Wednesday, June 22, 2011


This was one of those cases where having a daily wardrobe blog can be so helpful; I simply went back through my recent posts and found a comfortable outfit that I really liked, and quickly tweaked it into a new outfit by changing to a different colored tank and swapping the scarf and jewelry to match. This was my baby shower attending outfit. I wanted something relaxed and casual that still looked put together, and the weather was warm and breezy, but likely to get chillier as the day progressed. The light layers were warm but not overly so, and the scarf could be removed and replaced as needed. The stretchy garments made it easy to load up on all sorts of yummy food; this was carefully planned, since I knew that the baby shower's host is a caterer. She made all sorts of children's book-themed food, such as tobiko-topped braised pork belly for Green Eggs and Ham, and wild mushroom ragout for Where the Wild Things Are.

The only thing this outfit couldn't do is save me from all the horrific pregnancy and childbirth talk. I really, really didn't need to know those things. I dearly wish I could un-know them.

Top: Asos
Skirt: Anthropologie
Scarf: Rapsodia (Argentina)
Shoes: Fly London


Couture Allure Vintage Fashion said...

I love green. I especially love green mixed with black as you've shown here. But tell me about your bracelet. Is it vintage? BTW, I love green!

Megan G said...

I think this has been my favorite outfit remix of that skirt. The green sets off the black and white nicely and the cropped top keeps the proportions nice.

It sounds like the food at least made up for birth-talk. Although I hope the two weren't at the same time. Meep!

Aubrey said...

I love your blog, but it strikes me as paradoxical that someone who wears various animal skins and sells them can't stomach child birth talk. The slaughter and tanning industries are exponentially more vile and grotesque. Sorry to get political, but I think a bit of perspective is needed here, especially because you've written at length about cruelty and brutality against dogs, but seem to limit that compassion to animals which don't fit your wardrobe.

Audi said...

Couture Allure: Alas, I WISH I could tell you about this bracelet, but I can't figure out who made it! It's not vintage, I know that much; I got it at a now-closed shop on Haight Street. I would dearly love to find more by that designer.

Aubrey: I'm not really sure I see the connection. Childbirth talk just grosses me out; I'm not saying it's rational, it's just the way it is. But I do also find that mothers seem to take a special delight in playing up the horrific elements of it in front of the child-free.

I can't stomach images of slaughterhouses either, and yet I eat meat and wear leather; I guess we all have our own level of hypocrisy, and that's mine. But we also have to pick and choose which battles we fight in life, else we'd be fighting all the time. I have a particular soft spot for dogs, so I choose to fight for them. Again, not necessarily rational, but there it is.

Anonymous said...

I love, love, love the green as a pop color. It's just one of those colors that delights me so much, and it looks so fab amongst the black and white.

poet said...

It's a beautiful outfit and I empathize with you! While I'm not particularly squeamish, and while I was entirely fine talking to my friend about her childbirth experience (in fact, rather curious, because I'm still determining if and when I want kids), the realization that *this is the amount of effort and pain and gore it takes just to procreate* (and also, being a woman: this is, in principle, something that I could go through personally!) is certainly not a very comfortable one.

Patti @ NotDeadYet Style said...

Lovely outfit, with the splashes of green - and such a vibrant green. I too adore the bracelet.

Can't see the shoes - but if they are by Fly London I'm sure they're wicked!

I'm a vegetarian who wears leather shoes and bags - so I have not worked it all out. I suspect none of has completely.

Jessica said...

I love the green with the black and white. Just love it.

Child birth talk makes me all kinds of queasy and weak. I swear people talk about it just to make me rock back and forth like a baby.

Lisa said...

I don't think it is unduly irrational to dislike childbirth talk. I DO think it is irrational to go to a BABY SHOWER and be all traumatized because, OMG, people were talking about the minutae of pregnancy! It's one thing to get pissed off about it if you're in a nice restaurant or an adult dinner party. But, you know, I don't go to a dog park and complain about all the dog grossness around.

And I promise, no one is playing anything up for your benefit. This is something that has nothing to do with you (by your own--perfectly valid--choice), so perhaps you ought to do yourself and your friends a favor and RSVP "no" next time.

I do enjoy your blog and very much respect your choice to be child-free. But if a gulf exists between you and your friends whose lives change because they have kids, consider that your intolerance is driving it as much as their preoccupation is.

Audi said...

