Workshops  |  Consults  |  Shop  |  Contact
Openness is our greatest human resource.

You Said

 
Dear Rebecca,

I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your work, your honesty, your general loveliness!

I first discovered Black White and Jewish when I was an MA student in English, seriously thinking through issues ofidentity and race in literature. I was also, incidentally, thinkingthrough my own identity as a Jewish Latina, and so much of what youwrote resonated with me.  Indeed, so much of what you had to say aboutyour own family life, and about being a child of divorce made me feelaffirmed.  After reading your book I was able to feel comfortable articulating just how significant my parents' divorce had been for me.

Recently, I bought Baby Love. I read it at a time when I was thinking about balancing a PhD program with having a child, and I felt desperately torn and conflicted anduncomfortable with my primal mom urges! Thank you, thank you, thank youfor articulating my own anxieties, fears, and longings.

Anyway,I feel like your books are great examples of synchronicity in my life,and they always seem to find me at just the right moment.  Thank youfor always seeming to be several steps ahead of me, lighting the waywith your words!

R

Rebecca,
 
TonightI finished Baby Love and it touched me in a way that most books...justdon't. Not many women write about the struggles associated withbecoming a mother--the decisions, the ambivalence, the assumptions.When I got married and had my first son, most people who thought theyknew me said they were shocked. I was so strong (to them), soindependent, why get married. What they didn't understand was thathaving a family of my own--having a partner that I could trust--andmaking beautiful babies was all I'd ever wanted. EVER! I too, Rebecca,am raising children as a mother without a mother, and while being"motherless" with a mother who lives and breathes as I do, isdifficult, upsetting, and often inconceivable, I work every day to givemy little ones the stability, love, respect, and VOICE I never had. Iappreciate your honesty and willingness to share your story. It hasgiven me inspiration to tell my own without shame and fear.
 
TA

Dear Ms. Walker,

I have just finished Baby Love and I am compelled to thank you for writing it. In reading your book, it felt to me like your words were telling my own secrets. I have, until this moment, lived in fear of my own longings for family, stability and motherhood. I have lived with a feeling that, while it is somehow utterly necessary for me to devote myself to these longings, it is also a betrayal of my hard-won self. I have quietly worried that I will wake up one day, tired out and tied down, with only a distant memory of my former self as an independent, self-reliant and tough-assed woman. Reading your account gave me a much-needed view of the synergy that is possible for me, as it happened for you. The fact that you took the courage and skill to put such a personal narrative into a public space is a gift for women like me. I feel like our generation has finally stood up and taken her voice.

I wish you all of the best,

AC
Alaska



Hello,

I stumbled upon Black, White and Jewish just today andI was amazed at your courage.  I found your website today afterwardsand am even more impressed with your courage in Baby Love from whatI've been reading on what it is about.
 
Thank you for finding the truth for yourself in every stage of life. What a courageous and beautiful quest.  You are a true seeker.
 
I read on articles on-line about what happened with your mother, and Iam a 35 year old female who has gone through a similar episode. Four orfive years ago now, I stopped communicating with her, changed my phonenumber address.  If she calls I have nothing to say to her I just tellher to stop bothering me as she is only concerned with herself and notat all with me as always.  It was something I needed to do as she hasnot been a supportive person and I can relate to when you say that shehad tried to outshine or undermine you.  I like to think that it hasmade me stronger and given me knowledge of the nature of people, butit's hard to reconcile my bitterness with my efforts at being an alwayscompassionate Buddhist. I'm just not that good!  But severing ties hasbeen the thing that I needed to do in order for her to see the truthabout herself hopefully and it was also a toxic relationship like yourswas.
 
Anyway, blessings to you to have found bliss in art, life, family etc.,and to a beautiful person always seeking truth and becoming morebeautiful.  Your writing was a rare find.
 
TR



Rebecca,

After first learning of your latest book in People magazine I knew it was a must-read. I've just finished reading Baby Love, and I had to email you to let you know that after years and years (quite literally) of reading, learning, exploring, analyzing and soul searching that nothing had quite given me the validation of my life that this book has given me. Your frank sharing of experiences, coupled with unbridled discussions with my husband of 2 years has finally given me a peace that I never thought I could find.

Thank you.

JD
Tennessee



Dear Rebecca,

You may not remember me but I asked you to sign What Makes a Man for Gustavo my 21 yr. old son. He had recently shared his take on women with me and I was stunned to hear it. This was not the man I raised my baby boy to become. I felt your book could be a positive influence on him.

Just as I suspected there was a big drama scene when I presented the book to him. He was offended and refused to accept the book. He wanted to read To Be Real. I panicked thinking that I would never see my signed copy ever again. I appeased him by suggesting, “how about you read your book and I will read my book. We’ll swap each other’s books when we’re done. We can discuss both books over a nice dinner with some wine.”

Last Friday, he came over to help me move some furniture. I over heard him tell Eric, “This shit is actually pretty good. Dude, you should read this when I’m done. I’m two hours away from finishing it.” To my surprise, I later saw my son sitting quietly on the sofa reading your book.

Thank you, Rebecca! For the first time my son actually read a book I recommended to him.

Keep on writing!

AH
Miami



Greetings, Rebecca:

It’s a wonder to finally see someone writing the truth. I appreciate that greatly. Parents don't bond the same way with adopted children than they do with natural children. The mother doesn't go through the hormonal changes that happen with a pregnancy in the case of an adopted child. The prolactin and pitocin rush doesn’t occur. With those two hormones having a hand in bonding, an adoptive parent doesn't end up with the same type of bond that they have with a biological child. It's just nice to see someone recognizing that. This is something that the children end up seeing, but often goes unseen by someone who has both an adopted and a biological child.

I myself was adopted at birth, and noticed the difference between how my brother was treated and how I was treated. He's 10 years older and my parents’ biological child. I was old enough to recognize how concerned they were with my brother, his activities, his schooling and the like. For me, everything was "you can do better". I had difficulty with school activities because my parents (then retired) had little time to pick me up from track practice, from swimming practice, and let alone activities like key club, and J.E.T.S. I can count the amount of swim meets, track meets, and soccer games they were at on one hand, but my mother was always present for my brother’s tennis games, and other sports. Anything I excelled at physically, I was told was either too dangerous, or I'd lose interest.

When my friends were all in Hebrew school, after school, I asked when my Bat Mitzvah was going to be. I was told that because I was a girl, it wasn't important for me, so I learned nothing of the Jewish religion and to this day view holidays as an excuse to get the family together to eat. I've found my own path, one that does not regard women as subservient creatures meant to be housekeepers, broodmares, and their husband’s prostitute.

Thank you for writing this book. Don't let the critics get you down. I hope it makes adoptive parents think carefully before making their choices.

YF
New York



Dear Ms. Walker,

I just finished "Baby Love" after picking it up at the bookstore late last week. My boyfriend and I went to look at parenting books after confirming that I am pregnant. I started to look at nutrition books and my hands found their way to your book and I stopped looking after that. I knew I had found the book I needed to read first because we were pretty ambivalent about the situation (I much more than he).

I am 43 and he is 41. I won't go into the gory details but we were briefly married then annulled our marriage due to his subsequent disclosure about an addiction he has (that I knew about but chose to "ignore). After a few soul-searching months apart we got back together to work on our individual and relationship issues. Now here we are, pregnant, doing pro/con lists and discussing some intensely hard, deep questions.

I devoured your book and didn't want it to end. It was so helpful to see some of my thoughts that I couldn't put into words so eloquently put down on paper.

Thank you, most of all, for the last line of the book. I cried happy tears for you, Glen, Tenzin and all mothers when I read that line. I read parts of your book to my boyfriend, and cried the hardest when I read him the last two paragraphs on page 187.

We are going forward with this pregnancy. I terminated a pregnancy ten years ago but this time it does not feel right to choose that option.

A friend said to me that the timing of this couldn't be worse, based on what we went through this past winter. I told her that actually the timing couldn't be better, based on what we have learned about ourselves and about each other in relationship, as well as how a lot of our brokenness started early in our families of origin.

Thank you a million times over for writing your book. I feel so blessed that I discovered it last week. I also feel blessed that I discovered you and your writing as well (should I be embarrassed to say I was not aware of you before then?).

I hope that you, Glen and Tenzin are thriving.

Namaste!

KF
Colorado



Dear Ms Walker,

I had the pleasure of hearing you in Detroit this Friday, my lucky day. I told you in person, but didn't feel I articulated it well: your wisdom was life changing for me. That is still possible at the age of 70! I agree 100% that the extremes of individualism we are living today are detrimental to any thoughts of serious problem solving. The common good is all but dead in our culture. You have made me examine my own "crustiness". There are so many ways my lack of openness is in evidence, but because of your inspiration I am going to start pecking away toward the light. I have seen the divisiveness of which you speak: The constant control of supposed dialogue in the public sphere; people holding on to their little piece of turf whether in business, academia, and even families. I taught at the local university and was shocked when I witnessed the nastiness of women towards women in places like Women's Studies. All of these observations birth weariness and cynicism. I accept that I will never make headline news with some great endeavor, but with your words echoing in my heart I can do something in my small earth-space. Again, thank you. Yours is the voice I desperately needed to hear. Maybe you will consider writing a handbook for openness.

I bow to you in gratitude,

MF
Detroit



Hello Rebecca,

As a recent first time dad at the ripe age of 47, I just loved your new book, "Baby Love." I picked it up and raced through it in a few days and have given it to my wife Pat to read. We both share similarities with many of your experiences, including the general ambivalence for so many years -- the fear of bringing a child in the world, fearing our own abilities to be good parents in the face of growing up with less than perfect parents (in my wife's case) and downright awful parents (in my case).

But Sam, now almost two and a half, is wonderful, complicated, challenging, and offering an experience of love -- both giving and receiving -- that I never knew possible.

Some of your thoughts in your book struck me in ways that I have not thought about in a while. As a highly sensitive heterosexual male (a rarity according to Myers Briggs) I have long had deeply ambivalent feelings about men in this society. The other day, while riding the ferry between New Jersey and Delaware, we sat in the car while our son slept in the back-seat. In front of us was a group of men, whiling away the time, leaning on a pickup truck, sipping beer with their bellies on display, telling stories, laughing about "men-things" as if they were in a cliched beer commercial. I envied them their connection, their easy way of talking, knowing that these are people I have never been able to communicate with in any meaningful way. I feel as if I am another species sometimes.

I love my son with all my soul, would do anything for him. I want him to be himself as he grows older, to be sensitive, and not suffer the isolation that I have suffered. That is something that scares me a bit. Can sensitive men survive -- with joy -- in this world?

These are just thoughts.

Thanks again for your lovely book.

JF
New Jersey



Dear Rebecca,

Thank you for writing Baby Love!

I have a story somewhat similar to yours. My mother is an award-winning writer who always put her work before her children. When I was little, she used to lock herself in her bedroom to write and ignore my knocks and cries. She is a very manipulative, narcissistic person. We no longer have a relationship. Her last words to me about five years ago were: "As far as I'm concerned, our relationship is now over." I was so floored. I didn't know that parent-child relationships could be turned off the way one turns out a light. I have to say that in a way her pronouncement was a gift to me. I had spent so long trying to please her and not ever quite succeeding. I had always felt deficient (partly, no doubt, because she told me that I was). Her declaration was so unbelievably extreme that I suddenly realized that she was the deficient person. What a revelation!

I have two children whom I adore. I agree with you that the relationship between a mother and a child is deep and visceral. I could no more terminate my relationship with my kids than I could cut off my arm. Part of what helped me to heal was nursing my kids. I discovered La Leche League when my first son was a few weeks old. LLL's message of love and tuning in to one's baby was so powerful, so right, that I was able to transcend my upbringing, follow my instincts and BE THERE for my kids. I may not be the perfect parent (who is?) but I have put an end to the cycle of pain. I feel infinitely sorry for my mother who in her self-righteous judgmental way has lost her family. I would probably be baiting my kids with well-timed sarcastic little remarks if LLL hadn't remade me into a sensitive loving parent. I hope you continue to heal and cherish your little boy.

