Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

CNHI/SE Iowa

November 29, 2012

Loving a child on the fringe

PARIS — If you'd told me five years ago that I was soon to bear a disabled child with blood cancer — for whom I'd have to surrender, possibly forever, career and love life — I'd have contemplated suicide. Moreover, I would have thought this a level-headed response: not an act of despair but a lucid sort of Swiss-style euthanasia.

I was a driven freelance writer and a headlong romantic with no interest in children. I had always assumed I'd have a husband (or perhaps three) and no kid. It had never occurred to me I might have a kid and no husband. Not me, the expectant mother with the nursery decorated in 12 colors four months ahead of due date. I didn't have a nursery. I didn't even have a separate room in the bohemian studio I inhabited in Paris, where I eked out an income scribbling for America's embattled book reviews.

The fact that I continued my pregnancy was a reckless romantic gesture: It was my Greek partner, not I, who wanted a child and who had implored me to keep this one in spite of our tempestuous relationship and slender means. Almost everybody else sounded the red alert: "You can't have a kid in such unstable circumstances!" they said — which only hardened our determination. I'll take responsibility for child care! I'll give the child whatever she needs, vowed the father: "And when all the naysayers see that healthy little blond child running over the cobblestone, they'll eat their words."

Our child, as it turned out, was not blond; she was not healthy, and the only person running was her dad. He headed for the hills of Crete when his daughter was 16 days old, changed his phone number, eliminated his email account, and instructed his family members to have no more communication with me. From that day on, it was the two of us girls in Paris: the mentally challenged infant and the know-nothing mother. A match made in hell. Or was it?

1
2 3 4 5 6 7
Text Only
CNHI/SE Iowa
  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 30, 2014

  • Survey results in legislation to battle sexual assault on campus

    Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joined a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to announce legislation that aims to reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses.

    July 30, 2014

  • An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about

    It's been an abysmal year for the flying public. Planes have crashed in bad weather, disappeared over the Indian Ocean and tragically crossed paths with anti-aircraft missiles over Ukraine.

    July 30, 2014

  • Sharknado.jpg Sharknado 2 set to attack viewers tonight

    In the face of another "Sharknado" TV movie (the even-more-inane "Sharknado 2: The Second One," premiering Wednesday night on Syfy), there isn't much for a critic to say except to echo what the characters themselves so frequently scream when confronted by a great white shark spinning toward them in a funnel cloud:
    "LOOK OUT!!"

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Former Centerville teacher drowns in Creston

    A long-time Centerville Community School District teacher and coach has been identified as the man dive teams recovered from a southeast Iowa lake on Tuesday morning.

    July 30, 2014

  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 29, 2014

  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • 0729 OTT Picture veteran -T -M Veteran finally receives his medals OTTUMWA — A World War II injury may have saved the life of a U.S. Coast Guardsman from Iowa, but he lost friends and a box of military awards. Francis Hardy Harbour was born on Dec.16, 1919, in Drakesville. He joined the Coast Guard in 1941 as a mach

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

Features
AP Video
3 People Killed, Deputies Wounded in NC Shootout Suing Obama: GOP-led House Gives the Go-ahead Obama: 'Blood of Africa Runs Through My Veins' Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Air Force: Stowaway Triggers Security Review Minnesota Fire Engulfs Home, Two Garages Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Officials Unsure of UCLA Flood Repair Date At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train
Facebook
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Upon completion and reopening of Third Street, should the City of Knoxville wait to start the next stage of the Streetscape and Infrastructure project until 2015?

Yes
No
     View Results