good enough advice like you guys do though.

      • ForeverYoung August 25, 2011, 2:07 pm

        I completely disagree. You’re like the most amazing mixture between ReginaRay (thoughtful, compassionate) and Bittergaymark (no crap, what the person needs to hear)

      • katie August 25, 2011, 7:49 pm

        i totally agree with this. totally!

      • SpaceySteph August 25, 2011, 2:09 pm

        Your column could be called Tough Love because thats exactly what you need. Some LW’s need it, its the only thing that will break through their fog.

      • SpaceySteph August 25, 2011, 2:13 pm

        Erm, exactly what you are.

      • silver_dragon_girl August 25, 2011, 2:27 pm

        Freudian slip? πŸ˜‰

        j/k Sarah!

      • Sarah August 25, 2011, 2:17 pm

        You guys are making me blush! Thank you for brightening my day!!

      • Wendy August 25, 2011, 2:11 pm

        RR, if you’re interested in guesting again, I’d love to have you. let me know.

        And, Sarah, you are a crowd favorite. There’s a spot for you in you’re interested.

      • Sarah August 25, 2011, 2:16 pm

        Haha! Wendy, thank you! I would love to!

      • Landygirl August 25, 2011, 5:48 pm

        Yay! Love your advice!

      • ReginaRey August 25, 2011, 2:13 pm

        Of course, I’d love to do it again! I’ll email you later this afternoon!

      • rachel August 25, 2011, 9:06 pm

        or he could just not have sex with hiv positive people. we’re not in africa

    • Valerie August 25, 2011, 1:40 pm

      While you might think it’s “so, so unnecessary for health or religious reasons,” I’m going to go with the peer reviewed literature:

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    • Budjer August 25, 2011, 1:41 pm

      I couldn’t imagine having to “unsheath” myself when I pee….and my mutilated member works just fine.

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      • amber August 25, 2011, 1:44 pm

        hah! your comment totally made me laugh out loud at my desk!

      • lets_be_honest August 25, 2011, 2:13 pm

        ahahahaha. hold on, honey, i’m trying to unsheath.

    • rachel August 25, 2011, 9:03 pm

      i strongly agree. obviously it doesn’t bother me if a man wants to get this done but i dont think parents should make such a high-impact and irreversible decision for their son, not to mention the brutality of the act on an infant. i try not to judge moms on other things, but circumcision is just too irreversible and too personal to the baby! there are a lot of articles (some written by men circumcised as babies) online if there’s still any chance you’ll spare the little one you should take a look… couldnt you have a naming bris without the actual circumcision? maybe just draw a ceremonious drop of blood?

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      • Wendy August 25, 2011, 9:07 pm

        Glad to hear you “try not to judge moms” too much. What’s your stance on judging dads?

    • DramaQueen224 August 25, 2011, 9:58 pm

      Umm, balanoposthitis, phimosis and paraphimosis are all medical issues that only occur when the child has a foreskin. There are risks to circumcision too, but future parents need to make decisions based on substantiated information, not someone telling them that they’re unnecessarily mutilating their child.

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    • Jena August 26, 2011, 1:29 pm

      not your baby, not your choice.

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      • XanderTaylor August 26, 2011, 5:31 pm

        Uhhhh I had my son circumcised twice. At birth, then when he was 2.5 he needed surgery for a hernia & the doctor that was doing that suggested that he fix his circumcision. This dr. felt it had not been done well & he was concerned that later in life it would be an issue for my son so he did a revision. Guess I am going to hell.

  • Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com August 25, 2011, 1:12 pm

    And Miles!!! Please do not forget Miles. I know we are all dying to hear his advice and read his about his (tragic) life post-baby.

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    • Budjer August 25, 2011, 1:53 pm

      Yea, if I don’t get that Miles rant I may just freak out.

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  • lets_be_honest August 25, 2011, 2:17 pm

    My unwarranted advice: Constantly remind yourself that no one is perfect (except your baby, of course πŸ™‚ ), you are doing your best and finally, children usually don’t retain memories before the age of 5. That last one helped me through a lot of my mommy-guilt, haha.