In solidarity,
CD
Arizona



Dear Rebecca,

After I read Black White and Jewish I sat and cried. Your conclusion was a very powerful, thought provoking one. In essence, you challenged your readers to look beyond the labels people confer upon each other. You asked them to see themselves as human beings. You encouraged them to search for the common bonds we share as people. You asked us to rise to the occasion and make this world a better place. Your candor was most appreciated, as was your intellectual honesty. I hope to read Baby Love soon. I like your spirit, and I love your resiliency.

All the best.

Sincerely,

TD, Idaho



Hi Rebecca!

So, I feel totally weird and cheesy writing to you. I don't know you, BUT I just finished reading Baby Love and I want to thank you for sharing you and your families' story. Reading about your pregnancy, your relationship with your mother, your partnership with Glen, and your beautiful little miracle I was moved and touched by your level of sharing. I loved reading your thoughts on partners and family dynamics. My partner and I do not plan to have children, but I have told him that he would LOVE reading Baby Love because of the story you tell, particularly about being in a partnership!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing! I look forward to hearing you speak in the future.

Best wishes to you and yours,

MG
Harvard



Dear Rebecca,

I grew up in the Middle East with Muslim parents who were very traditional. While living there, nothing ever felt right. Nothing I heard or saw seemed right and I never fit in. It obviously influenced everything about my being. When we moved to Canada after the first Gulf War I had the opportunity to attend McGill University where I studies what else- Women’s Studies and International Development. I was convinced that once I graduated I would buy a one way ticket to some war-torn country (I was hoping for Angola or Sierra Leon) where I would work with the women through a grassroots organization of some sorts. I never wanted to get married “because I was raised around nothing but arranged marriages” and I certainly have never ever wanted children because it seemed to be a given role for women. Well, I graduated not too long after 9/11 and traveling the world as a whole seemed like a different place for me. I ended up staying in Canada and working with refugees through a Resettlement program, and I felt mildly satisfied. I then met the man that I would marry.

I will not bore you with all the details but we did get married on April 28, 2007. The wedding was not even over and all everyone was asking is “When are you having children?” When I got back to the office everyone asked the same thing. Relatives and friends who could not make the wedding called urging us to rush and have children since we were “running out of time” I am 29 and he is 39. I hate this. The thought of motherhood never appealed to me and certainly the thought of children was never a pleasant one for me. I always knew it had to do with the culture I grew up in and my strong sense of Feminism that resulted. My husband has always wanted children and he too has been eager over the past 2 month since our wedding for me to get pregnant.

While at the airport in LA on our way back I picked up your book Baby Love. This is where things changed for me. I am not sure what it was. I can’t say it made me want to have a child now or that it made me excited, but it did let me know that my struggle was okay and that perhaps it is possible to have a child and not feel that I am betraying my Feminist beliefs, or that I was any less of a Feminist. I am slowly coming to terms with the reality that motherhood may be a reality for me.

Thank you for sharing your story and for being so honest about your experience. You are an awesome writer. After reading the book and visiting your website I saw that you were here recently. I am so disappointed to have missed your visit here but I hope to catch you in the near future.

MH
Florida



Dear Rebecca,

I'm thrilled that you were in town and that so many of us got to "meet" you this past weekend. As I told you, having purchased three of your books, I will also purchase What Makes a Man in the near future. I want to read it and then pass it on to my husband and Berkeley freshman son. My friends and I all felt inspired to learn more about you through your writing, to think about issues we would be introduced to or reminded of. One of my friends borrowed Baby Love as she is totally in that place right now, trying to decide about motherhood and if it is the right time. My other friend borrowed BW&J and I've read about 1/4 of To Be Real and loving it.

We all felt a strong heart connection with you, and that you are one of the most lovable, intelligent, thoughtful and thought-provoking people we have ever met. May God bless you always, dear Rebecca! Our struggles do make us stronger, as cliche as that is, and they leave us with greater compassion.

I was deeply moved by all that you shared with us and loved and recognized the wisdom of your 4 secrets to surviving the writing life, especially the last one, about each of us being human, doing the best we can. At 46, I do try to accept people for who they are and not to judge. Who am I to judge anyone? I think everyone I come into contact with has something to teach me. That said, the people I have trouble tolerating are the intolerant and uber-judgmental members of the Religious Right. Maybe I should work on that...

For me race, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status are non-issues in determining whether someone can be a friend, a meaningful part of my life. A loving heart and an attitude of tolerance, acceptance and embracing those who on the outside might seem different, that is what matters to me. We are all so much more alike than we are different and that is what I choose to focus on.

I realize you may not have time to reply to my email and that is okay. I just wanted to let you know that I think you are terrific and that you really moved my friends and me on Saturday. We were honored to be in your company!

Enjoy your precious family!
Love,
LZ
Santa Clara



Rebecca,

Tonight I finished Baby Love and it touched me in a way that mostbooks...just don't. Not many women write about the struggles associatedwith becoming a mother--the decisions, the ambivalence, theassumptions.

When I got married and had my first son, most people whothought they knew me said they were shocked. I was so strong (to them),so independent, why get married?

What they didn't understand was thathaving a family of my own--having a partner that I could trust--andmaking beautiful babies was all I'd ever wanted. EVER!

I too, Rebecca,am raising children as a mother without a mother, and while being"motherless" with a mother who lives and breathes as I do, isdifficult, upsetting, and often inconceivable, I work every day to givemy little ones the stability, love, respect, and VOICE I never had.

Iappreciate your honesty and willingness to share your story. It hasgiven me inspiration to tell my own without shame and fear.

 TC



Hello Rebecca,

I am on page 59 of your book Baby Love, and it has brought me to grateful tears. I wanted to write and say THANK YOU. Thank you for writing my experiences and thoughts. I am 32 and seriously considering having a child on my own. I have struggled with my sexuality (finally accepting that I am bisexual and don't fit into any box, no matter how comfy they may be), with being an adult child of divorce (count 'em, 7, between my biological parents), with my financial battles (been on my own since 15). I have had the motherhood ache since a very young age, but like you, was thoroughly indoctrinated with the feminist values and ideals of education and independence. So I educated myself, moved to a bigger and brighter city, established a career I love (children's library services), found and lost or ran away from love several times, and now I feel the clock ticking and the desire for a child taking over my mind/body/life in a truly heart-and-soul-shaking way. I am terrified to do it, and terrified not to.

Your book is beautiful. It asks the questions that run through my mind on repeat daily, hourly....

I don't know what is to come in the remaining pages.... but I am here with my glass of wine and my gratitude, savoring every word.

THANK YOU for writing it down. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

BG
Minnesota



Dear Rebecca,

I was so moved by your article. Thanks for having the courage to be honest and to communicate something so integral to my life. I have a multicultural background as well (Mom is Mexican American, Dad is Haitian and Cuban). At an early young age, I saw through the fallacy of race and the myth of a racism-free multicultural home. I do think our generation has seen through the myth of feminism. I do believe and advocate for woman's rights but I never confuse that with feminism. I grew up dreaming of business suits never a wedding dress. I was told you don't need men. But we do and they need us. I felt so guilty just being at home with my daughters as if I wasn't contributing to society. I am now content and feeling fulfilled in changing the world by raising strong discerning women. Thanks for affirming so much of my personal beliefs in your article and best wishes to you and yours!

M
St. Louis



Dear Rebecca

I just finished reading Baby Love. It fed and nurtured every need I had regarding motherhood, and my recent decision to try to become pregnant for the first time at 41. Thank you for writing such an honest and beautiful work. As a biracial lesbian and author and a Buddhist, I feel a deep kinship with your work. I also loved Black, White & Jewish and was profoundly moved by your ability to be so true. Truth is a rare commodity both in our current political climate of media lies and distortions but also in my personal life and family.

I am also so curious about how things are going now with Tenzin and the next phase of motherhood. Is it as fulfilling as you dreamed it would be? No question could capture the nature of my own anticipation and curiosity about the reality of raising a biological child. I have custody of my partner’s 9-year old daughter until she is released from prison but I have to say that I am eager to become pregnant with my own child in the next year.

Thank you for your truth and the poignancy of your work.

SH
Houston



Rebecca:

I applaud your courage. This evening, I'll be telling my writing class some of the lessons that I've learned from your two books that I've read.

Best wishes.

TG
Claremont University



Hello Ms. Walker,

I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to meet you last night. As I am sure you have heard this numerous times, I had so much I would have loved to say, but became tongue tied and was unable to articulate my feelings. I will try to do this now.

I enjoyed the intimate feeling you created by sitting in the chair instead of using the podium. It reminded me of the way classes are conducted at Naropa. We sit in a circle all facing each other. The professor is at the same level as the student. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche believed that the professor had just as much to learn from the student. We start each class with a bow and end each class with a bow. Thank You for being a part of my experience. It felt as if we were enjoying tea and just having a wonderful conversation.

I follow the Kagyu tradition of Buddhism. I first read the book "Shambhala Sacred Path of the Warrior" when I was 18. This is where I was introduced to the Buddhist path. This led me to attend Naropa University. I miss Naropa daily, but I do believe I am where I need to be at this moment in my life.

I am looking forward to reading "Baby Love". Thank You for sharing your life with us. I look forward to many more wonderful books.

You gave me a gift last night, and I am so very honored.

Namaste,

SH
Pheonix



Dear Ms. Walker:

Thank you for your book, Baby Love. I was captivated on many levels and I hope that it doesn't sound too weird to say that I wish I could have called you when I finished it. I was struck by the grace with which you chose motherhood, where as I most often have the sensation of having fallen into it; of having been swept up-even at 35-into some prevalent cultural narrative about what my journey should include as a woman. Anyway, my daughter is here now-surely divine-and I am committed to her love and protection.

I am writing because I related to the difficulty in the relationship that you have had with your mother. I once gleefully phoned my mother in full anticipation of her eager island blessing when I told her that I had a lunch date with a fine, Stanford educated, successful attorney. She told me-without hesitation- that he had too much education for me. Yep. It's been that kind of ride. I wonder if you intend to further explore your relationship with your mother, its implications for your experience in parenting and possibly its link to your depression in any future writings. Those are issues with which I am currently grappling and I'm just wondering.

Anyway, if this e-mail actually finds you, I hope that it finds you well. Thank you for your time and thank you again for a wonderful book.

Sincerely,
YM
Maryland



Greetings,

I just finished "baby love" and I had to jump online and pray that there was a way to get a message to you...I hope you get this. I just had to let you know how much I appreciated your honesty. It was refreshingly necessary. Funny how we think we know people because we read sound bites about their lives, or their parent's lives, over time. Through almost each page, I was transported back to a time in my own life...different characters...same story. Particularly the primary focus, how your son came to you. Each page you wrote brought me back to my own personal revolution six years ago after giving birth to my son Jah. All the decisions, all the anxiety, all the pain. I was a vegetarian prior to becoming pregnant...by the second month, I was craving Park Sausages!!!!! While I did not give in to that temptation, there were many that i did ,and I would beat myself up for them. I vividly recall the moment that I thought I would literally die without the epidural....this after all my fantasizing about home births and such. (major beat myself up moment). I have learned that this life thing, this pregnancy, this mother daughter thing, this relationship thing is what it is and at any point, at every point, we have the right and the obligation to choose. As mother's our choices have much greater impact and life after becoming a mother is never ever the same...our cheese has been moved forever! But like you, I have learned, that if we roll with it rather than try to control it...it's a really, really good thing.

Again, thank you so much for sharing...you did good.

KH
Brooklyn



Hi Rebecca—

Just sending an email to let you know how much I enjoyed your book.

I read it prior to the birth of my daughter and shared a lot of the same sentiments that you expressed. As a 26 yr old mother of 2 (both under 2, yes I’m nuts) I have found my ambivalence has put me in a space where some days I feel as if I’m doing everything I can as a mother but then there are other days where I find myself second guessing if I truly am. My boyfriend and father of my children has always expressed to me that I have not adjusted well to motherhood (asshole!), and before reading your book, I truly felt like I was the only one questioning if motherhood was truly my life’s path. Yet your book helped me to appreciate that motherhood and parenting comes in forms and that it is ok to question one's role in life.

Thanks again.
Sincerely,
DC



Ms. Walker,

For some reason I cannot possibly imagine that you will be the person actually reading this email regardless of the email address potentially tricking me--but nonetheless.

