Blindsided by a Diaper

Ocean Rae … a delicious, juicy strawberry of a child, a Tasmanian devil, a tumble of kisses and hugs, my own tiny hurricane. I worship her, dream about her, can’t remember who I was before she arrived. It has been nearly eighteen months since our daughter was born and to say nothing has ever been the same is to wildly understate the matter. She has enriched my life, my writing, expanded my heart, deepened my capacity for patience, tenderness, fear, panic, love. I am a better person as her mother, a better writer (though not necessarily a better cook or gym member) … and very, very tired most of the time.

I had O just five months before the publication of BEAUTIFUL LIES. So, naturally, I took my infant daughter, my husband Jeffrey (and occasionally my mother) on a ten-city book tour. And then I did it again a year later for SLIVER OF TRUTH. (The TRUTH is I barely survived this but in retrospect it was pretty great, crazy, maddening, wonderful – like all intense experiences that don’t involve medical treatment or memorial services.) My daughter has been breastfed in over 100 Barnes and Noble parking lots across the country, in the back rooms of fabulous independent stores such as Mysteries To Die For in Los Angeles and Stacey’s in San Francisco, in my editor’s office at Random House, and at a bratwurst stand at the Frankfurt Book Fair. She has been on thirty flights, has her own passport, and thinks groups of people regularly gather at bookstores to see her. Ah, the writer’s life.

I had hoped to blog about some of these experiences while I was on the road — but any mom out there knows how naive I was to imagine a spare five minutes to accomplish this. Then last year I was asked to contribute to an anthology called BLINDSIDED BY A DIAPER: Over 30 Men and Women Reveal How Parenthood Changes a Relationship, (Three Rivers Press; June 19, 2007) edited by the wonderful and talented Dana Bradford Hilmer, with a foreword by Ann Pleshette Murphy, Good Morning America’s Parenting Expert.  I am thrilled and honored be included in what has turned out to be just a beautiful, poignant, funny, moving collection of essays by wonderful writers including Susan Cheever, Leah Stewart, Nicholas Weinstock and so many more. I loved sharing a slice of my experience in the fray of trying to be a mother, a wife and a writer. My essay, entitled Enemy at the Baby Gate, focusing mainly on my relationship with my husband, was a joy and a pleasure to write.

Blindsided by a Diaper. Enemy at the Baby Gate essay by Lisa Unger

Blindsided by a Diaper

It used to be just the two of you. Now you have a baby, or maybe even a few kids, and the luxury of time—to frolic, talk, romance, and simply hang out—is gone, replaced by a big dose of chaos and the demands of little people who rule your home with small, adorable iron fists.

Parenthood brings changes to your relationship, changes that are at once profound, beautiful, irrevocable, and scary. These changes knock you off balance, forcing even the most secure couples to go back to the basics in figuring out how to define a new version of “we.”

In Blindsided by a Diaper, some of today’s most popular writers dare to tell what it’s really like for couples in the trenches of the parenting experience. They boldly reveal intimate aspects of their relationships, sharing the choices they’ve made, the joy and frustrations they’ve experienced, the trials and tribulations of their sex lives, the lessons they have learned, and how their lives together as parents may or may not be what they were expecting. The writers have quite literally invited you inside their bedrooms, their minds, and their lives as parents.


  1. Kandy on June 12, 2007 at 5:49 pm

    Ahh, the memories. I had flashbacks when I read all the places you’d breastfed your daughter. As a mother of 5, I can relate! And for me it went from ‘oh-my-cover-up-everything-no-skin-must-dare-show’ to ‘it’s-a-baby-on-a-boob-who-cares.’ Not that we went around flaunting anything. I guess I just got faster. Just wait till your daughter decides that she wants to nurse and tries to undress you herself—in public!

  2. Ellen Altamore on June 14, 2007 at 3:06 pm

    It’s been 30 years since I walked that “baby path” but your recollections brought me right back.

    If you have a moment, check out my young friend, Gerah Dutkiewicz’s blog “Business Suits and Baby Poop.” I think you’ll get a kick out of it; she’s a scream.

  3. Lynda Lippman-Lockhart on June 16, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    So happy for you. Success has caught on to your coattail and propelling you into the spotlight. On diapers and boobs, I can comment. When I had my first child almost forty years ago, but who’s counting, my husband at the time loved to fish. Not knowing any better, I followed him down the catwalk of the Sunshine Skyway with my four month old and, while cars wizzed by, I nursed him quite contentedly. Women have learned to adjust over the ages. My best to you. Lynda