Chicken Little Was Right: The New UN Climate Report Is Terrifying

Chicken Little Was Right: The New UN Climate Report Is Terrifying

“The sky is falling. The sky is falling!”

Chicken Little was right all along: The sky IS falling. The latest UN report on climate change predicts a Walking Dead scenario—wildfires everywhere, mass starvation, wildlife in collapse— as early as 2040. Not at some abstract point in the future, as many of us who’ve been terrified about climate change have let ourselves believe.

2040. That’s pretty much tomorrow. A physicist and climate scientist named Bill Hare, quoted in the New York Times article about the report, summed it up best: This, he said, is “quite a shock.”

You’ve probably already done the math about how old you’ll be—and how old your kids will be—by 2040. If you’re like me, you’re ready to sign a lease for a cozy little condo on the moon, because our planet will be toast before we hit retirement age. If we take political action immediately, i.e. in the next 10-12 years max, to massively cut carbon emissions, we may delay the inevitable by a bit. But needless to say, action won’t happen under the current U.S. administration.

Yesterday I saw this post from a mom on a Brooklyn parents’ email listserv:

“I’m sure many of you read the troubling report that states we have 12 years left to act in order to avoid catastrophe. What do we do? I’m new to this level of activism but I want my kids to have habitable planet.”

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The Baby Quote That Got Carrie Underwood in Trouble Makes Perfect Sense

The Baby Quote That Got Carrie Underwood in Trouble Makes Perfect Sense

Carrie Underwood is all over the tabloids this week now that she's unveiled her baby bump, but the singer has had a rough few days. She got massively trolled for saying this to Redbook:

"I'm 35, so we may have missed our chance to have a big family. We always talk about adoption and about doing it when our child or children are a little older. In the meantime, we're lucky to be a part of organizations that help kids, because our focus right now in our lives is helping as many kids as possible," Underwood said in her recent Redbook interview.

Twitter didn't miss a nanosecond to start railing at her, and comments got nasty. Here's one: 

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Moms 40-Plus Are Outpacing Younger Parents in THIS Category, Says NYT

Moms 40-Plus Are Outpacing Younger Parents in THIS Category, Says NYT

By Salma A.

In case you missed it, this New York Times article about the declining rate of childbirth in the U.S. is fascinating for so many reasons. Here are just a few:

The only demographic in America with a rising childbirth rate nowadays is...women ages 40-44, says the NYT report. Survey participants in every other age group are having fewer babies than they thought they would. Here at Crunch Time Parents, one of the main reasons we exist is to explore—and celebrate—the fact that people have more options than ever before if they want to become parents later in life. But it's still a sobering surprise to see the childbirth rates plunging for every other age group. 

So, why are Americans having fewer babies these days?

So, why are Americans having fewer babies these days?

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Here's the Latest Idea for Renaming the Dreaded "Advanced Maternal Age"

By Salma Abdelnour Gilman

An article on NBC's 9News.com headlined "Can I have Kids After 35? And Other Mom Questions Answered" doesn't have much to offer in the way of insights. Spoiler alert: The answer to the headline question is, "Research has shown that women are having babies later in life." So... this gives you a sense of the level of hard-nosed, ear-to-the-ground reporting we're dealing with here. But there are two intriguing takeaways from the article:

1) "Women with more children have less teeth." This is weird. But it's apparently a "FACT" (all-caps), according to the aforementioned 9News.com.

2) There's a better alternative to "Advanced Maternal Age," and it's... are you ready? "Waited Until I Could Handle It Moms." Not entirely accurate, since certainly not everyone waits on purpose, but we could get used to this one. WUICHIM is the acronym, and it's already growing on us. Bye forever, AMA?

Photo by Maurice Schalker via Unsplash.

Single Mothers' Day Is Saturday, and Yes, It IS a Thing

Single Mothers' Day Is Saturday, and Yes, It IS a Thing

By Salma A.

Happy Single Mothers' Day to single moms who are kicking so much ass every day, everywhere on earth, making a life and a home for their kids and themselves against so many odds. Wait, Single Mothers' Day is a thing? Yup, it’s on the Saturday right before Mother's Day.