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    • lets_be_honest August 25, 2011, 2:17 pm

      hope that doesn’t earn me another stfuparenting…

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    • MissDre August 25, 2011, 2:58 pm

      I don’t know where you got the idea that children don’t have a memory before the age of 5… I vividly remember back to being in my crib. I also have several memories of my parents being together, and they divorced when I was 2 and a half. I remember being potty trained at that time too. I remember my mom going back to work when I was 3, and I remember my dad’s first apartment when my parents separated.

      I also vividly remember my 4th birthday party and how excited I was to be 4 years old. My brother also has many memories of our first home in the prairies and he was 4 when we moved to the city.

      So… yes. Children remember a lot from the time they are toddlers. Not everyone does, but many do.

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      • Quakergirl August 25, 2011, 3:10 pm

        Yeah, while I agree with the rest of the comment above, 5 is really very old for a child to start retaining memories. I have a ton of memories from before 5– actually, before 4 –that I am also certain are from then (we lived in a different house, in a different state).

      • Budjer August 25, 2011, 3:23 pm

        I’m not saying this is the case…but it could confuse collected data…my brother did a lot of work in college on brain behavioral / thought pattern / learnings (Brain and Cognitive Science was his major) and I remember him telling me that people create memories they think they actually remember based on stories and photographs and it’s more likely to happen the further back you are reaching.

      • lets_be_honest August 25, 2011, 3:30 pm

        yes, this.

      • MissDre August 25, 2011, 3:33 pm

        I’m sure that’s true in some cases, but I have always had a very vivid long term memory. And I also specifically remember my own thoughts and feelings about what was happening.

        Like hearing my parents fighting when I was two, and thinking in my head that they were fighting over who was going to dress me that day. And wondering why can’t mommy dress me today and daddy dress me tomorrow? And not understanding what was happening.

        I also remember being in my crib and my dad sleeping on the floor next to me. I remember worrying that my daddy would be lonely sleeping all by himself so I pushed all of my teddies out between the bars of the crib and onto the floor so he could have company.

        I also get random memories of certain people and certain situations from when I was a toddler, but I was too young to know what was happening. So I have to go to my parents and describe what I remember and get them to piece together what I must be remembering.

        My mind is weird though. I forget what happened yesterday yet I remember phone numbers and addresses and birthdays of people I haven’t seen or heard from in 20 years.

      • Quakergirl August 25, 2011, 3:52 pm

        That’s definitely possible in many instances and it happens to all of us at some life stage where we’re sure we remember something that either didn’t happen or where we weren’t present, but it’s definitely not true in my case. The memories aren’t necessarily long or vivid, but they’re for sure memories and not reconstructions. Some of them are of places that I’ve either never seen a photo of or have never been described to me in enough detail to construct a picture, and that I’ve never returned to, like the apartment we lived in for a few months when we moved. There aren’t photos of the place because it was just temporary. No one has ever told me what the place looks like and I can’t even remember what town it was in, but I distinctly remember sitting in the kitchen of this apartment and my dad making me a cup of tea in a blue bottly/sippy cup thing. I think I was probably about 4 when this happened.

        I definitely agree that memory construction happens, and I totally agree with lets_be_honest that no one’s perfect and parents shouldn’t aim for that, but as a parenting philosophy “they probably won’t remember anything before age 5” isn’t exactly foolproof.

      • lets_be_honest August 25, 2011, 4:26 pm

        No, no certainly not. I was mostly joking, mostly πŸ˜‰ I’m laughing to myself now thinking of all the what-ifs there could be if people really stuck to that philosophy as guaranteed…he/she won’t remember that I … so its ok! oh my!
        You’re bound to mess up. Once you realize that every single parent out there has screwed up at some point or another or wish they could go back in time and do X differently, it takes so much of that guilt off your shoulders.

