Media Reviews

Mamas on Bedrest: I Just Read “One Recumbent Mommy”

March 24th, 2014

One Recumbent Mommy Book CoverGreetings Mamas!!

Rachel Blumenthal, a former Mama on Bedrest, and a member of our community wrote a book called, “One Recumbent Mommy: A Humorous Encounter with Bedrest”.  First I must apologize to Rachel because she sent me a copy of the book about a year ago and in the course of moving I misplaced it. She was gracious enough to send another and after several more months, I am finally reading it and sharing my thoughts with you all.

First, I applaud Rachel for being so committed. When I was pregnant with my daughter and facing all my medical challenges, I most certainly didn’t have the where-with-all to do a daily blog. Yes, I have encouraged you all to monitor your journeys, but this is most certainly a case of “Do as I say, not as I do”. I admit that I did keep meticulous baby books and still keep journals for my kiddos now that they are in “this realm”, but during pregnancy-not so much. Rachel wrote daily about her hospital bed rest stay in a blog; all the quirky little nuances of the staff, the hospital itself, her rooms and the various schedules and tests have become this book.

One Recumbent Mommy is easy to read.  I find Rachel’s conversational style easy to read and pages are not crowded with tiny print. In fact, I really liked the layout of the book as each daily entry’s header is in bold print. She kept the entries short for the most part, so if you wanted to take the entries day by day, you could also do that. Some days she wrote more than one entry, but like I said, each entry was pretty brief so it was easy to read and keep up with what was happening.

I think the one thing that I missed reading the book was what Rachel and perhaps even her husband really thought about her bed rest experience. The entries were all very neat and tidy, grammatically correct with excellent politically correct word choices. But I never really got a sense of how Rachel really felt about being in the hospital or her baby’s life being in danger due to her incompetent cervix. She mentions that it is not fun, she mentions that she misses her 2 year old son terribly. But, and this may be semantics/word choice, I could never really get a sense of Rachel. I don’t know if it’s because she initially started the blog as a way to keep friends and family members informed of her status and didn’t want to upset them, or she is a very private person, but I got very little emotional response when I read the book. The only times I noted emotion was when Rachel spoke of her son and his visits. You could feel her love for him and how much she missed him. Also, Rachel was in the hospital over the winter holidays and she did a (for her) lengthy entry on a woman who had come with Christmas gift bags and how it was a bit off-putting because she is Jewish and no one really bothered to ask. That entry was the first time I really felt like I was talking to and hearing from Rachel. As is customary of her temperament (that which I saw) her word choice was kind and respectful, yet in this post, I could feel that something important to her had been “stepped on” and although courteous, she provide a subversive “Hey, watch it!” Even when she fainted when she had her cerclage removed, her recount is more of a soundbite than, “Wow, that was kind of weird” or “Wow, I was so overwhelmed that I fainted.” She gives a cheeky description of how her eyes rolled back and she shuttered a bit, but I don’t know how she-or her husband really felt about the incident. When Maya, Rachel’s daughter is born, we again get the highlights. Yet I do sense more emotion-much like when she is  speaking about her son. Rachel is a proud mama indeed! I’d like to get to know her better and I missed her in this book.

One Recumbent Mommy is a “nice” account about one mama’s journey on bed rest. It is well written, an easy read and very accurate. For my taste, I would have liked to have had a bit more “Rachel” in it and more meat on the bones. In a book that I think she intends to help other mamas on bed rest, to say, “Google it” when she has a procedure is not very helpful. I would have liked to get to know her better, to hear (perhaps) from her husband and to get a sense of the impact that this experience had on her and her family. My perspective is that this is the “public view” and quite frankly, I would love to have “the inside scoop”-especially as I have gotten to know Rachel a bit in our Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond Community. If you are a mama on bed rest and looking for what you may encounter if you go on hospital bed rest, this is a good book to read. But if you are a mama on bed rest looking for ways to navigate the myriad of emotions-loss of control, fear, anxiety, uncertainty, and really hear from a mama who has been there, I don’t think this is the book for you.

You can order One Recumbent Mommy: A Humorous Encouner with Bedrest from Rachel Blumenthal directly or at Amazon.com.

Mamas on Bedrest: “Expecting”-A Film Review

November 25th, 2013

Expecting_final-300x445‘Expecting’ delves into the lives of two best friends, and how an unborn child influences their relationship.

This is the “quick description” of the film by Tribeca Films. The full description would be (In my opinion),

Expecting is a film about two friends, BFF’s, in a very unbalanced relationship. Andie is a complete and utter airhead. Some would call her a free spirit, but she moves about aimlessly, acts impulsively and turns to her tried and true, steadfast friend Lizzie to haul her fat out of the fire whenever she gets herself into one of her many jams.

Lizzie is everybody’s friend. She goes out of her way to smooth the waters, making everyone feel comfortable-except for herself. Married to Peter, a struggling real estate agent in L.A., all Lizzie really wants is to have a family. Unfortunately, she is unable to get pregnant-even after multiple cycles of IVF. 

When Andie becomes pregnant after a one night stand, she offers to give the baby to Lizzie and Peter to raise. This begins the complicated downward spiral of not only this friendship, but Lizzie’s world. Trying to keep the peace between Andie and Peter after Andie moves into her home for the pregnancy, Lizzie does all she can to make everyone happy-except for herself and pays a tremendous price for her efforts. 

This was a difficult film for me to watch. As a former health care practitioner, someone who once worked in a fertility clinic (Yes, I was a sperm counter!!), and a mother of 2 children I immediately saw the complications that would arise from this “arrangement”. Fertility is a tricky situation and a woman’s desire to have a child will drive her to do all sorts of things. I think the film showed this side of Lizzie fantastically. There are all sorts of ethical, legal, emotional and moral considerations that must be considered when a ‘surrogate’ situation is undertaken and I think the film completely missed this aspect. (Or purposely ignored them to make the magnitude of the situation greater!) Perhaps the film sought to show that the friends believed that their friendship would surmount everything. But for me, because of my background, I found this stance ridiculous and that made the movie somewhat unbelievable for me. I found it hard to believe that at no point while considering this arrangement, one of the “adults” involved didn’t say,

“Okay, let’s get some professional advice here and see how to do this.”

Lizzie and Peter had been in counseling and yet, they didn’t even think to bring this up! (But their dysfunctional relationship had issues that also contributed to the mess of this dilemma.)

So while I found the story somewhat unbelievable (remember my perspective, though), I did like the cinematography. The views of LA and the filming were excellent. I also think that whoever did casting did a fantastic job. I thought each character was perfectly cast and each actor/actress did a great job bringing their character to life in a believable way.

Expecting is an acceptable film, a “chick flick” as some would call it. If you are looking for something lighthearted and entertaining, this will work. But if you are looking or something more substantive, especially dealing with the nuances of friendship and fertility, you might be a bit disappointed