Writing During Naptime, a Parent’s Practice

I spent my twenties in no rush to get pregnant. I had parlayed my college internship at People magazine into a job, and when our bureau closed, I hustled to make a freelance income. I worked while earning my MFA, and one of my freelance clients eventually offered me a salaried position. By the time I was 31, I was executive editor—and hadn’t written a word of my own work in years. I struggled with the decision to step back from the career I’d spent a decade building in order to write again. But

I Didn't Want to Breastfeed, But Weaning is Breaking My Heart

The first time I breast-fed my daughter, I was surrounded by strangers. Someone had helped me slide free of my delivery gown, slick with my daughter’s newness. Someone else had helped me into a new gown. There were hands everywhere: first pressing my tender, flaccid abdomen; now sliding a new pad beneath my hips; now holding my newborn to my breast. The hands — blue-gloved, shiny — squeezed my flesh, guided it into her mouth. My husband, Adrian, stroked my hair. I didn’t know what to do with my own hands. I watched, like the most unnecessary stranger in the room.

What I Wish I'd Known Before Starting a Ketogenic Diet

Before I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), I’d never heard the word “ketogenic.” I’d never even been on a diet before, let alone one that would reduce my beloved carb intake. But according to functional medicine doctor Tom Sult, author of Just Be Well, adopting a ketogenic diet would sharpen my insulin sensitivity, helping to reset the cataclysmic hormonal response that, for me, led to irregular periods, lack of ovulation, polycystic ovaries, and—drumroll, please—infertility

If I divorce her dad, will she still be family?

He slipped off his ring—platinum, engraved to resemble the filigree of an old cowboy boot or antique gun—and handed it to me. “What does it say?” he demanded. Around us, white lights twinkled from the branches of thick heritage oaks. Other circular tables surrounded ours, wine glasses winking in the pass of headlights. South Congress bustled on a November evening still warm on our skin, though a cool underbelly promised change. I looked from my husband to his daughter, fifteen years old to my twenty-seven.

How Hundreds of Women Mobilized to Become the Unsung Heroes Behind Hurricane Harvey Rescues

Everywhere I look, I see water. I imagine it swallowing the tangle of brush outside my second-story bedroom windows, eventually rising to lick the glass, to press its way inside. On a walk, I wondered what I would do if I saw it rushing toward me. The mesquite trees, with their flimsy prickly branches, would be no help. If I clung to the telephone poles, would they electrocute me, or was that only if they fell?

Fertility is something we take for granted — until there’s a problem

As a little girl, I didn’t play with baby dolls, pretending to be a mother — I wrote stories in my room or tried to convince my brother and sister to have “reading parties” with me. In my 20s, a child was still the last thing on my mind. I was focused on building my career as a writer, proving that I could make a living with my words. It wasn’t until recently that I began to look at babies and wonder: Could I be a mother and also the writer I wanted to be and the wife and the woman, individual and apart from these complicated, beautiful burdens? I hoped so. For the first time in my life, I wanted to try. How naive, how self-involved, to think that because I had finally come around, conception would be easy. As if an unmade baby were waiting in the ether for me to say, "Come — we’re ready for you now." That isn’t how it works; at least not for my mother and not for me.

When Cancer Runs in Your Family

As a birthday gift, my mom wanted to take me shopping. I had one leg deep in a black over-the-knee boot when my phone rang. My mom, still smiling, took a fraction of a second longer than I did to realize: This could be the call we'd been waiting on. The results of my biopsy. In April, around the time a lychee-sized cyst grew on my thyroid overnight, I felt a lump in my breast. The cyst was removed first, a silvery needle penetrating the darkness of my throat on an ultrasound screen, and tested for cancer: negative. But the mammogram showed a cluster of microcalcifications appearing like white freckles on the dark image of my left breast.


Flory was a mystic, and she was on her way from Florida to our Catholic church in Laredo to perform healings. My mother explained this one night during dinner, adding how lucky we were to get Flory, whose services were wanted in churches all over the country. I was seventeen and not sure I felt lucky. I pictured a group of evangelists hurling snakes and speaking in tongues, and inwardly I cringed. Was I supposed to believe in things like mystics and healings? Whatever my level of enthusiasm, one thing was certain: I’d be meeting Flory in a week. A mystic in our own humble city.