Lisa: I think you're missing the point a little. For one thing, a person doesn't feel obliged to go to the dog park and support their dog owning friends. I'd have felt like a jerk declining just because I'm not interested in kids myself. For another thing, a baby shower is meant to be a happy occasion, to help a mother-to-be celebrate and prepare for the baby, not to listen to war stories about someone's flesh ripping from her vagina to her anus. That's just TMI to hear from someone I just met 15 minutes ago, regardless of the venue. And sure, you're right; if I loved kids myself it wouldn't be a big deal when my friends had kids. But just because it's partly my own fault doesn't mean I'll miss them any less.

Lisa said...

OK, I concede that. I have felt uncomfortable with the way you and others here have spoken about your relationships with childless friends. While I understand the sadness involved in losing touch with friends for any reason, you do seem to place the onus of maintaining the friendship on them and imply that becoming consumed by parethood is a character flaw on their part that they could stop if they only tried hard enough.

Giving birth to a child is non equvalent to any other life change--like a new job or a move or a death in the family. I don't mean that it is more precious or more sacred or that anyone MUST do it. I mean that biologically it is the most profound change that the human body can undergo...besides death. The brain is at the mercy of an estrogen drop that is akin to experiencing menopause in the course of a few hours, not to mention changes in progesterone and the introduction of prolactin. Hormone levels do not return to normal levels for months--all as a part of an evolutionary imperative to bond the mother to her offspring. Take these biological changes, add an unprecedented deprivation of sleep and the stress of all a new baby entails, and you have people who can barely remember their names. In other words, your friends aren't becoming boring sops because they WANT to.

As for the charge that people know what they are getting into when they have kids, that none of this has been kept secret... well, it kind of IS. I was blindsided, totally and utterly despite years of experience with kids and voracious reading. It's one thing to have the information, and quite another to go through the experience. I remember going to some childless friends house a week after my kid was born. I could only stay a little while because my daughter nursed every 45 minutes. When my friend asked if I'd gotten any writing done (my profession), I felt so lost from my former self and so broken and inadequate that I just muttered something about the baby keeping me busy. I know she thought, "Jesus, enough about the damn BABY!" (I know because she told me after she'd had a kid.)

I don't think you need to enrich your life with a love of children blah, blah, blah or even spend any time at all with your friends kids. Just, if you truly have the kind of friendships that you will miss and be sad about losing, gaining a little insight into their experience during this volatile time might allow you to give these people a bit of a pass so your friendship can survive.

Or not. That's your choice. But to hear you talk about people you care about enough to attend their babyshower with such disdain and contempt for something they can't completely control is kind of chilling. And sad.

Audi said...

Lisa: Sigh. It sucks to be so completely misinterpreted. I will give this one more try, but this is the last I'm discussing this topic. I have NEVER expressed disdain or contempt for my friends or their choice; I'm absolutely, 100% overjoyed that they're doing something they've clearly thought about and anticipated. My only gripe about the shower itself was the gross-out stories that the other guests couldn't stop telling (this is my friend's first child; she wasn't telling the stories -- nor would she, I'm certain). And my only touch of sadness about the arrival of my friend's baby is that I will see her less. That's it.

I understand that having kids is a massive, life-changing event that no one is truly prepared for, and I totally get that people have to make way in their lives for it. What I don't get is the way some (not all) parents become so consumed with their kids that it's ALL they ever talk about, even when they manage to get away and have some adult time. THOSE are the friends I end up losing touch with. I don't mind a little talk about the kids, I'll even ask about them, but when it's the ONLY thing I ever hear about, it gets tiresome. Hell, it probably gets tiresome even to other parents.

I wouldn't talk about my dog all the time when I'm hanging out with friends, and if my friends are uncomfortable around dogs, mine goes in her crate when they're over. So it's not like I don't know that there's a give and take in these sorts of things. I'm willing to talk about and hang out with the kids -- a little. And the friends I'm most likely to remain close with after they have kids will understand and respect that, just as I won't begrudge them having less time when we do get together.

Lisa said...

Then I have indeed misinterpreted your words (in this entry and in the past) about this, and I apologize. It's a subject that is clearly difficult to articulate, and perhaps that's what's causing the impasse. For us all. When I was acutely postpartum, I had nothing else to talk about because keeping the baby alive took every minute. It was painful and I hated it. My childless friends were actually easier to socialize with because they didn't have nap schedules and crap. If I'd felt disallowed to bring the baby along while we watched a movie and had pizza, I'd have been lonely as hell.

I am glad I've been misreading what you've said--in the blog and in comments, because you have lovely taste and interesting views. For those parent-friends of yours who do have interests outside the kids, I am sure you are a breath of fresh air!

Megan said...

Audi, I haven't been to a baby shower in years, mostly because I have nothing in common with most of the attendees. However, now that I've had my tubal ligation, if I'm ever in a situation where childbirth talk is rampant, I'll whip down the waistband of whatever I'm wearing and show my tubal scars. Heh.