But, and here's why you probably don't know about it: Single Mothers' Day only happens in South Korea. At least, it did for the last few years. There's no mention of Single Mother's Day 2018 anywhere, as far as we can tell, but we're celebrating the day anyway, and toasting all the single moms we know and the ones we haven't met yet. I first heard about Single Mother's Day in this NPR report

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Trying for a Second Baby in Your 40s?

Trying for a Second Baby in Your 40s?

Having a kid after 40 can feel like a mind-blowing triumph, but what happens if you want to give your child a sibling? We know lots of women who've had two kids in their 40s, naturally or through IVF, and plenty who are trying but aren't having luck yet. We also know moms who've always wanted only one kid, and those who are gradually resigning themselves to one-and-done. 

A neighborhood listserv in Brooklyn is hosting a discussion by moms in their 40s who are trying for a second child. Sample comments: "My two-year-old daughter wants a sibling and I feel like I'm failing." "I'm a single mom, and at 45 I don't see how I can pull off having another kid." "After too many expensive IVF cycles and a miscarriage, I'm giving up." "We have two frozen embryos, but at 44, my body is too worn out so we're not going to try them."

Women who did have a second kid in their 40s haven't chimed in yet, probably because they're not looking for support on this issue as much as their single-child peers are. Since that Brooklyn listserv is members-only and and charges a fee, we thought we'd open up our free lines to any parents out there who'd like to weigh in about your own experiences.

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Thinking About Having a Baby Solo? Here's How This Musician, Teacher, and Mom Did It

Thinking About Having a Baby Solo? Here's How This Musician, Teacher, and Mom Did It

Women now have more options than ever before about when and how to have a baby. (Well, Roe v. Wade protections may vanish before our very eyes, but that’s another story.) Deciding to become a solo parent, with the help of assisted reproductive technologies, is one example of a path that wasn’t available in decades past—and it can lead to an incredibly fulfilling life as a parent.

But the path isn't easy, by any stretch of the imagination. Solo pregnancy and childbirth come with their own built-in challenges, layered right on top of the struggles that all parents face.

At Crunch Time Parents, the women we’ve met who have had babies on their own are a super-inspiring, tough, loving (and funny!) bunch, and we’re proud to be able to highlight some of their experiences here as part of our Crunch Time Q&A series.

Meet Jessica Ivry, an acclaimed Bay Area musician, educator, and mom to two-year-old Esti. Here, Jessica opens up about what it took to get where she is now: a happy, fortunate, and hard-working parent of a beautiful and active little girl.

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Egg Freezing: Should You Do It?

Egg Freezing: Should You Do It?

"I am single and babyless not because my career is standing in the way, but because I haven’t met the person I want to make one with yet," writes 29-year-old Washington Post reporter and filmmaker Nicole Ellis in an article introducing her new serialized mini-documentary, Should I Freeze My Eggs?

Ellis appeared on the terrific Brian Lehrer radio show on New York's NPR affiliate, WNYC, this morning to talk about the documentary, and about her own attempts to figure out how egg-freezing works and whether she should do it herself. As she worked on the series, Ellis wondered why women's fertility is always framed in negative or perilous terms, and her questions led her to the guy who originally coined the notorious term "biological clock" in 1978, another Washington Post columnist named Richard Cohen.

Her response to Cohen, and Cohen's own response to Ellis, are definitely worth a listen, as is Ellis's thoughtful exploration of a question that so many women are confronting now: to freeze or not to freeze?

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Serena Williams for President: After a Harrowing Childbirth, a Heroic Comeback

Serena Williams for President: After a Harrowing Childbirth, a Heroic Comeback

The beautiful Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. popped out into the world this world having no idea who her mother is—tennis world-champ Serena Willams—nor what her mom was about to go through in the next few hours: a life-threatening pulmonary embolism that would most likely have gone undetected if Williams hadn't lobbied hard to get a CT-scan.

