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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 Bajar de peso on February 9, 2013 - 11:23am

Hi Rebecca,
I read your book and I loved being real lot, I appreciate honest and human side of a person. Good appreciations.
Successes.

Comment #2 by Fred Johnson on March 11, 2013 - 10:22pm

Absolutely spot on - a great read

thx

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Comment #3 by Anonymous on March 20, 2013 - 2:12pm

Did you really pink slip Eurasian girls or is that just propaganda from the Canadian file program? Female female anal rape. Severen Suzuki?

Comment #4 by Anonymous on May 23, 2013 - 3:42am

I just read your dailymail article and nothing felt more familiar to me than those words. It was painful to read because I know that type of hurt. I got a "letter" from my mom also. It was at that moment I was no longer angry or hurt, but done. That was just about one year ago now. I never thought I would read another person's words that so perfectly describe my own mother.

Comment #5 by Anonymous on July 17, 2013 - 11:51pm

Hi Rebecca
I recently read an article from the Daily Mail where you describe your relationship with your mother, How hard it must have been to have a mother disguising her narcissism and attributing her lack of maternal instinct to feminism rather than acknowledging it as dysfunction. I, too, have a narcissistic mother and recognise the behaviours you have described to a T. Always about them, the competitiveness, the total lack of empathy and cluelessness about what it means to actually parent. The total and utter emotional neglect when it comes to you. I'm not equating a lack of maternal instinct to narcissism generally. There are plenty of women who aren't maternal and choose not to have children. It's the narcissist who can't accept their own behaviours and lack of love who seek to deflect these deficiencies by making their children responsible for the relationship failure (never being good enough or just somehow faulty) or in the case of your mother, making it a feminist issue. With them you are either an enabler or nothing. The part that can really hurt is the recognition that we are disposable if we don't play their game, and that there really is no love for us. When you have a child of your own, the epiphanies about your own mother just keep on coming, and the realisation that there really is something missing in them as human beings. I have a son, and I love him to bits, and would NEVER treat him the way I was treated. I'm sorry you have been reviled in the media by those who really don't have a clue. Believe me, there is a whole community of people who get what you've been through and what you are talking about. Thanks for being brave and telling it the way it is.

Comment #6 by Prem on August 29, 2013 - 11:24am

Hai Miss Walker, i want to meet u in one day lol:-)

Comment #7 by Anonymous on August 30, 2013 - 7:50pm

OK, so you have an extraordinary mix. Me too, by the way. I am latina, scot, black, white, kinda looking like you, from catholic and buddhist parents, am completely atheist, with a german husband and a chinese son, living in scandinavia. not joking.
Why making it the center of your life? there is no conflict if you don't create it.
Even if they are still people who need to evolve, I think the world is beautiful and learning. We were as a group never perfect and will never be.
You need two for a fight. Otherwise, it's just a lonely dude full of hate - and he'll have to work on that himself, sooner or later.
Peace.
NC

Comment #8 by http://onmenit.blogspot.com/ on August 31, 2013 - 7:16pm

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

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

Comment #9 by Jonestown on August 31, 2013 - 9:25pm

Is it real who you are? Are you cracking me up with liturgies post Shan Tung experiments. Get the fuck off the prophet/profit Judean. I remember you and your mother from several places in memory. Your participation in my destruction is not condusive to the utilization of my abilities in my own interest... Those Whole Girls; amongst them at last LaBecca?

Comment #10 by Anonymous on September 22, 2013 - 10:10pm

Having read the article of not wanting to be like your mother it appears everything I'm reading you are more like your mother than you realize..

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Comment #12 by Jackie Acho on October 25, 2013 - 12:27pm

Rebecca,

Amen to everything you say.

My partners and I are coming at the same issues from a different angle - ironically, what's good for business. We'll meet you in the middle. Here's our latest piece http://bit.ly/1c0sYV5

Here's a short video of the whole story: http://bit.ly/10MHQmZ

At the core is helping people grow with empathy and agency.