      • lets_be_honest August 25, 2011, 4:30 pm

        For example, there were times I snapped and cried over split milk, well, yelled over spilt milk. You feel terrible about it, like you’ve failed your child by yelling over something so dumb. As a little consolation for yourself, you realize what you thought was a memorable, and horrible experience for your child, is in fact something they really arent going to remember.

      • Quakergirl August 25, 2011, 4:43 pm

        Yes, that’s definitely true. People with imperfect parents grow into well-adjusted, productive members of society each and every day. And honestly, most of it they won’t be scarred for life by, even if they do remember.

        I think one of the hardest parts of being an adult and starting to think about having my own kids is just learning to forgive my parents for not being the world’s greatest parents. It’s not even that they weren’t perfect, but I just don’t know that they were good parents. But you know what, they loved us and they tried. They did the best they could with the emotional tools they had, and we turned out okay. So even if I make mistakes, too, I’m pretty sure my future kids will be just fine.

      • Morgan August 25, 2011, 3:31 pm

        I have a number of memories from the first house we lived in, and we moved when I was just shy of 4. Certainly I have way more from when I was older, but i do have some of being younger. They are less well formed, and much shorter than memories I have from when I was older though.

      • MissDre August 25, 2011, 3:35 pm

        Yeah, that’s the thing. The memories are much shorter, and more about what I was feeling/thinking, but I definitely do remember being 2 and 3.

      • AnitaBath August 26, 2011, 12:45 pm

        I don’t know why you’re getting thumbed down for saying you remember things past childhood. I don’t care what people say, I know I have AT LEAST twenty memories (probably way more if I sat down and counted) from before I was five. I remember the plane ride to Florida just a few days before my second birthday. I remember the pool of the hotel we stayed at on my second birthday (there was a tile turtle at the bottom of it, and I thought it was real and was going to rise up and I’d get caught on it’s back. And when we revisited the place over my ninth birthday, I had to go down and touch the bottom of the pool to get over my fear of it, because it stuck with me). My great-grandma died when I was four, and I have a couple memories at her house before she got sick, of visiting her in the nursing home, of cleaning up her house after she died, and of my mother coming home after the funeral. I’ve never seen a picture of my great grandmas house, of the nursing home, and the tile turtle isn’t in any of our vacation pictures.

        People’s memories are different. It’s very presumptuous to claim that someone is remembering wrong, just because you don’t remember anything before five. I hear girls often have better memories than guys, and while a lot of men have trouble remembering things before five, women can remember memories from age 2 or 3.

      • AnitaBath August 26, 2011, 12:59 pm

        Oh, I also remember accidentally finding and popping in a porn video (presumably of my dad’s) when I was about three because I thought it was cartoons. I had no idea what the fuck was going on, and just thought the women were massaging the guy’s with their butt cracks. That image stuck with me for YEARS, and made me way more curious about stuff as a child than I should have been. Pray tell, how could I fabricate a memory of a porn video, when I had never seen anything like it or seen anyone have sex until a decade later? (Which, now that I think about it, is a GREAT way to mess up your child before the age of five)

        I remember a ton of dreams I had when I was a kid too, but I think that’s mostly because I always told people about them when I woke up so that they stuck with me.

      • Budjer August 25, 2011, 3:41 pm

        No matter how hard I think I can’t get past 5….I do remember being afraid to fall asleep around 6 or 7 because: “If I fall asleep how the hell am I going to keep breathing….”

      • lets_be_honest August 25, 2011, 3:51 pm

        I got my tongue pierced on the eve of my 18th birthday (for no other reason than to wake my poor mother up in the middle of the night and show her what I could do now that I was 18). I remember being afraid I was going to choke on it when I was sleeping so I was terrified of falling asleep.
        More on topic, I can remember one day of kindergarten, a few memories of turning 7, that’s about it though. Also, if you did any research on childhood memory development, it would prove true that MissDre’s memories are probably re-created and thus proving my point to be fact. (EDIT-I really did not intend for that to sound as bitchy as it did.)

