Blog Posts by Claire Bidwell Smith

  • Then and Now: Remembering Life Before Motherhood

    I went out with girlfriends tonight, only one of a handful of times I've been out at night since my second child, now six months, was born. I put on heels and squeezed myself into some jeans that still don't quite fit, and I drove to Venice to meet four of my best friends at a restaurant that we've been going to together for years. I got there a few minutes early and wandered into a couple of shops, peering at little displays of jewelry I can't afford, and admiring the festive holiday atmosphere pervading every corner of everything.

    It was Monday night but it was bustling, and when I returned to the restaurant it was already packed. We all crammed into a booth and ordered the same things we always order, the things we ordered seven years ago when were were the same, but different, people. When we were in our twenties and single, and lost and found, and altogether women we had already become. We just didn't know it yet.

    And dinner was dinner, each of us filling the rest in on

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  • The Loss and Gain of Having Two Children

    Almost the very moment my second daughter Juliette was born, I realized that my relationship with my first daughter had changed. I think I knew it in the days leading up to giving birth for the second time. Each night in those last days of pregnancy, I crawled into Vera's bed with her and kept my arms around her until she had fallen asleep. My swollen belly was there in bed between us and on those last nights I could quite literally feel the sand draining out on my time in this one-on-one mother and daughter bond. On each of those nights I couldn't keep the tears from slipping down my face. I couldn't keep myself from thinking about how it felt to lose my mother so young, and hoped that Vera would never experience that herself. Nonetheless I could feel loss coming our way.

    I am an only child and for the last three years my relationship with Vera has been very much like my relationship with my own mother - incredibly deep and connected and urgent. My mother was my absolute

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  • Dear Girls: The Truth About Beauty

    Claire Bidwell Smith is a therapist specializing in grief and the author of a memoir called The Rules of Inheritance. Her mother died of cancer when she was eighteen, and Claire now writes about parenting, grief and other life issues on her website http://www.clairebidwellsmith.com/.

    Dear Girls,

    You're so young right now, but I hope these letters will be helpful to you one day when you're older. There is so much I wish I could ask my mother now that I am a grown woman. There is so much we never got to talk about. I'm planning on being around for you well into your lives and adulthood, but even so, I think having these letters will be useful in some way. Who knows how things might change down the road, and at least you'll have your 34-year-old mother's thoughts down on paper.

    Anyway, I want this letter to be about beauty and my relationship to it. I feel this enormous responsibility, as a mother of two little girls, to lead you down a path that is relatively healthy when it comes to

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