Let's create the new paradigm together. Let's complete the revolution, whole this time.

Warmly, Jackie

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Comment #18 by Anonymous on December 1, 2013 - 6:03pm

A Republican friend of mine sent me:

How my mother's fanatical views tore us apart. Published in the the Mail Online.

I guess I would ask that you reconsider the lens through which you view your relationship with your mother. From you description, which, is lucid and I believe has integrity, she appears to be a narcissist. The difference is being raised by a feminist isn't always damaging and painful but being raised by a narcissist will always be.

For my niece, I was one of the surrogate parents whenever opportunity allowed. Her mother was, in some ways, the opposite of yours. She was involved in a fundamentalist religion and wanted to be a servant to her husband (in theory). Yet the similarities are quite striking- leaving a preadolescent to fend on her own, inability of putting her child's needs ahead of her own, attempting to eclipse or minimize her daughter's accomplishments as if there was only enough light to shine on one of them.

I am proud of my niece, for although she struggled for many years, ultimately learned by her mother's example of what not to be when raising her own children; she is a loving and attentive mother even in the face of economic and medical hardships.

It troubled me to have your life experience thrown in my face as a critique of feminism. Just as some who claim to be religious are compelled to feed the hungry and care for the poor while others fly planes into the sides of buildings; it seems to be more about an individual's temperament and psycho-emotional predisposition rather than a political or religious ideology.

Being a loving mother makes you no less of a feminist than your own mother. It makes you an adequate parent, it shows insight, emotional maturity and the capacity for introspection. These qualities are not mutually exclusive to feminism; they are however to narcissism.

May you be as a parent all the things you wish you had and that it is a healing and soul satisfying experience for all the years to come.

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Comment #20 by ev kamera fiyatları on December 5, 2013 - 9:58pm

i read baby love. i like it. we must realist. great day!

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Comment #22 by Anonymous on December 31, 2013 - 7:44pm

Hi Rebecca
I hope you are well.
I have been through a very difficult time in my life and was forced to terminate my pregnancy. I have been incomplete since and feel that I do not deserve to go on.
I am writing to you from the United Kingdom and felt that it was necessary for me to thank you for being such a wonderful woman, who is an inspiration to woman despite all the barriers that you faced.
I want you to know that women like myself have felt a sense of peace after reading your views.
Thank you.
I hope that one day I can rectify my mistakes and be a good mother to a child.

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Comment #24 by A mother like you on February 8, 2014 - 6:28am

I just recently became interested in the Color Purple. Out of curiosity I watched a documentary about your mother in PBS. After hearing about your struggle, I researched you online. I am a mother, a professional and multi-racial. I feel for you. No book and no career should come before a daughter. I stop at saying that your mother shouldn't have had a child because then you wouldn't be here. You are precious and your child is precious. I raised my daughter alone from the age of 11. She is 24 now and to this day I listen, help and cherish her. We are very close. The irony of who your mother is doesn';t escape me. I was also an unloved and unwanted child; but I read something somewhere that has kept me going when depression has overcome me: "If you father and your mother do not want you, know that God wants you, or you wouldn't be here." The fact is,that your mother failed you. And worse, she is oblivious to her failure. Alice can only reap what she sow. She can expect acceptance from you when she didn't welcome and accept you. Motherhood will be your refuge and I can tell you, your child is worth everything.

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Comment #26 by Fatih on February 18, 2014 - 11:25pm

Rebecca. I am your fan !

Comment #27 by johndevid on February 26, 2014 - 12:34pm

Hello Rebecca ...
I appreciate your work, your honesty, your general loveliness ! your BABY LOVE story book is vary nice , ofter read this book I was thinking about how hard it is to separate yourself from the child you have carried and then tried to protect . I agree with you that the relationship between a mother and a child is so deep.
you are an amazing writer. This book is such a gift. Thank you for writing it.

..... Keep on writing !

Comment #28 by White Princess on March 1, 2014 - 8:19pm

You are, delightfully, your mother's daughter. Life is too precious to let your similarities or your differences keep you apart. Mend the distance.