      • SpyGlassez August 26, 2011, 11:39 pm

        Conversely, I have one memory dating to when I was about four, and none sooner. I know from other information that my parents fought a LOT when I was little, and I think I’ve completely forgotten everything before then as a defense mechanism.

    • Budjer August 25, 2011, 2:29 pm

      Other than a random big wheel memory and a couple glimpses of my early childhood home my earliest vivid memory is getting an Ace the duck action figure (TMNT FTW) for my 5th birthday….

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      • lets_be_honest August 25, 2011, 2:33 pm

        I am only thumbing up for the ace the duck reference. Nothing more, nothing less.

      • Budjer August 25, 2011, 2:32 pm

        Come to think of it I think I got that big wheel then too.

  • ncp August 25, 2011, 2:14 pm

    HIRE THE DOULA! DO IT! My doula at my first birth SAVED ME! And more importantly, she saved my husband! I don’t know what kind of birth you’re looking for, but I wanted a non-medicated, intervention-free one, and I got it, thanks to her! She was AMAZING! Even if you’re okay with the idea of medication, a doula will keep you calm, guide you through the decision-making process (so you’re getting it because you want/need it, not because you’re panicking), and generally be able to advocate for your wishes (mine stood up for me with the nurse who kept trying to make me lie down and be monitored for twenty minutes). Oh, and they know all sorts of pain-relief techniques and positioning that can help relax you and bring the baby down faster and more efficiently. Statistically, women who use doulas have easier labors, lower rate of interventions, lower rates of C-sections, and easier recoveries. A really experiences doula will even be there for you in case of an emergency C-section, and make that process easier for you and Drew as well. If you can afford a doula, and especially if you have an FSA in your health care plan, you should definitely hire one!

    And you WILL be able to breastfeed, unless you have some sort of underlying hormonal/physiological issue (or there is some issue with the baby). Something like 2% of women are PHYSIOLOGICALLY unable to breastfeed (due to insufficient glandular tissue, PCOS or other hormonal factors, etc.) If your body is able to create and sustain an entire human being for nine months, it’s not going to crap out on you as soon as the kid is out. Make sure you have plenty of support and experienced breastfeeding women who you can call on when you cna’t handle the 24-hour suckfest of clusterfeeds (pun COMPLETELY intended). If you have access to a lactation consultant, take advantage of her (make sure she’s an IBCLC with the roper credentials). GO to a La Leche Meeting while you are still pregnant and get to know the Leader. The women at LLL are extrelemy supportive and willing to help new moms be successful at breastfeeding. And it’s good to just hang out with other moms who breastfeed and hear what they went through and how they handled any issues that cropped up.

    Also, read this website:

    Wow, I wrote a novel there! Having good support during labor and delivery and for breastfeeding is crucial to being successful at it!

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    • MissDre August 25, 2011, 2:15 pm

      Wendy had a breast reduction when she was younger. She mentioned it in another column. That’s why she said *if*.

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      • ncp August 25, 2011, 2:23 pm

        Well, in that case, she should contact an IBCLC BEFORE she gives birth to discuss any potential issues that might crop up. It will also be a good idea to dig up her medical records from her reduction to make sure her milk ducts are intact. MANY, MANY women have been able to successfully breastfeed (some without any need for supplementation), after a breast reduction or enhancement.

        Also, another website for her: BFAR.org: Breastfeeding After Breast and Nipple Surgeries. I’m lucky enough to never have needed it, but I’ve heard that it’s EXTREMELY helpful. Kellymom.com also has many resources for women who want to breastfeed after breast surgery.

      • Wendy August 25, 2011, 2:23 pm

        That’s right. That’s why I don’t know if Ill be able to breastfeed. I won’t know until I try.

        As for a doula, I’m actually thinking more in terms of a postpartum doula to help with support in the days following the birth, after we bring the baby home. We won’t have family or anyone coming to help us, and I would love the support of a compassionate person who’s an expert at newborn care to show us the ropes.

