Many of you long-time listeners know that I’m the proud father of triplets—the fact that they are turning twenty in a few short weeks is mindboggling to me. What many of you don’t know is that my wife was on supervised bedrest in the hospital for six weeks before giving birth to them. I spent all but two nights with her in the hospital during that time, and, while I admired the hell out of her for the sacrifices she was making for our unborn children, it pained me to see how uncomfortable she was. As a very active person, it was very difficult for her to have so little movement during this time. In short, her freedom was gone. When I was pitched the opportunity to interview Aileen Weintraub about the memoir she wrote about her time on bedrest, I jumped at the chance, and am so glad that I did. It is an amazing conversation.
MEET AILEEN WEINTRAUB
Aileen Weintraub is an award-winning author, journalist, and editor whose latest book, Knocked Down: A High-Risk Memoir, is about a Brooklyn girl who moves to the country, gets married, and finds herself living in a rickety farmhouse, knocked up, and faced with the prospect of five months of bed rest. Despite the seriousness of the topic, and the craziness that so many life changes coming at her brought, Aileen delivered her story with warmth, insight, and a very healthy dose of humor.
KEY TOPICS IN THIS EPISODE:
- How, as a little girl, her relationship with a librarian inspired her career as a writer and author.
- How writing children’s books restored the creativity that was missing in a previous job.
- How writing her memoir helped her deal with depression and improved her mental health.
- How pre-natal depression is not discussed as much as it should be.
- Why it was so important for her to include humor in her story.
KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM MY TALK WITH AILEEN
- Life is the curveball. The phrase life sometimes throws you curveballs is misleading. While it’s true that we all have good times and bad times, life is ever changing and it’s up to use to adapt to the changing conditions around us.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether you are trying to get published or need mental health counseling, resources are available to help. While it takes vulnerability to ask for help, there’s no shame in doing so.
- Getting a book should be considered a marathon, not a sprint. While many of us are eager to get our work out there as quickly as possible, take the time to embrace feedback from editors and beta readers. Doing so will make your book stronger, and more marketable.
- Be an advocate. Aileen observed that, while post-partum depression is a popular topic around new mothers, pre-natal depression is a reality that is not often discussed for mothers-to-be. High-risk pregnancies can leave a woman feeling as if they are failing because they have difficulty enjoying what they are told should be a very happy time. Aileen addresses this in her book and has helped other women feel as if they are not so alone while dealing with pre-natal depression.
WHERE TO BUY KNOCKED DOWN: A HIGH-RISK MEMOIR:
HOW TO GET IN TOUCH WITH AILEEN WEINTRAUB
MEMORABLE QUOTES FROM AILEEN
“And one thing that I realized while writing this book, is that life doesn’t throw you curveballs, life is the curveball, and nothing happens in a linear fashion. So, you don’t get pregnant, have a high risk pregnancy, and then have something else bad happen. These things all happen together. And that’s what life is. And so, for me, having a high-risk pregnancy, and finally processing my father’s death, because here I am in bed five months in an old farmhouse, I know very few people, and now it’s just me and my grief. And what I realized is, my father didn’t want me to grieve, or at least that’s what I thought, because he had always raised me to be very strong. And I think he knew what a sensitive person I was. So, I was trying to honor his memory by not letting it affect me. And then suddenly, I’m on bed rest. And I can feel myself slipping into this pre-natal depression, which by the way, nobody else talks about really. And so, if we’re not happy and joyous during our pregnancy, we feel shamed because we should just be so happy that we are pregnant. And that is not the case for so many people. And so, it’s really important to shed light on this. And what I realized, while I’m dealing with this depression, is that my father was dealing with depression. And it’s not something I’ve ever understood, and being able to unpack that while on bed rest really helped me come to terms with who he was as a man.”
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