#578 again + Once I Was Cool

Once I was Cool Cover
My friend wrote a book! My friend…wrote a book! My friend! Wrote a book!

Reading comments, I realize I sorta whiffed the question on telling parents about a pregnancy.  Redo:

1. Most importantly: Tell anyone you feel comfortable telling in whatever way you feel comfortable at whatever stage you feel comfortable telling them. This was the piece missing from the original response, and it matters. It matters a lot. I am sorry.

2. Delay telling (i.e. inviting opinions) from people who are known to be judgmental and crappy until there is something more concrete to tell. Parents who don’t think you should even be married definitely don’t need to know about the “trying” stage. But a good friend or a close family member might be a great support through the “trying” stage.

3. Use the “Miss Manners rule” of announcing good news with the enthusiasm you’d like it to be received. “We’re so excited to let you know, we’re having a baby!

4. For the LW’s judgy parents, a phone call or a greeting card sounds like a great way to do it. Postal mail-that-is-not-a-bill is exciting to receive and thoughtful to send. It takes the pressure off the parents to make the correct face or noises in the moment, and takes some anxiety off the shoulders of the expecting couple. Plus you can seed the entire family at the same time. You can’t control if the parents will call you with “LOL WUT” but you can save yourself experiencing that in person.

Thanks for all the pregnant folks and parents who set me straight in the comments section.

If anyone needs me today, I’ll be reading my friend Megan Stielstra’s new book of essays, Once I Was Cool. It is really, really good so far, if you like that sort of thing, and if you like reading this site I bet you do. She’s going to be reading at Story Club next week, if any other Chicago people want to head there with me. June 5th, The Holiday Club on Irving/Sheridan, get there by 7:00 if you want anything resembling “a seat.”

13 thoughts on “#578 again + Once I Was Cool

  1. I will totally check that book out because dear goddess I love personal essays from women that I can kinda identify with.

    Also, Captain, its always good that you can admit your mistakes. The fact that you’re willing to call a redo and recognize you’re not perfect over matters big and small is one reason I continue to read and recommend.

        1. She is also my friend. ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

          Write personal essays? Like listening to personal essays read or told aloud? CHICAGO IS THE PLACE.

      1. That one is next up on my list! Which leads me to the not-exactly-new realization that a significant amount of my reading material, internet or non, is in some way connected to this blog. Craziness.

        Thanks for creating a fucking amazing place, Captain.

      2. I looooved Meaty (my boyfriend bought it for me for Christmas after I squeed over seeing it in a book store) Read it! It is funny and sad and wonderful. Also I am currently rereading all of the bitches gotta eat archives 😀

  2. I recently bought Megan Stielstra’s book too, and I’m SO EXCITED. I’ve read essays and such of hers around the internets (which possibly started from someone linking her here? I don’t remember.), and always enjoyed them. I also am a sucker for personal essays. I keep meaning to read more fiction, but right now I’ve got both “Once I Was Cool” and “The Empathy Exams” (amazing, by the way.) loaded up on my kindle, and several more such collections on my amazon wishlist… I can’t stop.

    1. I’ve linked Channel B (relevant to new small people discussions) in the past, so maybe here? Enjoy the book! The Empathy Exams is on my list as well.

      1. Yup, that was definitely it, thanks for reminding me! Great essay, that one.

        The first essay in The Empathy Exams was online (http://www.believermag.com/issues/201402/?read=article_jamison#.U4YgLPldUl8) awhile ago, and it absolutely knocked me over. As a person who is super sensitive to [by which I mean, in this case “aware of and affected by”, rather than necessarily “good at handling sensitively] the emotions of others, I’ve done a lot of thinking about the nature of empathy. Because that kind of innate sensitivity contributes to empathy, at times, but despite people describing that aspect of me as me being “empathetic”, that isn’t all there is to empathy. In fact, sometimes my being so strongly affected by emotions of others actually makes it harder to respond with true empathy, because I’m paying too much attention to my own experience, and not recognizing that the person I’m with is experiencing whatever it is in a fundamentally different way than I would.

        I don’t know if I’m making much sense right now, but the point is, that essay dissects all of that so brilliantly, with more clarity than I generally manage. She talks about the visceral, experiential side of empathy, and how that relates to the part of empathy that is about doing the work to truly put yourself in someone else’s shoes. About how sometimes, what you need most is actually someone who isn’t IN the experience with you, but is a calm, steady presence anticipating what you need to hear.

        It’s brilliant stuff, truly. I’ve read it twice now, and I will probably be chewing over it for awhile yet.

        1. I READ THAT ESSAY and now I want to run around alternately just yelling and yelling at people to read that essay.*

          *Will not actually do this.

  3. Yeah, I kind of realise in retrospect I, and perhaps other commenters, attempted to express “you’re not obliged to tell your mum, especially if you don’t want to and you don’t think she’d react great, and there are some reasons you may want to keep early pregnancy and ‘trying’ to trusted Team You members only” but expressed more “YOU MUST KEEP QUIET THEM ARE THE RULEZ”. Mea culpa.

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