My So-Called Friends

My last post was about my kids making friends, so it only feels natural to talk about how I’m making new friends too. Even though I should be on the lookout for some mom friends in our new suburban neighborhood, I’m actually not quite there yet. I’m not talking about face to face friends; my new pals have come via social media and my So-Called Mom message that I post out on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and Youtube and the blog itself.  When I started this a few months ago, I really had no expectations that anyone would follow me, much less respond.  The happy discovery is that I’m not alone in my insane life as a mom, who’s just figuring it out day by day and most of the time, rowing with one oar.  I’m finding myself in a daily dialogue with people I’ve never met, and slowly developing an unexpected and yet totally satisfying relationship with many of them.
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Of course I’ll still always have my crazy girl group that I usually have a few too many cocktails with, albeit few and far between. But there is something magically honest (and somewhat addictive) about making friends with people who have watched you bawling in an empty tub with your clothes still on AND delivering a baby in a luxury hotel, and still want to converse with you.
One local mom reached out over the weekend and asked me out for coffee; another invited me to join her “mamapreneur” group; and of course, those invaluable moms that cheer me on and cheer me up: it’s all going to be OK, So-Called Mom—You got this! One asked where I was from: Portland, I said. And her response: I take it that means USA? How very So-Called American of me to assume she knew it was. I made a Craigslist joke, and she didn’t get it.  We don’t have Craigslist here. Apparently, my so-called humor doesn’t translate as well as my So-Called Mom breakdowns do.
One mom asked me what the purpose of my blog was. I had to think about this, but I now know the answer: I just want to be relatable. I told her. That seemed like a good enough answer for the both of us.
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In some strange way, I’m realizing that much of this interaction gets to the heart of what friendship means.  And while I have certainly cursed the internet’s influence on my teens – and certainly see its dark side-  I’m seeing the flip side of its allure:  the honesty, the immediacy, the connections – the authenticity that social media invites.
I am discovering something about myself in this online mom blogging world: I love connecting with other moms. I don’t mind hearing I’m doing an OK job at momhood, and I also don’t mind hearing I’m doing it wrong. I’m not a women who needs to be told what she wants to hear. It keeps me real, both with myself and with my kids. It’s OK to fuck it all up and still wake up the next day and give it another go. Why the hell not? None of us is perfect. Knowing this alone makes me feel like I can take on the world.
Hitting it off,
So-Called Mom

My Luxury Hotel Birth

One of the things I know moms are obsessed with is our birth stories.

While I love all five of my births in different ways, I have to admit that my luxury hotel birth may rank as the best of all times. luxury hotel birth

From the day we first posted our hotel birth story video, it has gotten olympic level criticism, and was even banned a few times—for violent content, of all things.

Despite the haters, I stand by my choice to birth Leopold at the corner suite of the Nines Hotel in Portland.

After the birth of my daughter Pascal, I had a miscarriage.

I was wrecked.  (The tiny fetus is  buried under the potted lemon tree in the kitchen, now bigger than I am and difficult to transport). When we conceived again, we decided to have our first home birth. I like firsts, and because this might be my final birth, I wanted the experience. luxury hotel birth

I worked out a simple plan with the midwife, but when Pippin and I decided it was time to buy a home, a huge wrench was thrown into the “simple” part. Withe the entire contents of our house packed into a moving van, our house closing delayed and my going into labor ten days before I was supposed to, there was no where to go to have the home birth.

Plan B turned into what began as a casual joke: Having the baby Downtown Portland at the Nines Hotel.

It was cheaper than the hospital and a lot more scenic than a birthing center. I will never forget walking into the lobby and waddling to the elevator before another contraction consumed my body.  When the doors closed, I gripped the handrail and screamed bloody murder.


This room was magical, what I imagine the entrance to heaven to be like. Everything was teal and polished nickel and carerra marble. The curtains would’ve cost me a mortgage payment and the lamps could’ve easily doubled as Oscars, and I felt I deserved both.

As I stood there taking it all in, I forgot I was pregnant let alone in labor, until I had the strongest contraction I had yet. The midwife arrived and inflated the birthing tub. I climbed in and was immediately centered.

Away went the pain, away went the worry of being suddenly homeless—I had arrived and was ready to have this baby, my way.

Oh, I forgot to mention, Pippin’s plan was to film the entire experience (See post: Why We Film Us).  But in Pippin style, it wasn’t just a portable camcorder; it was a three camera set up with sound and lights.  Even at the time it seemed like overkill.

But now? Now I’m the luckiest mom around, because I can re-live this amazing birth as often as I’d like.

It brings up so many great memories, like when I snapped at Pippin as he tried to feed me ice chips with tongs. Or when I heard him call the front desk and request 20 towels at once. Or the $40 turkey sandwich and the wonderful “no questions asked” turn down service. It was, in a way, my very first birth—custom, beautiful and classy as fuck.

When Leopold was born, just two short hours after checking in, I remember the light pouring in all around me.

His skin matched the blue birthing pool, but was softer than the velvet settee next to me. He barely cried. Pippin opened a pink bottle of Veuve Cliquot and we drank champagne and laughed about our new baby’s birth information card that said his full name: Leopold Damier Bershee and Hospital: The Nines Hotel. I was in love with not only my new baby, but my adorable husband who had embraced my crazy vision in full. luxury hotel birth

My birth story has become one that I am proud to share.

It has been blogged about here and also here even broadcasted on the news— I never imagined it would be so controversial.

I share merely in the hopes that I encourage someone else to try something different because playing outside the normal boundary may surprise you with an experience you would never expect.

Just push,

So Called Mom