Before I leave the topic of my wife’s pregnancy and the massive changes that await my family, I just wanted to thank everyone for the warm, heartfelt mazel tovs, b’sha tovahs, and best wishes that I received online and off. It means a lot to us. As crazy as it may sound to some people, especially those who see the Internet as a tool for predators and sociopaths, I consider many of the people I’ve met through this blog a vital part of my community—additional branches of my dysfunctional family tree!
One of the many reasons why I don’t want to overdo the baby talk on here is because of the Jewish superstitions regarding pregnancies and babies. This has started to change, but did you know that Jews have traditionally shied away from having baby showers or bringing baby furniture or things into the house before their babies are born? They won’t even publicly announce the names they’re considering until the babies arrive. None of these tendencies have anything to do with Jewish law, they are all flat-out superstitions based on the fear that drawing attention to the unborn babies will tempt the Evil Eye. I wrote about this phenomenon a few years ago just after my sister-in-law’s baby shower. I mentioned that one of the worst things you could ever say to a new mother was something like “Wow, your baby is so healthy!” That’s akin to a death sentence, a challenge to the Evil Eye to take your child into its unholy lair. The rules about the Evil Eye can be daunting. Saying something positive is a big no-no. Saying something negative is equally forbidden. For a people not allowed to say much, we Jews sure do talk a lot!
As much as I think I’m beyond these medieval superstitions (which began when child and mother mortality rates were terrifyingly high), I have to admit that the Old World fears still course through my veins, whether I like it or not. I’ve noticed this week that whenever anyone mentioned our future babies as if they were already here, I’d throw in a quiet “God willing” or “kinahora” or I’d discreetly spit three times. So apart from the fact that I have no interest in writing, talking, or thinking only about baby stuff, I also have to worry about that damned Evil Eye. I'm willing to tempt it a bit with my thoughts and ruminations about our upcoming family members, but I have to be careful I don't drench my computer screen in my own spit!
One of the surprises in reading the comments I received was finding out that so many of you were twins yourself or the parents of twins. Who knew? Did you know that the rate of twins has increased by a whopping 75 percent over the past twenty years in this country? That’s incredible, and it’s obviously due to the fact that so many older women are getting pregnant these days. Being older automatically increases the odds of multiple births and that tendency skyrockets when you add additional fertility treatments.
Kendall and I join a growing list of people in their 40s having twins. Among the celebrity circuit, actress Molly Ringwald just announced that her twins are due the same time as ours. Lisa Marie Presley had twins in October. Her other children are 19 and 16. Marcia Cross of “Desperate Housewives” recently gave birth to twin girls at the age of 44. Jane Seymour was also 44 when she had hers. Holly Hunter had twins at the age of 47. Geena Davis had twins at 48, Beverly D’Angelo at 49. Kendall is a mere youngster compared to these gals!
How odd that I’d write about our twins on the very day when that woman in California gave birth to extremely rare octuplets. Suddenly the whole world seemed to erupt in a blanket condemnation of multiple births and fertility clinics. I found myself wagging my disapproving tongue as well at any woman (and her doctors) who would willingly get into such a dangerous situation as being pregnant with eight children. My understanding of multiple births is that anything more than two kids dramatically increases the risks to mother and children and fertility clinics take extensive measures to avoid such scenarios. Not to mention the rumors (or is it now fact?) that the woman already has six kids and is a single mother who recently declared bankruptcy. Oy! I don’t know how accurate that information is but I think it’s crazy that she would put her own life and the lives of her premature children in such jeopardy. But who am I to judge? I’m just glad I don’t have to pay for the extensive medical care her children will need. Oh wait, as a taxpayer, I am paying for it!
One radio show I listened to yesterday claimed to have an in with a “friend” of the woman who said that one of her objectives of having so many kids was to get her own reality show. There are other unflattering reports that she is refusing some of the offers of free products because she wants to pick and choose like she’s on some kind of high-powered shopping spree. Is this mother of eight (possibly fourteen) the most hated person in America today after Bernie Madoff?
Should Kendall and I try to capitalize on our situation? I can have an online contest to name the twins with an entry fee of $10 per person. How about liveblogging our next ultrasound? Setting up a pay-per-view in the delivery room? Nah. I think I will focus on the sheer joy and magic of this amazing experience and not look for any commercial tie-ins. At least until they’re born.