I am a 30 yr. old ambivalent woman on the career "track" and like you--feel blessed in my chosen partnership. My sister, amazing woman of two beautiful boys, lent me a copy of BABY LOVE which I just finished reading last night. We were struck by the description of your relationship with your mother--it is strangely similar to ours--I cannot possibly begin to explain to you how engulfed I became in your memoir and journey to motherhood. My spirit and I sincerely thank you for your work and look forward to reading more of yours (and yes, people do read your blog). Your words give me hope, confidence, laughter and inspiration.

At the chance that you are reading this--thank you, thank you, thank you. You must keep writing!

Cheers,
RK
Dallas



Hi, Rebecca. I have been a huge fan of your writing since I was in college and my (white, Jewish) mother bought me a copy of your autobiograpy. Even though I was in my early 20s, I was still shocked that there was someone else out there like me, black and Jewish. Even though I knew Lenny Kravitz, Lisa Bonet and others were mixed and part Jewish, you were the first one to embrace Judaism and the effect of the culture on your life. I am still a proud Jew, though in fairness, not really a practicing one! :-)

Anyway, I know you are busy but I just wanted to write and tell you I devoured Baby Love over the weekend. I am 3 months pregnant with my first baby. I never thought I wanted to be a mother and was so ambivalent about the whole thing. I secretly wished for a miscarriage just so I wouldn't have to actually make a decision as to whether or not I would keep the baby! I decided to go ahead with the pregnancy. It was a sort of Sex & The City Miranda moment. "Is this my baby?" But seeing my little doodlebug floating around in his amniotic sac for the first time a few weeks ago was one of the most beautiful moments of my life. I just wanted to thank you for telling your pregnancy story and for your honesty in the book. I am struggling with some of the same questions (OBGYN or midwife? to epidural or not to epidural?) and it was nice to hear that you, too, felt rushed by your doctor, but were still skeptical about giving up access to Western medicine during your labor. There are so many questions and such conflicting answers, but it's good to know you dealt with these things as well. I look forward to reading more about the life you've created for yourself with Glen and Tenzin in the future!

Best,
E



Hi Rebecca,

I stumbled across Baby Love recently when I was searching on "motherhood" in our local library and have just finished reading it. Recently I made the hard decision not to return to work, so as to continue caring for my 16 month old daughter, after 13 years as a full time worker and activist, so I am interested in reading about what other mothers are going through/have been through. Like your mother, my mother also resigned from her position as a mother and also grandmother (2 yrs ago). She has emotionally and physically cut herself off from myself and my three sisters and all of her grandchildren. She casually discussed with me the year before she did it that she didn't believe in unconditional love and that it was possible for a mother not to actually like their children.

She has since I was in my teens threatened to cut me off if I don't live by her rules. My father supported her with the threat of physical violence towards me. You have eloquently described how that feels so I won't go into my reaction except to say that it has been traumatic for all of us but has also liberated us all from a very controlling, hurtful and narcissistic mother. Your honesty and ability to tell the truth about motherhood has inspired me to be more open (although I am obviously not quite there yet). I also am trying to be the best mother I can be to my beautiful son. My sisters and I have decided to create a loving family and to stop the generational memory of emotional abuse. It is working - all cousins, nephews/nieces and aunties etc are happy and healthy. This would definitely not be the case if my mother were around.

I feel like I have a lot in common with you but then I read your guestbook and discovered that others feel the same – maybe it’s the raw honesty in your writing that connects us with your experiences? I conceived my son when I was 34. I had an abortion when I was 30 and had a strong sense that he had returned to me. I started strategizing about how to find and maintain a stable happy relationship and have a child, which I did.

If you ever come to France I would love to meet you. I could probably arrange a small book launch - I live in an area with a great bookshop.

With warmth and compassion,
ML
Fay de Payence



Dear Ms. Walker:

Just thought I'd drop you a line to thank you for writing Black White Jewish. As an emerging writer and a multiracial person of Jamaican, Ecuadorian, and Polish ancestry, I am very much encouraged by people like you who are not afraid to delve into the untidy subject of growing up in a mixed family. Unfortunately, it seems that some of the mixed-race writers currently on the scene gloss over the whole topic with a stance like: I’m black. I’ve always identified as black, but I do feel that as mixed people we have a different experience than both Blacks and Whites. And I believe that if more of us were forthcoming about our experiences, we would contribute a great deal to the discussion of race in America. Thank you again for your honest, moving, wonderful book.

All my best,
RA



I haven't yet finished "Baby Love" but it has been a transforming read thus far. I keep thinking that this book is the book my daughter must read when she comes of age ... to begin to understand what it is like to be a mother-in-waiting and now, a mother. My daughter Liza is three months, and I am so blessed to be reading your book at this moment. It is framing my days differently, and I am grateful for your insight and unabashed passion for motherhood.

I also appreciate your candor about your depression - this was an issue for me as well during and now in the post-partum period. There is comfort in kinship, even with a stranger.

This is my first exposure to your voice; you are an amazing writer. This book is such a gift. Thank you for writing it. It's the rare occasion when I hope like hell the book won't end.

Best to you -
J



Hello Rebecca,

I haven't quite finished reading Baby Love yet, but I wanted to say it's a great book. Being an adopted individual raised in a home with a biological child, I too felt the difference in the love doled out by my parents. To this day, I am now thirty years old, and it sits between us. I've walked around it several times but there is no mistaking that it is there.

Unlike my sister, who was also adopted, I have been able to acknowledge this difference and move on. It's still wrecking her life. I agree that becoming a mother has taught me, truly, what love is. A mother's love for her child is just indescribable (I think I made that word up) and so deep. Having my children taught me what love is and how it can be unconditional.

You mention in the book that you're a Buddhist. I took a class on Buddhism at Hunter College and the teacher was fabulous. I loved that class and the way it made me feel. I was just elated. I felt like one with the world. I was extremely happy. Buddhism touched me in a way that Christianity never did. Then the class ended and the books were put away and I lost that joy; not right away but over time. I seeped out and I didn't realize that it was leaking. Years later, I recalled that feeling and I often wonder how it got away from me. Your book reminded me that I must try to find that anew - it might be different this time.

Anyway, my struggle with my daughter is to be able to feel free to show her the love that was not shown to me. It's funny, but I don't have a problem with this with my son (I guess because the model was not based on mother son but mother daughter). So, I am constantly re-evaluating my interactions with my daughter, making notes as to how I could be more giving of affection, kind words, encouragement etc. Constantly going over the days picking out seeds of negativity before they bloom and spread. And yes, I had made the same decision as you, to keep my children away from my family for these reasons. I too, thought it was the best thing to do and it was and still is. Sometimes, especially in the beginning, I wished that I had support but I wasn't willing to trade their spirits for some off time.

Thanks for listening.
All my best to you and your family,
T



Hi Rebecca,

You signed a book to my boyfriend and I last week at the University of Puget Sound. Your talk really touched me at a time when I myself am struggling, learning, and loving the art of creative writing. Just this year I became an English Creative Writing major. What mostly interested me about your talk was the issue you presented to us about being a memoirist and how it affects the people you are writing about. The reason I want to write is because of my family and because of my mother. My family has become the source of my inspiration to write. I am most interested in telling my mother's story, the story of a woman who grew up in the south and ran to San Francisco to escape an abusive husband, the memory of rape, the death of a child, religious fanaticism and so much more, several years before I was born. Even so, my mother's experiences intertwined themselves with my own, causing me to learn about terrible secrets and evolving my perception of my family throughout my entire upbringing. Her story is one of survival and extreme triumph, but about both of us as well. Do you see the problem? Our stories are inseparable but in my opinion they must be told. If I were to write a book about it my mother would be upset and it could potentially leave my family in shambles. While I am not close to my extended relatives and mostly only have feelings of contempt towards them, I am not sure I want to be responsible for such an upheaval. I am half and half right now because also have an overwhelming urge to write it down and tell the world about what happened. And like you said, I realize that there is no easy solution, you write and make a sacrifice, or you don't, and make a sacrifice.

It was moving and inspiring to hear you speak because of this similarity. Ben and I have been reading your book, BWJ, aloud to each other, and ironically he's Jewish. We love it and can't wait to get to the end!

Your Friend,
AS



Hello Rebecca,

I am on page 59 of your book Baby Love, and it has brought me to grateful tears. I wanted to write and say THANK YOU. Thank you for writing my experiences and thoughts. I am 32 and seriously considering having a child on my own. I have struggled with my sexuality (finally accepting that I am bisexual and don't fit into any box, no matter how comfy they may be), with being an adult child of divorce (count 'em, 7, between my biological parents), with my financial battles (been on my own since 15). I have had the motherhood ache since a very young age, but like you, was thoroughly indoctrinated with the feminist values and ideals of education and independence. So I educated myself, moved to a bigger and brighter city, established a career I love (children's library services), found and lost or ran away from love several times, and now I feel the clock ticking and the desire for a child taking over my mind/body/life in a truly heart-and-soul-shaking way. I am terrified to do it, and terrified not to.

Your book is beautiful. It asks the questions that run through my mind on repeat daily, hourly. I don't know what is to come in the remaining pages, but I am here with my glass of wine and my gratitude, savoring every word.

THANK YOU for writing it down. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

B



Hi Rebecca,

I recently read your book, it was so amazing! I am a 32 year-old teacher in Georgia (from Boston originally) and I REALLY enjoyed reading and relating to your book. As a light complexion black woman I understood time and time again different feeling you conveyed in the book, of not belonging or trying to belong.

I was raised by my mother and step father, my mom is brown and my step dad is even darker. So when standing together it looked like I was adopted. My biological father is deceased. I take after him.

Because my mom wanted me to be able to gel in the real world I went to different schools, both private and public. I could relate to white kids, black kids and latinos. I liked white music (hall & oats) but also knew all the words to Run DMC's latest song. That balance is so tough to deal with! I went to white summer camps where we rode horses to black summer camps where we let boys chase us. Your book was like reliving so many experiences.

I shared the book with a coworker who grew up in New York and she too is enjoying it. Thank you for adding some spark to the lives of teachers, we affect the lives of children everyday, your story was a clear reminder of the things that have shaped and effected me.
THank you
Ayanna Cooper
Black, Light and Christian



Rebecca,

Years ago, Black, White and Jewish was given to me as a gift and it's words echo still echo in my mind. For the first time someone was able to put on paper all of the things that I felt as a bi-racial woman growing up in the 70's and having to split oneself between two worlds, neither of which felt quite right.

Now as a 38 year old lesbian in a deeply committed relationship, I'm excited to read Baby Love and experience your journey all over again. Having children rarely crosses my mind and when it does, the yearning is brief. Sometimes I imagine what my life would have been like if I had not "come out" at 28 - if I had remained within the straight world and did what came next after dating. I suppose I feel fortunate. I know a few lesbians who married men and had children before coming out and who are now dragging their teenagers into one same-sex relationship after another looking for Ms. Right.

Again, many thanks for your voice. I am truly a fan of your work and your evolution.

Regards,
TE



Dear Rebecca,

I was so moved by your article. Thanks for having the courage to be honest and to communicate something so integral to my life. I have a multicultural background as well (Mom is Mexican American, Dad is Haitian and Cuban). At an early young age, I saw through the fallacy of race and the myth of a racism free multicultural home. I do think our generation has seen through the myth of feminism. I do believe and advocate for woman's rights but I never confuse that with feminism. I grew up dreaming of business suits never a wedding dress. I was told you don't need men. But we do and they need us. I felt so guilty just being at home with my daughters as if I wasn't contributing to society. I am now content and feeling fulfilled in changing the world by raising strong discerning women. Thanks for affirming so much of my personal beliefs in your article and best wishes to you and yours!

JG



I just finished reading your article and I felt compelled to drop you a note of appreciation and affirmation ... so I searched Google till I found your email address.

As a father of two and grandfather of five who in his early years worried more about saving the world than enjoying his family, I wish every parent and parent-to-be on the planet could read the article.

Thank you for your insights and your magnificent ability to express them.

SR
San Antonio



Dear Ms. Walker,

I just read your interview regarding your relationship with your partner, son, and mother. I think you are very courageous and have made the right choice. Protecting one's heart is critical to happiness. Thank you for sharing your story.

I wish you much continued happiness and that you are soon successful in bringing a second child into your loving home. Your children are very blessed to have such a wise and loving self-taught mother. Congratulations on passing along the good parts of life's lessons to your family.