        I’m so so happy with our new OB and new hospital that I’m not convinced we really need a doula at the birth. If we can only afford one at the birth OR postpartum, I’m definitely leaning toward postpartum. If I were planning a natural birth, I would probably feel differently about that though…

      • PFG-SCR August 25, 2011, 2:28 pm

        By the way, Wendy, I was a moderator on a breastfeeding forum for many years (in addition to nursing all of mine) so if you are struggling or just need to vent or whatever, please email me. πŸ™‚

      • Wendy August 25, 2011, 2:30 pm


      • Skyblossom August 25, 2011, 3:08 pm

        Someone to help after you get home is a great idea! You’ll be tired and sore and help is wonderful.

      • cdubs August 28, 2011, 4:45 pm

        I just recently had a breast reduction too (back in March). I actually remember reading your article about it on the Frisky while I was still deciding if I wanted to go for it or not πŸ™‚

        And breastfeeding is one of my concerns too. I’m not going to be ready to have kids for a few more years, but I really do want to breastfeed them when the time comes. If I can’t I know it’s not the end of the word, lots of people use formula and it’s just fine. But it’s definitely something on my mind.

        I’ll be curious if you are able to breastfeed or not, because if you can then maybe I’ll be able to too!

    • MJ August 25, 2011, 2:21 pm

      Seconding the doula love. My friend wanted a non-medicated, natural-as-possible birth, and her doula totally helped make that possible…but was also just there, as someone who’d been through it before and could help calm the nervous first-time parents.

      (The expense of hiring the doula was actually a shower gift from her parents, which I thought was awesome.)

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    • Skyblossom August 25, 2011, 3:16 pm

      When we were taking our lamaze class the instructor told us that our hospital had the lowest c-section rate in our state. That was because when the doctors would induce labor they would have the woman come in late in the afternoon the day before they induced labor and coat her cervix with a hormone that would cause it to soften (ripen) so that it could dilate during labor. Without the hormone many women (something like 50%) who have labor induced will end up having a c-section because they don’t dilate. Almost all of the women I know who’ve had c-sections ended up with them when they didn’t dilate during an induced labor. It would be worth asking your OB about this and if they don’t do this strongly encourage them to look into it and tell them you will expect this if they induce labor.

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      • Wendy August 25, 2011, 4:01 pm

        I’ll ask. But as an aside, I’m at risk for preterm labor for a variety of reasons including my recent infections. I’ve already had pretty serious contractions (during my first hospital stay), and as a result, my cervix is already “soft” and readying itself for labor. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed Baby holds out at least five more weeks until he’s fullterm. It would be ironic if he holds out so long that I have to be induced though!

      • Skyblossom August 25, 2011, 4:36 pm

        I hope both of you are able to hang in there and go full term! One of my cousins had contractions starting when she was only half way through pregnancy and was put on a drug to stop them. When she finally came off it they expected her to go into labor immediately and she didn’t and went overdue. You just never know.

        At least with the soft cervix you should have an easier and quicker labor. I hope it all goes well.

      • Francine August 25, 2011, 11:42 pm

        I know pregnancies aren’t all alike but thought I’d share that I was on bed rest for preterm labor starting in my 23rd week. I had already dilated to 3cm. At week 37 my doctor said it was okay to get up and move around and of course I did. My water broke immediately but those darn contractions wouldn’t start up again so I ended up being induced! After not much more than an hour of wicked contractions I was fully dilated. You just never know what’s going to happen so don’t be disappointed if it all doesn’t go exactly according to your birth plan.

        And just as all pregnancies aren’t alike, there’s more than one way to be a good parent. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about about the choices you make for your child.

    • katie August 25, 2011, 7:54 pm

      ok, i have never heard of a doula. can i get some insite because it sounds awesome- a person there dedicated to your own needs during a birth?

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      • landygirl August 25, 2011, 9:16 pm

        I had never heard of a doula either, so I Googled it.