I understand there you're coming from. You want to be supportive of your friend so you attend the shower but that doesn't mean you have to enjoy all the conversations and games that tend to dominate showers. Now that I'm 40, I'm hopeful that most of my friends are done with the baby making.

Megan said...

Oh, and Duran Duran rescheduled their Paris concert for September. Guess I'll have to go back to Paris. (what a hardship.)

Anonymous said...

I went the to baby shower for my husband's coworker who was pregnant with her first child, and I was appalled at how all of her relatives with children delighted in hammering in the message, "Just you wait until the baby is born! It's going to SO hard! Ha ha!" The tone of knowing mockery struck me as strange and slightly mean. When we left I told her, "Don't listen to them, you are going to enjoy your baby." I'm not saying parenting isn't hard, but why make that the central message at a baby shower rather than set a tone of celebration? Also, HELLO, the party is supposed to be about the pregnant woman, not about her guests. Unless the pregnant woman asks, telling "war stories" just seems egocentric. You don't go to someone's birthday party and expect everyone to listen to how YOU felt about turning 40.

I appreciate the discussion between you and Lisa above in which you clarify your comments. Like her, I heard in your words (and in the comments) a lack of tolerance and sympathy for friends or former friends who had chosen a life that included parenting.

In my work life I have had a lot of experience with parents, with children, and with bodies. For me, the reproduction of mammals is just fascinating. What I am grossed out by is parasitic wasps.

Michelle M. said...

Back to fashion: I *love* the way your scarf ties the whole outfit together!

Anonymous said...

As someone who is pregnant, I find it pretty annoying when people insist on telling birth horror stories around me (at me) even when it's at a baby shower, so I do understand your referred pain... What freaks me out at the moment is how much is *not* in those horror stories! At least, not in the ones I've heard. Guess there's lots that we haven't had to listen to. :)
~Sarah B

Anonymous said...

Audi - I totally get where you're coming from! I go to baby showers and first birthday parties and do my best to politely coo, just like I go to other events that aren't really me. 'Cos I like my friends, I'll put myself out for them.

I do honestly forget to say 'congratulations' when someone tells me they're having a baby, 'cos it's just so not what I feel. But I'm trying to remember and act pleased for them.

Lisa - I do judge women who submerge themselves totally in their 'Mommyness'. I have unfriended folk on Facebook who have their baby as their profile pic and *only* post details about eating, sleeping, pooping etc. If we've really got nothing in common any more then, sadly, there's nothing to sustain a friendship. :(


Audi said...

Sarah B: Oh geez, I hadn't considered that there was yet more horror that WASN'T being revealed! To your comment and the anonymous commenter above, it does strike me as really disrespectful to the expectant mother to focus on nothing but the negative elements of childbirth and motherhood at the baby shower. Why not talk about the GOOD parts, like how it feels when it's all over and you're holding your newborn for the first time? That must be amazing -- even I wouldn't mind hearing stories like that, especially at a shower where you have to expect that the talk will center around babies.

Eleanorjane: Seriously. I can get understand a brand new mom posting pictures and talking about her baby a lot, but I know people whose kids are tweens and they STILL act like that. I wonder what these women are going to do when their kids finally move out and they have to start thinking about themselves again.

Anonymous said...

First of all, let me just say that I love this outfit. Green and black is a far too rare combo in my opinion.

Audi, I would like to say that I have never interpreted your comments about not having children as disdainful or contemptuous. In fact, I totally identify with a lot of what you've said. I am a mom, I have one child, probably won't have another, and people definitely have something to say about that too. Your comments about the baby shower really hit home. I loathe baby showers. Partly because of the games, but mostly because of the "horror stories" being told. It's like hazing. I, personally, had an amazing birth and very much enjoyed motherhood in the first year, but nobody wants to hear that, so I tend to keep my mouth shut about it. However, I will always do my best, like "anonymous" to be encouraging and supportive, not scary and demeaning.

On the friend note, I was fairly young when I had my son and was one of my only friends to have a child. I loved my time with my friends because it gave me a chance to step out of mom-mode for a short time and regain a little bit of my pre-baby self. To this day (my son is 4), there are very few other moms that I enjoy spending time with because I don't want to talk about children non-stop. I LOVE being a mom, I ADORE my son, and I spend a lot of time doing fun 4-year-old things with him, but there is also SO MUCH more to who I am. I have also lost touch with friends along the way who lose themselves when they get married or have children. It's not because I dislike their child or spouse, it's because they aren't really the same person anymore.

Anyway, thanks for the blog, Audi. I sincerely love it!