Sincerely,
Maggie



Dear Rebecca,

I never respond to writers so this will be my first time, but after I read your interview I was just so impressed by it and decided to write a little email to you.
I am so glad that finally you spoke up and acknowledged that feminism is not so great and that it actually hurts families and takes away a special gift that G-d gave to women - their femininity. Women need to finally understand that being a wife and a mother is wonderful and that being a mother is the most rewarding job we can do. In the end, when we no longer have our careers and when our bosses have replaced us by other more qualified and younger workers, we are left with nothing. On the other hand, mother's work is carried on and remembered for generations and a mother can never be replaced by "a younger and a more qualified" worker :) How we have raised our children and what kind of a job we have done with them will always matter.

After all, a woman is the one who brings a life into this world. So really, what other job can be more important than this? Again, thank you for writing this beautiful article and may G-d grant your wish for another child.

Best regards,

DR



Hi,

I just read your interview and I loved it!

I'm 34 at the moment and grew up reading heaps of books by various feminists - so much so that it influenced my life tremendously and sent me down a path which was ultimately soul destroying. I did well in high school, university, law school, etc. and had what I thought was heaps of fun being promiscuous and pretty much doing whatever made me feel good, whatever made me look like a strong, confident modern woman. But things always felt a lot different on the inside and I got tired at the amount of sheer hard work it took to project this image I thought I was meant to be.

As the Brits like to say, what a load of bollocks! I feel like I was conned! You know what I wish? I wish someone had sat me down and told me about self-respect and love and acceptance and that true freedom lies in doing what FEELS right for YOU, even if that doesn't entail following a 'modern woman' agenda as set out monthly in Cosmo magazine. Instead of ramming down my throat that all that mattered was a career and money and independence (even my mother who was a good mum believed I would be happier this way) I wish I had focused more on finding out who I really was. Maybe I can't place all the blame on Steinem et al but they were my influences.

Fast-forward a few years and by the grace of God I met my husband. We dated for about 9 weeks before we got married - crazy, happy times! But by the time I'd met him I was starting to crack. I didn't want to be a high-flying lawyer, I didn't want to keep sleeping around and going to endless clubs and drinking ridiculously expensive cocktails in my very tailored suits. I wanted to be me. And for whatever reason I didn't feel the need to be like that with him, I could just be me and that for me was so liberating. He didn't care if I practiced law or walked dogs or stayed home doing needlepoint. We've been married now 7 years (and 9 weeks!) and it's been the happiest time of my life. And despite being raised on a diet of 'men are bastards' I found one that isn't. Was I just lucky? Maybe. But I suspect there are millions more like him.

Sorry if I've babbled but your article really hit home with me. Besides feeling an ache in my heart when I read it, not only for your childhood, but for your brutal honesty and the pain of losing a mother that way. I'm so glad you love being a mother. I became a mother last November. My little girl is named Shana and there just aren't enough words in my vocabulary to express to you the joy and love I feel. I suspect you know anyway. I'll be 35 in August so a big family is going to be out of the question for me. I just wish I'd known.

My hope for Shana is that she grows up healthy and happy and confident in the fact that she is loved above all else by her parents who in turn love each other as well. I hope that in the end this love will see her through whatever decisions she makes later on in life. I truly wish the same for your son.

God bless,

BG



Hi Rebecca,

I just finished your book Baby Love. I loved it. Having had two babies of mine own, I found it to be very realistic and honest.

I wanted to have a baby around the age 25 when a friend of mine had her first. I met my husband right before my 26th b-day and we got married when I was 29. It took 4 1/2 years for us to conceive the child we so wanted. I did the shots and clomid, but stopped short of IVF. The day we were to go to find out more about adoption, I found out I was pregnant. As happy as I was, I did not enjoy pregnancy. I got sick every time I smelled chicken, any kind of meat or fish for the whole pregnancy.

With my daughter, Lily who will be 4 next month, I was in labor for 49 hours, had the epidural after 20 some odd hours, and then ended up having an emergency C-Section because she was in distress. No one told me about the pain I'd be experiencing either. Everyone on TLC's A Baby Story looked so calm as they had their babies compared to what I went through.

I had my son, Joshua last July. It was a much different experience, because I had a scheduled C-Section. The hospitals where I live do not do V-Bacs for insurance reasons. It was strange knowing exactly when he would grace us with his presence.

You sound extremely healthy after your experience. With my son, I ended up with post-natal depression, which I did not experience with my daughter. It was so bad that I ended up needing to take Lexapro, something I never thought I'd have to do. At 6 weeks, he ended up with Piloric Stenosis, which is what I think your friend's baby had, where he threw up everything I fed him. He needed surgery. Luckily that's right about when the Lexapro kicked in, because I don't think I could have been as strong as I was if I didn't have the medicated help I needed.

I don't really know why I'm writing you to tell you all of this, but as an "older" Jewish mom (I was 35 when Sarah was born and 38 with Jacob), I felt like I bonded to you in some weird non-stalkerish way.

Best wishes from one mamma to another,

DS


Dear Rebecca,

Thank you for Black, White and Jewish. I look forward to Baby Love.

I am a Mother, Jewish and White (I think....). In reality we may all be of many different 'origins' but most importantly I hope I'm just a good person. That is my goal for my four children to be 'good people' and that is what I always tell the teachers at school conferences.

Our Norwalk Hadassah Book Group is doing Black, White and Jewish next week. I look forward to the conversations this will create. Our Chapter is made of many woman from a variety backgrounds, primarily Jewish, but with families created in many different manners.

Thank you again,
TF



Dear Rebecca.

Its so funny saying "Dear Rebecca" but after just finishing Baby Love, (and I mean like five minutes ago) I felt compelled to write you. Felt compelled to call you DEAR because you are now dear to me.  I am a single parent. And I wanted to read your book because while my story is different...You spoke to so much in me about the process one goes through becoming a parent.

I grew up in Houston. I was given everything I ever wanted and worked hard in school. I was the apple of my parents eye, and even when they hated each other, they adored me. I had a perfectly lovely childhood. My parents did alot to make sure I didn't see to much of the disintegration of their marriage.

My mother died twelve years ago. She was a passionate, sad, beautiful alcoholic who died next to a container of her own bile that her liver could no longer process. She gave me my love of books and theater, and was the one who convinced me to move to England to go to Drama School. She made me feel a love so strong that when she died I was somewhat aimless. I felt myself wondering around. Like I'd been smacked in the head with a frying pan that "WYLEE COYOTE" left for me to run into. Some how something in me told me that I needed to have a baby. That a baby would calm the dizziness.

Needless to say, my family did not approve. Through most of my pregnancy, I was alone. My family made no bones about the fact that having a child without a husband was against everything they believed in. And when I had my son, finally, I was even more alone than before. David was born six weeks premature, and spent ten days in the NICU. I sat by his bed and watched him breathe, wearing the little fake sun glasses they put on the jaundice babies. I didn't know what to do. Didn't know how to do it. Except I knew that I would hold my hands to a hot stove if it meant my son would be healthy and safe.  Oh if I could take away his pain and his rough start on this planet!

Eventually things got better, and when the glasses came off I looked into those blue eyes, and saw my mothers eyes. I saw how connected we all are, and how we come back in different shapes and sizes. And I knew, that however tough it got, I could do it. That he was a way of remembering the past, while experiencing a brilliant new future.

BABY LOVE was wonderful. I got to see I wasn't alone in my journey. I know that of course I wasn't alone, but when you are there, in the thick of it, the loneliness can be overwhelming. The fear can be paralyzing. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving that period of life a voice. As I said, not my story, but oh so familiar.

Peace for you and your beautiful son.

GF



Rebecca,

I just read your interview in the Daily Mail.  I am not sure I can quite find the words to tell you how powerful I found it.

I am a writer and a journalist as well, and have found that being forced to articulate how I became who I am today involves introspection at every step, much of it uncomfortable even when the topic at hand seems benign.

I will confess to you now, I am politically conservative (which is often a deathknell when talking to other writers...it seems many forms of diversity are embraced unless you are a conservative) and your experiences spoke to some of the road I have traveled.

My mother, though a flower child, is a very maternal woman and I am blessed to have her.  But my family as a whole was steeped in the politicizing of any and every issue.  My grandmother, though good to me, sounds very much like your mother.  When she caught me with Barbies one day, they were marched off to the garbage.

While my mother balanced the messages of pop culture and Gloria Steinem, and frankly your mother, it left me very torn and confused.  Were they not all telling me to be empowered?  Listen to my inner-voice?  My inner-voice screamed motherhood...stay at home Betty Crocker motherhood, and yet I felt guilty.  I felt that somehow, I was letting down the sisterhood.

When I became pregnant at 25, newly married, I had my daughter and still could not embrace what I wanted and needed to do.  I worked for 3 years, crying in the parking lot of daycare almost daily.  When I became pregnant again, we made the downsizing moves needed to keep me home.  I was able to stay home for 10 years, raising my 3 to school age, before returning to work.  Even now I wish I were home (divorce and remarriage to a man with an angry feminist ex-wife who screams I am woman hear me roar but demands alimony...don't get me started) but my job is second to my family in every way and I would tell them to pound sand before missing a baseball game or back to school night.

I am not sure why I felt such a need to write to you...but I was terribly moved by your story and so proud to see someone from my generation stand up to the culture war.

You will get a great deal of attention from conservatives...please know that there are many of us who came to our ideological conclusions because of the very path you walked.  I hope you will come to find that many of us are not what the media and the political parties would like to portray.  We all have freak flags to fly...

If you are interested in an interview, let me know and I would be happy to do a piece for Human Events.  That might not be the audience you are seeking, but I think that the message you have to offer is so powerful and can do so much for our generation.

You mother does not speak for this woman, Rebecca, she never did.  But it seems that you just might.

Enjoy your journey in motherhood...my oldest is 15 now and I almost weep at how quickly it is all going.

Thank you for your powerful story...it was deeply effecting.

Regards,
MK


Hi Rebecca,

I just happened on an outdated issue of Real Simple and grabbed to read on my elliptical trainer, and I read your article on neatness.  My life is that exactly. After reading your story, I finally feel validated and also see that there is an in between, as hard as it may be to see.  I hope that makes sense to you. By reading your story, I feel that it is alright to be neat, but you don't have to be ALL the time.  I thank you, and I know my family (husband, two boys 5 and 3 and one beautiful little girl 6 months) thank you, too.

GH
Boston


Hello Rebecca, I've just finished reading Baby Love and I was absolutely blown away. It is definitely my intention now to read every memoir, essay, article, anthology, commentary, criticism, pamplet, scribbled note, etc. you've ever written and will ever write.

Your writing is so honest, and you take so many emotional risks. You have the courage I want; the self-awareness I long for; the inner beauty and freedom I only dream about having. You are beautiful in every sense of the word. Our paths may never cross as we live and work in two different worlds, but I would like to say thank you for sharing your truth with the world, for in doing so, you have encouraged me to do the same.

I pray blessings upon you, Tenzin, and Glen, and I pray that God would surround me with people who sharpen me like iron as you have.

Take care Rebecca.  

Hi Rebecca,

I just finished reading your book Baby Love and felt compelled to send out a big thank you. Reading about your experience was so refreshing and beautiful.  I am a new mum, my daughter River Marika is 9 months and I have a partner who has blessed my life.  Looking back I am shocked how scared I was to have a baby, and also how I now want to be a participant in my own life, rather than watch others.  You said it so well!

I too, had a nomadic mother who believed that her kids should be adaptable to her lifestyle no matter what.  I found it interesting to read how you need structure as I feel the same way. I thought this was due to my mothers personality, but now think it has some generational stuff mixed in too.

Oh, baby is waking up from the nap, must go.

Anyways, thank you for sharing your journey.

All the best to you,

LC, Canada

Check out the guest book from the original site for more thoughts from readers. 

Comments:

Comment #1 by Anonymous on December 14, 2008 - 2:28pm

Hello Rebecca,

Reference your comments in the article "Obama's True Colors."

Rebecca Walker, a 38-year-old writer with light brown skin who is of Russian, African, Irish, Scottish and Native American descent, said she used to identify herself as "human," which upset people of all backgrounds. So she went back to multiracial or biracial, "but only because there has yet to be a way of breaking through the need to racially identify and be identified by the culture at large."