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Comment #30 by Anonymous on March 29, 2014 - 1:42pm

As a child of a woman who nurtured you until you chose to break away from her, I am gobsmacked you can write about loving your child as you have.
You might look to the experience of daughter of Nancy Reagan to see the uselessness this behavior is to yourself. And of course the impact it has on your own child's understanding of correct, appropriate, loving behavior toward parents and others in general.

I am sad, for your path is doomed to end poorly.

Comment #31 by Amanda on April 2, 2014 - 10:45pm

Dear Rebecca,

I just re-read your essay on your mother and how being raised by her in the way you were raised, you almost lost out on motherhood. I also read today, for the first time, your essay on letting go of the dream of a second child in "My one and only."

I am tough and cry maybe once or twice in 10 years. I didn't cry when my in-laws (all but 1 of them), diapproving of my mixed race marriage with my husband, boycotted our son's first birthday, at the last hour before our son's first birthday party. I didn't cry when I found out IVF treatments that took 6 months and hundreds of needle pokes dashed my dreams of a second child, but I cried when I read your essay: "My One and Only."

Despite my attempts at IVF at a very advanced maternal age, the reality of my situation is that my husband too said NO and the reality of our busy, rushed, and resource deprived lives in New England got in the way of our trying for a second child when I was of an age when I had a shot at being able to have another child. I too felt the second child saying good bye to me at that time. I saw his face disappear from my mind, my 'memories' and I can no longer see his face. I knew that the second child too would be a boy, like my one and only.

I too had a mother like yours, who could not have been less nurturing or more anxiety provoking. My mother was not an iconic writer or a woman with a political point of view. She was merely angry, frustrated, abusive and hateful towards me. Instances of missed school functions (she never came to one after we came to this country when I was 11 years old) and periodic abandonment (she left me at least 2 times during my childhood, once for 2 years while she went to another country), resonnate. Growing up in such a family, even though I am one of four children, not an only like you, I do not have a loving relationship with any of my 3 siblings, all girls. I see the siblings, maybe once a year and we greet each other with a luke-warm "hello" and have no more to say to each other than adversaries meeting inside a court house. The siblings tolerate 2 or 3 days at max with each other each year. Even these holiday events will soon become a thing of the past.

I want to thank you for the two essays. I want to thank you for the gracious way you said good bye to your second child. The prospect of any other response from you, would have set expectations within me that I probably could not live with. I would be making bargains with myself about how to have a second child when in reality I am and would be unable to do so. I also want to thank you for not leaving your partner, as that thought flashed through my mind at one point. Then I remembered this:

My upbringing and my childhood led me to a place where I craved love and security. I never thought motherhood would be possible for me, because there was so much pain in my family of origin and I was unable to see myself raising a child when I had no support system. My husband provided that support system and love. He stuck by me through my struggles to live with my childhood traumas of an abusive mother, whose antics only stopped about 3 years ago after I decided to cut off all contact with her. My need for my mother's love and approval was so strong and only when she tried to hit me in front of my 2 year old son, I was able to finally let go of the need for her approval. Her trying to ruin my life in other ways did not stop me from speaking with her but her daring to physically assault me, when I was a 40 something woman, in front of my son, was the only reason I decided to never speak with her.

The stresses of our lives in New England, where we no longer live, where we were starved for familiar support (despite having a large Irish-American clan down the street), where we struggled financially (after making a colossal mistake in investing our life savings in Florida real estate), where health issues and job stresses drove me and my husband to the brink, we had our one and only son, the love of our lives. I remember that even though he said no to a second child, I remember that my husband is not enemy, but my trench mate. The decision that he made to say 'no' to the second baby was to him, out of necessity, even if I didn't see it that way always. That when we later had breathing room and tried IVF treatments and that failed, he too became overcome with grief at what we had lost. But we are in this together. I have to remember, he didn't do this to me. Our lives led us to this place.