  • TheOtherMe August 25, 2011, 3:44 pm

    Great. I leave for two hours and its “Dear Wendy gone wild” here… I’ll have to try to catch up later, (sniff) there are too many cool comments right now I can’t read them all πŸ™

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  • AKchic August 25, 2011, 4:28 pm

    Wendy – Take a deep breath. Exhale. Good. *laugh*

    From what I’ve read, you’ll be lucky to make it to full term. You won’t need an actual “crib” right away because he’ll be tiny. I would recommend that either you pick up a bassinet, or use a laundry basket at first. I’m serious, a laundry basket has been used by poor parents to keep as a temporary basinet (or a smaller one for premies) until a crib could be purchased. Wait until after you have him to find a real crib. It’s one less stress.
    As for washing the clothes. This is actually pretty simple. Dreft or Tide Free and Clear (or any “Free and Clear” type product) works best. I prefer Dreft, honestly, but that’s only because I used it for all four of my boys. His actual “clothing” should only equal one load. His receiving blankets, burp rags, sheets and bedding may take 2-3 loads. Any more than that and you have too much for the first week as far as bedding. Expect to wash burp rags daily. In case he is a “projectile vomiter” (think the Exorcist-style vomiting from a newborn), put a beach towel or two behind you on any chair/bed/pillow you are sitting on when you feed/burp, and one under you on the chair/floor/bed you are sitting on. Goddess, I wish I had known that when I had my first (at 16!).

    Your first priority, since you may be early, is to find a pediatrician. The pediatrician will want to see the baby in the hospital. Shots come quickly and early in a child’s life and you don’t want to get behind schedule. Fall/winter is also not a good time to not have a pediatrician for a newborn, especially one that might be premie. Colds can be more dangerous, and worse.

    Most importantly, Nature kicks in. Your hormones and instincts will start to take over. Both during labor, delivery, and after the baby is born. Whether you breastfeed or not (I didn’t) isn’t the deciding factor of good parenting. Your instincts will kick in and you will be a good mother because that is how Nature made us. We are the stronger of the species because we were intended to create, nurture, and ensure the survival of our race; in our own, individualized ways.

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    • SpyGlassez August 26, 2011, 11:42 pm

      I once babysat a preemie who was about 18 months. The parents told me on the way to their house that “it’s very common for preemies to projectile vomit.” I had NO IDEA. And indeed the little dear did start vomiting all over just after she was put to bed. It was a MESS to clean. She was freaking out, I was freaking out (had never seen this before….) somehow she got through it. She was a sweetie though and I loved babysitting her.

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  • Addie Pray August 25, 2011, 8:36 pm

    Man, this is what I get for working hard all day — I miss out on all the good comments. Can Drew be a guest writer? He’s pretty funny.

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    • Wendy August 25, 2011, 9:14 pm

      Oh yes!

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  • pinot23 August 26, 2011, 1:00 am

    I just wanted to come back and say I feel bad for blurting out my heartfelt but controversial opinion on what should have been an upbeat post. I honestly was just commenting on something I read… not trying to cause bad vibes.

    Sorry guys πŸ™

    Reply Link
    • Addie Pray August 26, 2011, 9:28 am

      Consider logging back on as spaceboy, and everyone will love you again. But you’ll have to come up with very witty comments.

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  • cookiesandcream August 26, 2011, 2:43 pm

    Hey Wendy!

    I saw the author of this book on a morning program, and I thought that you might want to check this book out:

    It’s called “The Digital Mom Handbook: How to Blog, Vlog, Tweet, and Facebook Your Way to a Dream Career at Home” by Audrey Mcclelland and Colleen Padilla. When the authors were on the show it seemed to apply to you, so I hope this helps out!

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    • Wendy August 26, 2011, 2:56 pm

      Cool, thanks.

      Reply Link
  • sassygirl1610 August 26, 2011, 4:34 pm

    Wendy, if you need something to cheer you up on one of those hard, tiring days, google cute things that kids say. It always makes my laugh in the middle of a quiet room and look like a fool but it’s worth it! πŸ™‚

    Reply Link

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