I commend you for being willing to think in terms "outside the box" which many people in the world cannot or will not do. My mother, a school teacher in the South, used to tell me that the "true color" of a person was revealed by his or her character, not the skin-color.
I, too, have checked more than one box on government forms which ask for a person to identify which ethnic group he or she belongs.

Actually, from an anthropologist's viewpoint, there is no "white" or "black" ethnic group, just as there is no "Irish" or "Scottish" or "African" ethnic group; those are cultural groups.

In fact, your use of the term "human" is the most accurate identification.

No skin colors and no cultural groups; just human.

Sad how we tend to miss the most obvious answers, isn't it?

I wish you the best in the days ahead, and I hope you return to your "human" indentification. You were right.

Ronald L. Bracy, Ph.D.
Lt Col, USAF, Retired

Comment #2 by Danaé on December 16, 2008 - 1:46am

Dear Rebecca,

Last night I finished reading your book Black White And Jewish and found myself completely inspired. There are few people in the world I find relatable and willing to call my hero but you are definitely it for me.

I am an 18 year old young woman who comes from a white mother and a black father. My mother had me when she was only 18 and my father was 21. They both struggled to raise me until I was 7 and my little brother was 5. Eventually my father choose a life of drugs and bad choices over us and left for good. My life has been spent trying to survive financially and racially. Although my mother made it very clear to my brother and I that we are biracial and "special" I still felt like it was wrong for me to be proud of what I was.

My father represented everything that went wrong in my life and for that I hated him. I hated everything he was including a black man. His parents were highly educated African Americans and were willing to help my mother out when they could. After awhile they stopped and moved away. With that I found another reason to resent a side of myself, the "black side", because of the reoccurring abandonment from "my people".

My mother went on to date only black men. Every one of them had serious issues most of them on drugs, in and out of jail, abusive, or in some kind of gang. These black men were constantly making my life difficult by stealing my mother's rent or grocery money and using it to get high. If not that then they were beating my mother and brother right before my eyes. Although my time spent around these men was mostly horrible, there were some benefits. I was exposed to their families and friends whom were black and taught me a lot about the culture I had lost when my father left.

When my mother moved us to Oakland, CA to live with her boyfriend at the time I experienced my first racist encounter. I would go outside to play with the other girls my age who were black by they refused to go near me. They told me "uppity bitches" weren't allowed to jump rope and I should go back home to my "cracker" mother.

When my mom moved us back home to San Jose, CA I was excited. I felt like I finally didn't have to deal with such blunt racism but I was sooooo wrong. I attended elementary school in the suburbs and found myself in constant uncomfortable positions about my race. I was always forced to play Scary Spice when my white friends and I pretended to be the Spice Girls. I would complain and say I want to be Baby Spice who was white with blonde hair and they would deny my request because I was being "ridiculous and unreal". When I would play house with the white girls I was forced to be the servant. When I asked why, the leader of our pack told me I should "shut up and do as a nigger does". That was the first time I was ever in trouble at school. I pushed our leader off of the playground causing her to break her arm.

Before I was in middle school I hated being mixed but eventually I began to feel like it was the best thing in the world. It made me different. It made me unique. It made me Danaé. I found friends who didn't care what I was and if they did it was because they admired me for it.

Once I entered high school I spent my free time reading more about black culture, social struggles, and political change that has occurred for all kinds of groups of people. Its helped me love myself more for being half black but it didn't help me fully feel excepted. I still had a white side to me. I couldn't identify totally because I knew I was still unalike.

I began research on people who were mixed like me and found information about you. Rebecca Walker. I bought your book as soon as I could and didn't put it down unless I was going to bed. You helped me find a sense of community and completion. I am biracial and I don't have to be anything but that. Not one side of me is more important then the other. All that matters is being true to myself.

Thank you for helping me. Thank you for inspiring me. Thank you for being like me.

Sincerely,

Danaé

Comment #3 by Super Amanda on December 17, 2008 - 1:17am

Hi Rebecca,

I am so pleased to discover you blog, when I read "White, Black and Jewish" it was the first autobiography I had ever read that felt not only 100% honest and authentic but also generously cringe inducing in all the best ways. As you spent much of your childhood in the SF/Bay Area as I did I was charmed by all the references to familiar places and peoples. Being a rocker I was easily able decipher that identity of the nearly blind racist record producer and father of one of the boys you dated as a teenager whose identity you kept anonymous. I tried to include a reference to your autobio on his wikipedia page but it was removed.

You've touched many different people for all the best reasons and I look forward to much more.

Thanks again,
Amanda Casabianca
aka Super Amanda

Comment #4 by Dayna Johnson on February 10, 2009 - 10:39pm

Hey Rebecca,

Last night I finished ingesting Baby Love and I almost can't believe the emotional connection I felt to the words on the pages. Written so honest and openly, I was so drawn to your journey because it was on the same spectrum as mine. The fear and questioning your own connection to family. Your spirit is amazing. Thank you!

Comment #5 by Radiancy on March 14, 2009 - 12:15am

Re: Your article on "How my mother's fanatical views tore us apart"

I met your mom in Los Angeles over 13 years ago at a book signing. I was a giggle shy student and a great fan of hers at the time. Alice Walker gave me a really cruel response to a compliment I gave her. I'm multi-racial and I did not know at the time she had a bi-racial daughter. I stopped being a fan of hers at that moment that I saw the hateful look in her eyes. I knew something was wrong. I do know why she insulted me, but I assumed it was it had something to do with my white-multi-racial skin. Alice Walker is a very talented writer, but she, like some resentful mothers, is very human and full of faults. Find your own loving mother from within - its called "reparenting." Find those blessings from being from both your parents. They are there. You'll move past the pain she has caused you. It's Alice Walker's hang-up not yours. Learn to love yourself. She did the best she could if she could have done better she would have.

Comment #6 by Reese on May 9, 2009 - 10:41pm

Becca,

I just finished Black, White and Jewish and Baby Love (I read fast. I just wanted to tell you that I loved them both....from one multi racial child to another you are an inspiration. Though I was born in 1985 and times were a little different, it never gets easier to be multi racial...My mother is a Native American/ White catholic, my dad is an Ethiopian/Black Muslim (yeah they messed me up lol). I was so confused growing up because I didn't know who to identify with. Your book (BWJ) touched me like no other and made me feel that someone else understood the issues that multi racial children experienced then and now... You brought them to light...
As far as Baby Love, I do not have any biological children as of yet, but I am engaged to a man with a daughter and we get along famously and I love her to no end. However I know there will never be another love like the one you have with something you helped to make...Your brilliant!
Thank You,
Reese

Comment #7 by ole lady on May 24, 2009 - 1:52am

Hello, Rebecca,
You are a beautiful and gifted woman. Your path is so clear. Stay on it You already have everything you need.I totally understand this strain between you and your mom.I read the article about your relationship and I swear, she sounds like MY mom Rebecca. Hopefully you and she will reconcile.
I had to 'divorce' my children and myself from my mom for a few years. She was an entertainer (local). And quite competitive toward me. She also felt children were a burden. I began leaning toward my dad and his 'new' family and though they were all loving, let's face it, no one is like Mom. I missed her. In her later years, my mom began feeling very lonely and left out. Other family members and friends started to see that she had some deep rooted problems. They didn't associate with her either. My children were no longer babies.(she couldn't influence them much) so I decided to work on our relationship. She didn't, WOULDN'T DARE, come to me. I had to do it. I had to study HER past, HER unfulfilled dreams etc. I learned that she never really 'bonded' with me but passed me to other family members. (see, sounds like Alice) It was like studying for a project, methodically taking baby steps to communicate with her. Eventually it paid off (A good friend kept me focused). She died a few years ago and I'm so glad that I made that decision. We became friends. She said she ADMIRED the way I parented. (I almost fell over). You may not be able to talk to your mom right now. The pain is great and you have a child to raise -YOUR PRIORITY and something she doesn't 'get' right now. But hopefully you two will bond in the future.I hope my story helped some.
Peace and much love to you and your family,dear Rebecca

Comment #8 by Dianne on July 31, 2009 - 1:23am

Rebecca,

I went through an amazing journey (with you) over the last couple of days. I title it, Baby Love. It was the most insightful book I have ever read. Thank you Rebecca, for giving me the strength and advice, that I feel is necessary to all woman wanting to have a baby. My significant other and I have decided to start trying to concieve. Lately, I have felt anxious and worried about whether I will be a good mother and if the absense of my own mother will affect the love I will feel for my offspring. However, after reading your book, I have no doubt in my mind that I would (unconditionally) love my child and/or children. No one could ever stand in my way of me loving my child and/or children. I would do anything to protect my offspring. Thanks to your book, you have become my idol and I envy the strength that you carried with you during the journey of your pregnancy and arrival of your son Tenzin. You are greatly appreciated.

Respectfully,
Dianne

Comment #9 by Jessica on October 23, 2009 - 7:26am

Rebecca,
I have read all your books, and to date, it's like I live a little bit of them almost everyday. I am 23 years old and am helping co-parent my three godchildren. My best friend, their cousin, nad her family took custody about 2 years ago when their biological mother died. So, we went from no kids in the hours to three in just a few days. Sometimes, I feel like this is enough, and am lucky enough to have lots of help and support.
I am finishing college, a pihlosophy major and a women studies and religious studies minor, and learn that after not having my mother in my life very much after I came out as bisexual at 19, we had to get in touch. And we had to work on our relationship. My mother once told me that I was the result of a night when my father got drunk and
my mother said no. It was a realization into motherhood and parenthood. I am trying to learn from her mistakes and
let these kids know that they are wanted and loved. Some
days are very hard, some are easy (there 6,5 and 2.)
Everyday, it is a constant descision to raise them to be respectful and as accepting as possible. Also, one issue we tackle is gender, but one day the 5 year old asked, "Is your date with a boy or girl tonight?"
All I could do is laugh. Kids know. The only thing I know as a co-parent, is love, patience, and war is the only way to raise.
As well, I was embedded in a realtionship with a woman who is biracial (Caucasian and African American and Jewish) and went through so many identity crises with her, we had to end after 5 years together.
And after reading your books because my women's studies professor introduced me to your work, I learned to put it all in a global context and go day to day.
Thank you,
Jessica

Comment #10 by Kari Ann Owen on December 11, 2009 - 5:19am

I am horrified by the many stories of rejection by mothers of their daughters and their daughters' children.

At this time, I am finally examining my feelings about my mother, who died ten years ago. She was withholding, at times verbally abusive, withheld food from my older sister which sent her begging to the neighbors. And she assisted my father in molesting me.

I always felt freakish because I never (so I thought) knew anyone else who had been a sexual victim of their own mother, or had been rejected by their mother emotionally. How wrong I have been.

Please accept my gratitude for Rebecca Walker's frank examination of her mother's responsibility for the horrifying act of rejecting her own daughter, and how an authoritarian interpretation of feminism has done such harm to those feminism was supposed to uplift and support: women.

Every person whose story I have read here has my support and understanding.

I direct a horseback riding program for the disabled and the abled, and every day I meet parents who are incredibly devoted to their sons and daughters. These parents face incredible obstacles, particularly in finding funding support for their children's therapeutic needs. I have never seen any parent abuse or reject a child in our riding program, and my own healing is strengthened by the dedication of these inspiring heroes and heroines.

Comment #11 by BossHawk on December 21, 2009 - 1:38am

Rebecca,

I have quickly become your captive fan. I'm a black man and I admit that I bristle at anything that remotely resembles feminism. I hate the "feminist ideology". I truly hope that one day your mother can learn from you and be humble enough to resolve her differences with you and realize she has a wonderful daughter. She truly should appreciate that she gave life to a marvelous human being. Hopefully, she'll put her selfishness aside and come to enjoy a familial relationship with you and your son. I'm sure that remains your hope. I pray that will happen soon!

In the mean time; continue to do what you do. Don't harbor resentment toward your mother. Give her time. Even the great Alice Walker can be humble and acknowledge her errors.

Comment #12 by Mike on January 5, 2010 - 5:38pm

I think any mother should be proud to have a daughter like you. I can only hope that my kids will grow up to do something amazing with their lives.