Williams had to plead for a scan and a heparin IV drip because the nurses and doctors ignored her initial requests, despite the fact that she's Serena Williams. They eventually listened, likely because she is in fact Serena Williams, and the treatment saved her life.

Too many black women in the U.S. aren't as lucky when they face complications in childbirth, and evidence keeps mounting about how racial bias in hospitals is leading to a rising rate of maternal mortality among African American women—three to four times as high, according to the Centers for Disease Control, as the already exorbitant and rising overall rate of maternal mortality in the U.S. (See this NPR story about Shalon Irving for a shocking and heartbreaking recent example of a woman who wasn't as lucky as Serena Williams.) If anything good could come of the 36-year-old Serena Williams's terrifying near-miss, it would be

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When Celebs Have Babies After 40, How Much Dirt Do They Owe Their Fans?

GwenStefaniLuxurious1.jpg

The answer is none. That's my opinion anyway, and it remains that way after more than a week of running this question through my mind over and over again. Lots of celebrities lately are having kids well over 35, into their mid-to-late 40s and even beyond. And that raises the question: How are they all doing it? Are they conceiving naturally, and if so, how are this many of them beating the odds? Are they using reproductive technologies? If celebs can have kids later in life, does this mean everyone can? Inquiring minds want to know, and these questions are all valid—especially as women wrestle with the question of when to have kids ourselves, and how long we can afford to wait.

It would be ideal if celebs revealed everything about their journeys and struggles, but they have every right to keep that information private. After I posted a reaction here to a recent NYU study I read that faults celebs and magazines for not revealing more about stars' fertility and pregnancy struggles—a study I found to be misguided in its conclusions—I couldn't get the issue out of my head. Since celebrities' decisions about childbirth and everything else tend to have disproportionate influence, don't those stars owe us explanations about what they're up to? Especially if that info could keep many of us from trying to follow in their footsteps, with often devastating results?

It would be terrific if more celebs felt comfortable opening up about their childbirth stories, and if they could help bust the stigmas surrounding fertility and childbirth problems. But I still think the responsibility to inform and educate lies elsewhere, far from the pages of Cosmo and People. So I wrote another piece about this for Medium. I'm not sure if anyone agrees with me, and I may be a masochist for not letting it go. But I do believe the issue deserves a wider debate, in any case. 

The Medium article is here. Please click the hand-clap icon at the bottom if you like or agree with it, or if you at least think the issue is worth a wider conversation. Thanks for reading!  

Gwen Stefani photo by Jelizen via Wikimedia Commons.

If You're Appy and You Know It: Parenting Apps and "Parennials"

If You're Appy and You Know It: Parenting Apps and "Parennials"

The New York Times can never resist a snappy word to define what an entire generation or subculture is all about. You might remember the Metrosexual era, when the NYT's Style section tried to wrap its head around the seemingly new breed of men of every sexual orientation who like to use moisturizer and buy expensive clothes. The paper of record's attempt to grapple with Metrosexual culture (even if it didn't invent the word) was only slightly less amusing than that time in the '90s when the Times tried to describe the way Gen Xers in Seattle's grunge scene like to talk; the Times got pranked by a SubPop Records staffer who made up slang terms like "swinging' on the flippety flop" (i.e. "hanging out") and fooled the NYT into printing them in a Lexicon of Grunge. This brings us to the latest entry from the Times: Parennials. What's a Parennial? A Millennial Parent, get it?

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Gifted & Talented Programs Are Ripe for a Rethink: Let's Start with the Name

Children_in_a_classroom.jpg

This is one of my more humiliating middle-school memories: I’m wearing a vintage Victorian
dress with a tight neckline that’s nearly choking me to death. My sweaty fingers are clutching a
piece of fudge, smearing chocolate all over the white lace. It’s sixth grade and I’m eleven years
old, doing my best to survive...

What does this have to do with G&T programs? To read the rest of this article, please check it out on .A Child Grows in Brooklyn. The article just went live and I've already been hearing from parents on various sides of this controversial issue. I'd love to keep the conversation going.

Photo by Michael Anderson via Wikimedia Commons.