During an undergraduate English seminar, our professor got frank with us about her multiple miscarriages. It wasn’t completely out of sorts — the seminar was centered around the body and we had spent a lot of time with the concept of madness as elucidated by Elaine Showalter in The Female Malady. After more than 10 years, I don’t remember much about that course, but I do remember our instructor’s confessional moment, what felt like at the time, an incredibly intimate detail in her life. It wasn’t the first time I had come across the concept of miscarriage. At age four, I was told I was going to be a big sister and then not long after, was told I wasn’t. But I was struck by her openness and matter-of-factness. These weren’t situations we were supposed to discuss. It felt almost indecent and out of line at the time. More… Lost Time”

Melinda Lewis has a PhD in American Culture Studies. She knows more celebrity gossip than basic math and watches too much television.


I’m three months pregnant and my husband and I disagree about whether or not we should learn the sex of the baby. He wants to be surprised when I give birth, but I want to find out at our next ultrasound. What should we do? — New Mom


Why am I getting all these maternity questions?! Is the word out that I’m pregnant, too? My family jokes that this column should be called “Ask a Pregnant Poet.”  Well, here’s what my gut instinct says: If you want to know the sex of your baby, you have every right. For your husband’s benefit, keep it a secret from him, hide any revealing ultrasound shots and don’t buy any gendered baby clothes, blankets or equipment. Problem solved.

But if that doesn’t sound fun — and… More…