Comment #13 by Helen on January 18, 2010 - 12:03am

Dear Rebecca Walker,
I Recently (end of December) read your novel Autobiography of a shifting self after reading an excerpt from the novel in a collection of short stories I read. After reading the novel I was impressed with the way you told your story so I decided to follow up on you, I read Baby Love.
It shocked me to learn about your estrangement from your mother. However it surprised me even more when I stumbled upon (via Internet) several articles and statements where you publicly discussed the conflict with your mom. My question to you is: Why are you handling the relationship between the two of you in such a public matter? It seems to me that if you were sincere in your efforts to reconcile the relationship you would handle things differently. Or however if you are relieved by your mom's decision to stay estranged you would just keep quiet and forget about it and stay focused on your son, husband, and career. I understand that you have the right to have the right to to tell your truth the way you want, and also that you have the right to say whatever you want. I'm just curious as to why you are allowing the public into such a sensitive relationship. Coming from an outsiders point of view I don't know the In's and outs of the relationship. But I will say that by you making such public statements it seems as if you are taking advantage of the rocky relationship. Please take no offense. As a reader this is just how I see it.

Thanks for reading please respond.

helentuneich@rocketmail.com

Comment #14 by Liz on January 20, 2010 - 3:32am

Thank you Rebecca,
I just read Baby Love and it is the first book in years that I couldn't put down. Your writing style is captivating, being authenticaly real. I live with my partner and we are ambivalent about children as we approach our 30's. Your story of bringing your son into the world was inspiring and hopeful because it wasn't the usual cookie cutter brand of what being pregnant and having a baby is, unlike most of what I feel is being fed to young women. Thank you so much for telling it how it was for you. I will be sure to read your other books!

Liz, Canada

Comment #15 by Melinda on February 1, 2010 - 8:07pm

Hi

I just finished reading Black,White and Jewish and I completely relate to you.Although I am not Biracial (Black)
I was also teased for "acting white".I'm 25 now and it still gets to me,hopefully authors like yourself will continue to discuss Black issue and Women's issues .

Comment #16 by a on February 2, 2010 - 3:41am

Hi Rebecca, I read through Baby Love last night, and the intro to One Big Happy Family. I feel so haunted by your account of how your mother treated you, partly because I have also had an extremely difficult and painful relationship with my mother. I came home and did a search on you and her, and one of the things I came across was Phyllis Chesler's article in Salon on how you shouldn't have written the truth about your upbringing.

Anyway, I wanted to send a supportive note, since many prominent people seem to think your truth-telling is outrageous - even the comments that followed the article were pretty clueless.

First, your account has helped me and others who have had difficult relationships with our mothers. I would be so much worse off if other women kept silent about such things, though I admit I do - it's too painful to discuss and too complicated, and I do feel protective of her. But she is a private person, not a public one. (As is Chesler's mother, by the way - I don't know if her mother would have preferred being written about her after her death, when she can no longer tell her own version.) And also I am not writing memoir. If I were, I would not leave that part out. Nothing is more central than our mothers in shaping our lives. Nothing is more painful than a dysfunctional relationship with our mothers. Or the loss of a relationship with a mother because of her cruelty, dysfunction, bigotry, misogyny.

I do disagree with some of your conclusions: I think you too broadly identify your mother as the embodiment of Second Wave Feminism, and attribute her problems to the philosophies of feminists of her generation. You have given me a lot to think about -- I am at the cusp between their generation and gen x, and don't identify with either, but learn from both. But my mother was a stay at home mom with five kids. However, my mother more closely resembled your biological mother than your stepmother. I had concluded that if only she had worked outside the home, she would have had more self-esteem and would have been a better mother. I think there is truth to that, but it is very interesting reading your contrasting experience with your stay at home step mother versus your mother who was out in the world gaining great self-esteem. I think our conclusions might get too simplistic, in our desire to figure out exactly what the problem was. As daughters our knowledge of what shaped them, their unresolved issues, is limited.

But I don't mean to go in the direction of excuses. It seemed that Chesler's article wanted to excuse the atrocious treatment because your mother is a "world class talent" and that women can't both mother well and be great writers. Nonsense. There are many great writers who have mothered well. Louise Erdich, I believe, had six kids, and has always been very prolific. And Chesler had no business saying your step mother had no writing talent. What a statement! In any case, you are very lucky to have had the step mother you had - many stay at home mothers are not decent mothers. Count your blessings that you saw an alternative way to mother, and that you had this alternative, though intermittently. Also, I hope you won't think this thought intrusive, but imagine from her perspective how it is to be the "secondary" mom, in every sense, in terms of legal rights, authority over your life, and so on, while you were growing up. I heard you say in an interview I think on GMA (posted on youtube) that you felt she loved you less than her biological children. But it sounds like she loved you more than your biological mother. (And much more than many women's biological - and only - mothers loved us). I just wonder if she would let herself love you just as much as she did her biological children if she had become your only mother. If she is constantly trumped by your biological mother, who is competitive with her, and who has total authority as your mother, who she has to give you up to every two years, for two years, it makes sense that she would keep at least some emotional distance. There are some parents who swear they love their adopted kids as much as their biological ones. (Like A Jolie and B Pitt) Maybe they do.

Anyway, I have so many thoughts on what you wrote. I could go on and on, and I have it looks like. But basically I hope you don't let the second wave feminists who rally in support of your mother intimidate you, or make you regret telling the truth - something your mother always claimed was so important. Her writing, which was assigned reading when I was in college, is full of personal accounts of her life, and the people in them, always making herself look good, often making other people look bad, many of whom would never have any opportunity to publicly counter her portrayals. She righteously holds people's feet to the fire, in a very subjective way. She was even amused by the anger some of her family members had of her portrayal of them.

Why does she think other people's feet should be held to the fire, but not hers? It pains me to think that she was leaving you alone for days at a time when you were 13, so she could write, with such a righteous attitude, about the wrongs other people have done. It would seem from her own writing that she believes in accountability, in being publicly talked about and exposed for mis-thoughts, mis-statements, and wrong behavior. But her allies think she should be immune? I think, btw, child protection would nowadays find this kind of neglect grounds to remove a child from the home. I'm also wondering why she insisted on sharing custody if she felt so burdened by having to care for you that she was relieved you were having sex at 13. It sounds like it was about vanity, possessiveness, and competitiveness with your step mother. Anyway, people may object to your truth-telling, but the truth is it makes many of us who have been treated badly by "angel" mothers feel much less crazy and self-blaming.

If you haven't read it yet, I recommend How To Cook Your Daughter by Jessica Hendra. It is very moving and helpful. It is about sexual abuse (and other abuse) she experienced from her famous father who wrote about his own life, conveniently leaving out those little details. He disowned her for exposing him. More harrowing experiences, but a similar dynamic of a narcisstic parent who prioritizes things like public reputation over personal accountability.

I wish you well Rebecca. I disagree with you on many political points, but you seem like a warm generous honest talented woman, not to mention brave as hell, and I am grateful for your work, painful as it is sometimes to read. Int the end it helps make the world a better place.

Comment #17 by Saranah Holmes on February 13, 2010 - 10:55pm

Dear Rebecca,

Today I finished "Baby Love". I am 34 and not in a relationship nor am I pregnant, but I connected with your experience in many ways. I too have always assumed I would have a child, but the how and when of it is a huge source of contemplation for me. I can see myself experiencing some of the same thoughts and feelings you did. I too am Black and White and my mother is Jewish and I grew up in San Francisco (I went to Lowell- class of 93:). I can't really express in words what is going on in my head, but thank you for sharing your experiences and I am looking forward to reading One Big Happy Family.

Comment #18 by Catherine on February 27, 2010 - 10:55pm

Dearest Rebecca,

You are my hero.

Sincerely,
Someone who stumbled onto you while doing homework for ENC 1102.

Comment #19 by rebecca on March 23, 2010 - 8:10pm

Hi Helen,

No offense taken--though posting your questions eight times was a bit much. In any case, here's a very good interview with NPR in which I addressed many of these issues. I'm interested to hear your response. 

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=92373475

Peace. 

Rebecca

Comment #20 by Sung Choi on April 11, 2010 - 2:04am

Dear Rebecca,

As I read the introduction to What Makes a Man, my eyes welled up with tears. I felt understood-- in ways I feared I might not ever be understood. Your words seemed so familiar. Perhaps, I had read them years before, but perhaps I was in a different place back then.

Unlike your son, I don't think I consciously came to ask "maybe girls will like me if I play sports" until the middle of my years as an undergrad. (It's a long story with a happy ending but part of it entailed reading what I thought amounted to poison at the time: Neil Strauss' The Game) As a result, my true self was able to blossom more fully than it would have otherwise (although becoming a feminist nice guy seems like it was equally motivated by a desire to be loved by women as it was by my "true self"), but as my romantic misfortunes piled up my world turned dark. I resisted change. I clung on to my "authentic", but downward spiraling, self. I clung desperately to my belief that I would be loved for who I was, but I did not know for how much longer my courage would endure. Eventually I learned not to fear change. I learned to have confidence and feel entitled to happiness. I learned to tease and not take life too seriously. I learned that I didn't have to "play sports" and that I would be loved for who I was. Today, I am heartened, but things remains difficult-- for the world your son and I live in hasn't changed much.

I am very thankful to you and to my friend Nicole (at http://talkingbackrevolution.blogspot.com/) for (re)introducing me to your work and for helping me to find the courage to question "truths" publicly.

I recently quit my Master's program in England. But, I had some transformative experiences there. On the first day of Gender Divisions and Feminist theory class, I felt thoroughly alienated. We talked about whether or not we considered ourselves feminists. I was the only man in the room. I thought of myself as a feminist and wanted to declare it, but I felt afraid. I felt like I was not allowed to be a feminist. I felt like I would not be welcome. It was odd. In college, I reveled in the fact that I was one of a few men in gender/women's studies class. I felt special, like I wasn't one of "them". But that day, I felt alone and unwelcome. I also felt deserted by my brothers, those I needed beside me fighting to reconstruct masculinity and free ourselves of our gendered chains.

I increasingly became disillusioned with feminism and by luck my best friend there brought up the topic of men's movements. I had found an ally in my work to unbind men. I began to read masculinist works beginning with Warren Farrell. That was incredibly transformative, but still there was something wrong with it as well. The men and women of his generation seemed stuck in a battle of the sexes model of gender and gender change. But, for me, it's about how we construct each other. Feminist dreams will not be fulfilled without men and masculinist dreams will not be achieved without women. I think my generation's skepticism of feminism is a blessing not a curse.

I've been trying to sketch out my vision for a relational gender movement ever since beginning with a blog: http://androgynist.wordpress.com The writing's not very good and it's quite frightening putting myself out there, but I am glad to share some of my thoughts. I've also been trying to get more men involved in the gender conversation-- still trying.

I just started What Makes a Man and One Big Happy Family, but I have no doubt that they will be sources of great inspiration.

Thank you for so much,

Sung

Comment #21 by Anino on April 17, 2010 - 9:47pm

Loved both of your books, especially "Baby Love." I just turned 39, and I've been weighing the pros and cons of having a baby at this point in my life. I appreciate your willingness to be real and to share your experiences. I do hope that you will be able to reconcile with your Mom. I'm hoping and praying that some healing will come about for you.

Comment #22 by Francesca on April 28, 2010 - 4:53pm

Dear Rebecca,
I'm a 24 years Italian student, who just gets involved with feminism, sexual ambivalence and never thinks about pregnancy and babies..but the title "Baby Love" made me try to read you book about all those so strange and far things from me..and WOW!!I could never expect such a intimate reading, so true and pure..just the essential of what pregnancy is about..L.O.V.E..
Thank you for write this beautiful diary..It has changed my mind..
Francesca, Italy

Comment #23 by Anonymous on May 13, 2010 - 12:01am

Dear Rebecca,

I had an opportunity to be apart of the Essence Chat towards the end. When I clicked on your website and found out that you were the author of Black, White, and Jewish I had to tell you how much I enjoyed the book. This book has helped me realize that we all have a unique story that everyone can learn from. It also has taught me about how to love myself for who I am despite the obstacles that may arise in my life. I wish you well in your future endeavors.

Comment #24 by Anonymous on May 15, 2010 - 4:20pm

Dear Rebecca,

We are multiple biracial people writing to you. We have read your book recently and read about your abortion at 14. We were wondering why you were this roudy as a teen and are wondering if you are still sexually frustrated. We have also heard some of the speeches you have made and want to understand why you feel bad for yourself. Why?

Thanks, and ok book!