Despite my upbringing, I found a lifemate, my first love and then we had our son, my second love but really my penultimate love (and my husband's).

Thank you for speaking my situation through yours, of both the struggles of your upbringing and of ecstasy of motherhood. My child, like your second child, lives in another realm, and I too hope to meet him in another life.

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Comment #36 by jane manning on April 28, 2014 - 11:44am

I was distressed by Ms Walker's comments regarding adopted children. Ms Walker says "you" cannot love an adopted child as "you" love a biological child. It would be much less offensive if she spoke only for herself here and used the word "I" instead of "you". Her use of an omniscient point of view is presumptuous. Ms Walker cannot possibly know how much or in what way others love their children whether adopted or biological. As an adoptive parent I belong to a circle of friends who are also adoptive parents all of whom will tell you that they'd give their life for their child. Please be respectful of others and speak for yourself, Ms Walker. It upsets me to think how adopted children may feel if they read your words.

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Comment #40 by Susana Brown on May 12, 2014 - 3:20am

Hi Rebecca,

Just a note to say I read Mara's comments above, and I send love and wishes to you that some day, you can reconcile with your mother, in a way that both of you feel respected and honoured. My relationship with my Mom was an amazingly close one; in many ways, she was my hero when I was younger. She left an emotionally abusive relationship with my dad when I was a teenager, to be a single mother and raise 3 of us with relatively no money (2 had already left home). As an adult, I counted her as one of my closest friends. She was funny and beautiful and irreverent and wild, behind a rather normal facade. She died 3 years ago, early and unexpected, and my siblings and I miss her bright spirit every day. When I think of her life, though, a part of me wishes she had been a little less self-sacrificing, and a little more "willful" in pursuit of her enormous talent - amazing actress, comedian, writer, storyteller. I'm 52 years old now, and when I talk with my women friends, about our mothers, - whether it is my oldest friend, who had an extremely emotionally abusive mother, who had survived WW 2 as a teenager on the run and in the camps, or my best friend from uni, who came to Canada from Jamaica as a child and who has many backgrounds represented in her heritage, and whose relationship with her mom was very problematic, though close on the outside (sounds similar to yours with your mom) - anyway, when we talk about these amazing women who have gone before us, and who, despite abuse, neglect, imperfections, did the best they could in the times they lived through, even if it wasn't always what we needed or wanted, I feel a great sense of gratitude, connection and love for all of them. They are us, only in way more challenging, and often less moneyed circumstances. Openness is wonderful; forgiveness, though, is the icing on the cake. In the last years of my mother's life, I mourned the woman who had been my mom when I was younger; it seemed Helen, my heroic role-model, began to shrink, become smaller, less daring and more worried, for me, for the world. I began to be the mother, as I had done for her before sometimes, as a teenager, when she was leaving my dad; I began to have to listen more, to cut short my accomplishments, joys, fears, and just be there, and listen to her. When she passed away, all her kids but one, plus my partner Judy, were there in the room with her, singing, talking, crying, loving, and she was loving us back, so strong, so Helenic, all of her big spirit alive and ready to fly. And then she went, and was free; we felt like the ground crew for Team Helen, and we had lift-off. And I've missed her every day since, sometimes so strongly, that I've wanted to go too. (A wise person said to me,"Wait your turn!") I'm rambling on too long, but I want to say to you, I send you love and I hope for you and for your mom, that you can meet and talk and love before she goes, or before you do... your life, and hers, however long they may be, will be sweeter for it... (and now I'm done with the soapbox :) )... Sue B. :) Happy Mother's Day :)

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Comment #45 by Anonymous on May 25, 2014 - 1:53am

Thank you Rebecca for your writing, concern for justice and peace and the way you address issues of identity, family and truth.

Came across your 2008 article for the Guardian about President Obama, your words full of promise and hope. Am wondering if you have second thoughts in light of his murdering thousands of civilians with his drones, bailing out the banks and appointing those who destroyed the economy and caused much suffering to head his economic posts, support of dictators like Mubarek etc etc.
Thank you,
Nola

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