Comment #25 by Anonymous on May 15, 2010 - 4:20pm

Dear Rebecca,

We are multiple biracial people writing to you. We have read your book recently and read about your abortion at 14. We were wondering why you were this roudy as a teen and are wondering if you are still sexually frustrated. We have also heard some of the speeches you have made and want to understand why you feel bad for yourself. Why?

Thanks, and ok book!

Comment #26 by Monique english on June 4, 2010 - 11:49pm

Hello, I have read your book Black White and Jewish.. I jusst wanted to commend you on your bravery and honest on the topic of "biracial or mixed race. Now, here is my story, Even though outwardly I look like a black woman but my background is also Cherokee and East Indian(fourth generation East Indian) I have what they now call mixed race hair similar to yours. what I want to share with those out there about this so called issue of mixed race, is that you or ayone else should never have to decide or pick over any culture. You or we are uniquely beautiful and you are not half you are a whole person who just happen to have parents of two different cultures. And I emphasize culture because there is only one race HUMAN. The only person that is biracial is Spock(half human half vulcan).To say Half or anything else is ridiculous. So please when anyone ask about your ethinicity don't ever say half just simply say what you are without splits.When people look at my hair thats the first thing that comes to mind what areyou mixed with or when they look at my face are you from the Islands. And I simply tell them what I am even though society says I'm just black. And no I'm not ashamed of being black but my blackness isn't the only thing that i or anyoneelse should lay claim to. In fact I love telling people what my background is because when a Racist person tells me to go to Africa, I simply tell them I am home and I don't have to go anywhere,my people the Indians where here first.So technically your the foriengner not me. So all you multicutural people out there who look or don't look it embrace who you are and live Free. Peace love and light Oh and by the multicutural people should show the world the beauty of two parents of different cultures who come toghether and have children that when we all set aside our stupid notions of racial superiorty that there is beauty in all cultures and we are shining examples of that.

Comment #27 by Mark Seer on June 19, 2010 - 12:06pm

Hello, I have read your book Black White and Jewish...I don't have words ro appreciate your writing ...after reading the book.. .I think God gives you different life than us...I have read many books but after reading this book I cant explain how I feel...

Thanks and regards,
Mark Seer

Comment #28 by Amanda Casabianca-Whelan on July 17, 2010 - 1:37am

Hi Rebecca,

It has been 17 months to the day since I first read your blog . In that period, I got married, had a baby, moved overseas and due to your thought-provoking words and website, I began to explore many avenues of race and feminism that I thought I already knew. I realize now how little I knew and still don't know when I thought I was so learned. I also had no idea how scared I was/am. The journey continues. Thanks to you again because if I'd never come here I'd still be back there.

Hope your summer has been happy,
xoxAmanda

Comment #29 by JEY on August 23, 2010 - 4:48pm

Hi Rebecca,
I have just read Baby Love, I like so many of your other readers loved it, i thought I wished I had read it earlier, but I also believe books find me when I am receptive to their content.

I found myself laughing outloud one moment at the trials of how to make molasis paletable, I remember it well. Then the next moment I was thinking about how hard it is to separate yourself from the child you have carried and then tried to protect against all odds.

My daughter was born at home, exactly to time after a painful and slightly eventful birth. My pregnancy was not without complications because it seems that the hormonal changes needed to sustain a pregnancy altered my imune system and my ability to diggest normal healthy foods.

My daughter has multiple food allergies and intollerances, so has been extreemly difficult to feed and it has taken 2 years to get reffered to the right doctor. I have been thinking I should write about our experiences, and reading Baby Love might just be the kick up the bum I need, I need to share my experiences, and perhaps make others lives better in the way I am convinced Baby love has done and will continue to do for so many other Mothers and Mothers to be.

Many thanks,
JEY
Derby UK

Comment #30 by Anonymous on August 31, 2010 - 4:58am

I've recently read your article regarding your official "divorce" annoucemment with your mother, I believe, written in 2004.

I have to admit it was very difficult for me to keep reading it but you are a lucid
writer and know how to develop a story very well, so i forged on.

What i am truly hoping is for you to have reached a more wiser and personal conclusion on your observations about what occurred to you while growing up with your mother and i am not saying that with a judging voice but with caution for your own child as he is in the process of having his own experience of you as a mother.

You see, in your article, you alluded to feeling a victim by being brought up by a radical feminist mother, however, taking an opposite stand from her own stand will still position you as radical as much as her and this tango will keep on generations after generations in your family. And i am sure this is not what you are intending to reproduce, right?

now you could tell me, well, being a present and a nurturing mother ,which is what you reproach to your mom, can hardly be classified as radical! And on its own, such statement, could be true, however, i am not talking about your stand or your mother stand on motherhood.

What i want to share in this comment is i personally think that at the time you wrote this letter you confused you personal relationship to your personal mother with your public relationship with your public mother. And moreover, by making that letter public you automatically made that letter contradict itself by its public nature.

In order words, I only know the public Rebecca and your son knows only the personal Rebecca,- well the same goes that i only know your public mom and while you were growing up you only knew the personal mom-- and even as an adult you will continue to always know your mom on a personal basis, whether you have access as much as i do to her public self, at the end of the day, you have a daughter mother relationship and I will never have that with her.

That being said, now when you attempted to go public with that personal relationship it became a contradiction because the only way for you to have been able to go public is by recognizing your mom as a public person while you were hoping to remain personal?!?! that's the part i don't get about it.As a matter of fact, the only way you were even privilege to go public with something so personal is the fact that the world knows your mom as a public person and you attempted to take that privilege to expose something so personal between the two of you!!! that's sounds a bit hypocrite in my book. But again, I rather ask you help me to understand because i don't get the true intention of that article about your relationship with your mom and going public with that relationship between the two of you when especially as we know you were only able to go public by virtue of being the daughter of a public person!!!, no?

Now, I also hear and understand what you may have gone through while growing up and because of that you chose to be a different person in relationship to motherhood but couldn't you have done just as well without having to gone public on a matter so personal between how you felt wronged by your mom's upbringing?
and to top it all up to position her almost as the phoenix of a whole feminist movement that went wrong!!!

I don't know either of you , on a personal basis, and like most people, i just happened to know your public mom more than you publically, but over the years, I've been aware of your different public activities and engagements and all I can see there has been changes and growth, well, I have observed the same for your mom publicly, and it is easy to undersand that growing up in the shadow of a public person while developing your own public career may had been difficult at times and perhaps still but you are hardly an exception-so again, what was the poin of that letter/article?

Because, honestly, you made it sound that you are better than her in your choices of motherhood. But have you ever thought that you are capable of doing just that because of the work that your mother and other women did in her time? And the ventage point that you have in this generation is not the same than what they had so they did what they could with the tools they had in hands and third of all, you are not her and she is not you- so why comparing your different choices as women and motherhood-

and, if in fact, she was competitive at a professional level with you, at times, it could had been just a question of different characters traits between the two of you within a personal relationship dynamic co-created by two different people.- but why attempting to expose these family affairs publicly when in the first place doing so will undermine your own self because the public stage was not built by you but by her-and attacking her publically with the stage she built of her own and with her audience should been easy to foreseen as failure from the start-so what
was your true intentions in writing that article? going to a psychologist couldn't have been a better therapy at the end of the day?

It is easy to figure out that your mom is perhaps not an easy person to have around as a mom, however, find me one public persona with a very odd predicament as an artist like your mom that would be able to fit the bill you were reproaching her not fit. and if you volunteer yourself, as it became clear in the article, I will tell you that you truly missed something about the personal nature of you and mother's relationship, in other words, you are not her and she and your dad have provided you with social, economic, racial privileges that she didn't have...and realizing only that may help you on a different revision path of what you felt happened to you because:
‘The real voyage of discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes but in seeing with new eyes.’ Marcel Proust

Comment #31 by Pianoman50 on September 5, 2010 - 3:44pm

I just read your gripping account of your relationship with your mother and the remarkable grace you've shown, I'm so glad you can move on and be a great parent, I am also a child of that period and my family has scars as well,
My oldest sister is 60, alone and in poor health, she could never even manage a solid relationship with a man, She took the bait hook, line and sinker.
Perhaps she may read Baby Love and let go of the past.

Peace and continued success !

Comment #32 by Angelic on September 22, 2010 - 2:06am

Why is it that you carry your Mother's last name and not your Father's?

Just curious.

Angelic

Comment #33 by 2n2me on September 22, 2010 - 2:42am

Dear Rebecca, I feel your story so much, here's a blurb of how I feel, we share the same space on this subject. But, I encourage you as others have encouraged me, make amends before its too late. Its a painful task but its necessary for your own personal growth. God bless your family and may he heal the bad parts. Attempting to get away from your mommy is like running a marathon on a treadmill, out of breathe, burn some fat, and you’re tired, but you ain’t went no place: because you are still connected to her, forever...

A Mother's Love....
The most solitary unconscious love relationship anyone can ever have in their lifetime is the love that exists between the mother and her children. It is the single foundation by which a child emulates every other relationship subsequent to that initial dedication of unconditional love. She is the primary, optimum, unique emotional connection to love and quite literally the first deep intimate experience a child will have in their life. Mothers receive impervious unconditional love from their children, there isn’t an erroneous way commencing through the eyes of a child as to the subject of the authenticity, suitability or judgment on how they should be raised or cherished, it will be a bond that is forever significant no matter the circumstances. Children come into this world as a uncontaminated vacant slate, mothers are responsible for how they analyze this world, how they infer love, humanity, common sense, intuitively mothers are entrenched in their children subconscious psyche, the owner to the voice of reason. It is essential to reinforce the respectable attributes and distinctiveness allocated with them. Be mindful of the most significant job you have as a mother because ultimately the children grow up, the evidence for how solid the foundation was will be evident through their accomplishments, behavior, choices, and oh yes there will be a report card one day.
And then there is my mom, I say out loud with a hint of the chuckle I’m holding in…if apples don’t fall to far from the tree, then I pray for a quick painless death if I ever decided to have a kid, that’s what I use to say. It was BA-Before Alexa, I know what its like to truly be in love, to surrender to silent selflessness, willing to give every part of your soul away to see the smile which God made just for me, I am honored to be a part of her life, its Gods love I see when I look at her and I am in love with my child more everyday. My song for her is Queen of my Heart by Debarge, my favorite part is; I was alone trying to find someone to love me, as I went on my way fight thru pain and misery, when no one cared for me. But that’s alright don’t fret for me my friend that’s when my Lexy she stepped in and that is why I sing this song for her; she the queen of my heart. That’s how I feel about my angel, I’m sure my mommy at some point felt this way about me, maybe ages 1-12, yup I sure she did and in some parallel world she still loves me whole, even the bad parts.

Comment #34 by Anonymous on September 22, 2010 - 6:46pm

Hello Ms Walker,

I just finished reading an article you wrote for the daily mail a couple years ago "How my mother's fanatical views tore us apart" (23 May, 2008).

I found the article to be beautifully-written, and I while I couldn't understand/feel your pain (I don't believe anyone understands another's pain completely), I did try to empathize because my relationship with my father was difficult (now it's nonexistant).

There is one thing I have to disagree with you - one point, you made toward the end where you called feminism an "experiment." I see it more as a tool - a tool that can be used for good, or for bad. My history with feminism is actually quite positive - my mother left her backwards-thinking husband, got a job (a blue-collar job, but a job nonetheless) and made her way up in the world. She's an immigrant so she had the added burden of not speaking English all that well yet - but she considered herself just as feminist as Gloria Steinem - she marches/campaigns for pro-lgbt, pro-choice, pro-women candidates, she takes care to hire with an eye toward diversity and she made sure that even though I was male, I would grow up, sensitive to the conditions of women in the US - for that I thank her. She didn't view motherhood as an antithesis to feminism, but she saw first-hand women of her generation and befor, who had to supress themselves and their dreams because they became mothers, and so she didn't completely disagree with the assertion that motherhood could be imprisoning - she just saw it as more complicated than that.
My mother isn't an intellectual - she's supersmart, but didn't go to ivy league colleges. She does however, define her feminism and intellectualizes her beliefs that women still are at a disadvantage in our society (along with racial minorities, lgbt folks, older people,etc).
I guess my point is, individuals dictate how successful a philosophy is - feminism and motherhood aren't exclusive by any means (and when I say feminism, I mean real feminism, not the sort of half-baked kind that Sarah Palin believes in) - so I guess feminims, like anything could be likened ot a hammer- could do damage, but could also do a lot of good.

Comment #35 by Anonymous on September 29, 2010 - 9:51pm

Thank you for writing the article about your experience with feminism. I'm sure it was quite difficult and yet cathartic. All of what you said about feminism is very true. I am saddened that you did not get to experience your mother's love and acceptance. You told the truth with incredible strength and power.

Comment #36 by Monica Roundtree on October 19, 2010 - 4:27pm

Dearest Rebecca,

My History:

My Mother: Jewish (by birth) Socialist (by choice) white (by birth)

My Father: Black (by birth) Socialist (by choice) Divorced (by bullshit)

My Stepfather: Southern Black (by birth) child molester (by sexism, racism, sickness)

Me: Biracial(by birth) Jewish(by birth) socialist(by birth amd choice) Lesbian (by birth) Survivor of sexaul abuse (by step-father and neglectful Mother)

My mother would say to me as I whined and screamed and self-mutilated....."yes Monica your step-father raped you....but you still need to clean your room and go to school"......she (my mother) is how I survived.....

Rebecca- go to school...we get it

With Love,
Monica

Comment #37 by Anonymous on October 20, 2010 - 4:48am

Rebecca, I just finished reading Baby Love and wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed it. I am 30-years old and have gone back and forth about whether I want to have a baby for years. I felt like you were bringing to light so many of the questions I have asked myself about pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting. I also have a tempestuous relationship with my parents and have wondered how that would affect my parenting skills. I found your book to be incredibly inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing your experience.
SA from Tennessee

Comment #38 by ocean lady on October 31, 2010 - 3:48am

Dear Sister,

We in the DONM Sisterhood salute you and stand beside you.

You are beautiful, brilliant, valuable and important.

Peace.

*hugs*

Comment #39 by Banamandla on November 3, 2010 - 11:19am

Dearest Rebecca

Keep shining. I devour the words you write with your heart and soul. I am a culturally and racially mixed, bisexual South African woman and it is always a great pleasure reading your work. I am a minority in my country and I look up to women like you; women who are not afraid to speak the truth. Well done with Black, White and Jewish. I hope to see you in South Africa one day.

Halala

Comment #40 by Tammy Barbour on November 6, 2010 - 4:49pm

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences as a daughter.

You are not alone.

Until reading your article, I really felt alone. I also have a very feminist mother who wanted to treat me most lovingly as a little sister, but whose liberal ideas, and cold hearted attacks often leave me numb. I have been told that she wished she could have had an abortion and even handed a knife while she screamed, "Kill yourself, I hope you die."

On the other hand, I was given many blessings, in terms of "things". I could not pinpoint my longing or why she really hated the idea of me getting married or being one with another person.

My father is the mixed child of a Cohen, and so I also relate to your navigation between worlds.

I have tried and always wanted to be, a different kind of mother. One who didn't feel that motherhood was a curse, for me motherhood is an expression of my ability to create joy and see and feel joy. Thank you so much for sharing.

I believe that black feminism has wrecked our entire culture and a whole generation of women, who maybe career oriented but they don't know how to allow themselves the full expression of being feminine. They do not know how to relate in a healthy way to a man. I can't speak for everyone's relationship with their mothers, but your piece in the mail spoke loudly to my own. I keep wanting to have this different relationship with her, she picks other people to mother, in that I am only a disappointment. Well you know how people say, "If I can help one person by writing this." Well, if there is no one else who understood every word you wrote, I am that one person. Yet, unfortunately, I bet there are many more.

Before birth control, there was a whole generation of women in abusive relationships they could not escape from. I think our mothers generation wanted a choice of something different, to not be dependent, with baby after baby to care for while men cheated or mistreated them. However in exercising their own choices to be independent, perhaps they did not know enough about how to love in a healthy way to allow us a choice that we could be embraced by a man at the right time, in the right way, and become mothers at the right time, in the right way, by our choice. I think they are damaged. But we don't have to be. Be strong!

Tammy Barbour

Comment #41 by a on November 8, 2010 - 4:32am

I was given Baby Love by a co-worker when I was around 5 months pregnant. It was an editor's copy found in a pile of discounted books that technically wasn't supposed to have been sold.
My unborn child and I were at war. No part of me was responding to the pregnancy in a positive way. My body being the target for my husband's rage, was exhausted with the expectation of survival for us both. I took the book with me on the plane to LA where I had lived and written for years, where people had expected me to keep doing so. I was to graduate from a low-res MFA and go back home. Instead, I had in mind to tie cinder blocks to my appendages and sink us both into the Pacific.
The book was never opened on that trip. I came back alive enough to survive the remaining months of my pregnancy & marriage. At one point I found the strength to move-out and secure an apartment. My ex moved in a week later. I began to read Baby Love, began to consider how my "racial" identity as a mixed girl had, in part, led to choices that had led to this jail sentence of abuse. I began to read out loud to my son for the first time. He was no longer an "it" sucking me dry of what little sense of self I had left, but a partner, a co-conspirator in healing, in escaping, in finding the reasons why this could NEVER happen again.
After refusing to abort and returning to the man who had given "her daughter" bruises, my white-aglo-saxon-protestant mother and I had stopped speaking. The book became a blur of highlighted passages, scribbled notes in the margins. It became a conversation between myself, my estranged mother, and the being who would become my son. I do not say this lightly, it became the catalyst for the act that would save our lives: The choice to write the truth. Not as a memoir, but as a police report, as the testimony to obtain our Order of Protection, as the testimony I would give to keep him in jail.
We are well now. More than well. We are vividly alive. I write. I teach. He laughs. He plays. We have adventures. We are safe.
The still somewhat estranged mother has learned something of her daughter that, perhaps, she did not want to learn. And the daughter has confirmed her worst fears about the mother.
Books find you. Thank you for writing the book that found me.

Comment #42 by Dionne M. McDonald on November 12, 2010 - 9:27pm

if I were to write a book on my thoughts, ideas, beliefs, triumphs and disasters, it would be much like Rebecca Walker's Baby Love..I never knew how much I had in common with this woman.. she is phenominal in her ability to express her whole life in such a current, melodic, haunting and beautiful way..When I buy books, I keep my children in mind because I want to have a collection rich with content like food for their soul.. and when they decide to explore my collection, they have references to life books like this..
Thank you so much Rebecca Walker.. I speak your name!

Comment #43 by Ayana on November 18, 2010 - 8:07pm

Yo,
I just read an article you wrote about your mom and becoming a mother. The stuff you've addressed is absolutely brilliant. It's dead-on. It's brutally honest. And its exactly what I've needed to hear for years now.

Comment #44 by Kara on November 28, 2010 - 6:40pm

I just finished reading "Baby Love" and I can't tell you how much it meant to me. I got pregnant on the pill several months ago and lost the baby to MC 2 weeks ago. This rollercoaster of first wrapping my head around the idea of a baby and getting excited about it only to lose it in the end was heartbreaking. I have not known how to feel about this entire experience. Now after reading your book I am sure that getting pregnant "against my will" so to speak was the only way I would have ever decided to have children. My parents were horrifying and selfish. The only thought that has been on repeat in my mind for the past 32 years is I can be a good person by not doing what they did to another human being. Now I know that I will be an excellent mother and think I want to try again on purpose. Thank you for writing about your experience.
I truly appreciate it.

Comment #45 by Leah on November 30, 2010 - 5:38pm

I found Black White and Jewish fascinating, heart-wrenching, and deeply moving.
After everything you've shared about the dichotomy between your mother's neglect and your father and step-mother's love and caring, I wonder why you chose to use the name Walker, instead of Leventhal?

Comment #46 by yvonne ndiaye on December 22, 2010 - 7:14pm

my name is yvonne i am a high school student in brooklyn international which is in brooklyn. i read your memoir black white jewish. i liked it so much and i relate to you a lot. the memoir is touchy and i also wanted you to know that you are my role model i love writing but i love poetry more.

Comment #47 by Cy on January 24, 2011 - 5:10pm

Dear Rebecca,

I want to thank you for your expressive contributions to the literary world, to the world in general. The warmth of your glow and truth of your words is felt. I commend your work and appreciate your willingness to express the innermost parts of yourself so that others can understand the ways in which you cope and process; you have been so generous in sharing your personal alchemy. It gives me courage and hope to bear witness to you go through the sharing process. I can identify with so many of the events and experiences you speak about as a woman of mixed heritage; a person with no template, no cookie-cutter to fit neatly and the challenges and benefits of that freeform. I wish you much success in the future and hope that you continue to grow, share, mother and empower yourself and others.

Peace/Love/Health/Radiance i wish u always,

Cy

Comment #48 by Anonymous on February 21, 2011 - 9:13am

I just discovered your book Baby Love. I have not yet read it, but I will buy it as soon as I can. From reviews of your book and interviews I just read about your life I was moved by the struggles you faced. I was quite fortunate to have a mommy who cherished both me and my three siblings. I am intrigued by your take on some of the negative effects of the feminist movement. I realize that somehow I had also bought into the idea that I could get my Ph.D., travel, do all the things I wanted to do and that there would always be time to have a child. I think I was under the misguided idea that it would be easy for me to have a child late in my 30's or in my 40's. When I finally did all those things I wanted to do and decided to have children I faced a rude awakening. It took me three years (including a surgery to remove fibroids) to finally get pregnant and have the child of my dreams. My wife and I each gave birth (she got pregnant on the first try) to our two wonderful joys (ages 3 & 4). Had I known then what I know now I would have tried much sooner. Sometimes it still disturbs me that I was almost not able to give birth. Now I am the first one to tell my younger friends that if they want a child to get on with it.

Question - Do you think it was the intention of those leaders of the feminist movement, including your mother, to have us all opt out of having children? Or rather is that a byproduct of the expectation that we can do more than only be stay at home moms? I would like to think it was the latter.

Comment #49 by Mara on March 20, 2011 - 9:46pm

Rebecca,
As an older woman who has secretly wished to write poetry since I was 9 years old and chose instead to be a mother of 3, a job I always loved and continue to cherish, I want to send you some thoughts on my reality of mothering. I am sorry to hear that you and your mother do not communicate, I do not pretend even for a moment that I understand your story or hers for that matter. But what I know about mothering is that we ALL do the best we can in the times and reality of our motherhood. We must all realize that our mothers come with their own stories and wounds that make them unable to be the mother of their hearts. I believe even you one day will see things that you could have done differently as a mother.
The fact, however, is that children are not just the product of their parents; children have their own identity and make up that comes from their parents, the society they grow up in, and the friends they bond and grow up with. It looks to me like you have taken the wisdom and love for the human race that your mother began, no matter how broken she was, and you have used that to become a strong and enlightened woman. How wonderful, what a tribute to your mother and the other women that forged the way. You can only be you because of the women who came before.
When I read about sex trafficking and mercy killings and female genital cutting I am sickened and offended by the fact that mothers let this happen to their daughters. But I do not live in their kind of poverty and despair; I pray I will never have to know of that kind of insanity, that I will never have to be in a position to make those choices or live with the consequences.
I did not choose the path of writer when I was young, for back then it was most impossible to be a mother and a writer. So I put my writing on the shelf and continue to tell myself that someday I will get to it. And I look at my children, with all their perfections and insecurities, and I know that they were my first choice; while at the same time I wonder what would have become of them if my desire to write had been more powerful than it was.
You see, we all are a combination of our background and our choices. This is true for me and your mother; and believe it or not it is true of you too.
I am happy to be the person that I am today, and I am proud of the two daughters and one son that I have birthed and raised. I also believe quite strongly that your mother is proud of the daughter she birthed; I hope some day that you can let go of the past and the disappointment and hurt that was a part of that past, and while it may define a part of you do not let it take hold of your future. Both you and your mother have something to say and a lot to listen to when you finally meet again.
With love and admiration,
Mara

Comment #50 by Jamie on October 6, 2011 - 9:43pm

Rebecca,

I just read "Lusting for Freedom," and my soul resounds. Thank you for finding the right words, for lacing them together so beautifully, and for creating a permanent life for all that I've been thinking but haven't been able to so eloquently say.

Jamie

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <i> <strong> <b> <u> <del> <s> <blockquote> <ul> <ol> <li> <a>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options