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VICKI IOVINE / Girlfriends' Guide to Family

Developing a Crush on Your Obstetrician Isn't Unusual

May 16, 1999|VICKI IOVINE

Dear Vicki: How common is it for a woman to develop a crush on her obstetrician while she is pregnant? During my pregnancies, I would find myself constantly thinking about my doctor and comparing my husband to him. I noticed how cool and nice he was and how nice he probably was to his wife and kids. At the same time, I felt myself repulsed by my husband. Why was this happening? Strange pregnancy hormones?

--ORANGE (COUNTY) CRUSH

Dear Crush: By my third and fourth pregnancies, nothing could get me to shave my legs, blow dry my hair or change out of my overstretched and shiny leggings except my monthly visit to my obstetrician. I even put extra perfume between my ankles, since he seemed to spend much of his time down there. Somewhere near the beginning of each visit he would ask me how I was, and I would nearly weep with gratitude--he really seemed to care what my answer would be. It's natural to develop strong feelings for the one person you're convinced stands between you and the certain death that labor and delivery might otherwise bring. He's not just a man, he's Superman. Comparing your all-too-human husband to your OB is like Lois Lane taking Clark Kent for granted but smoldering for the man from Krypton. Apples and oranges. Just remember that within a few months you'll go back to seeing your doctor only once a year. You husband will be the guy getting up with the baby in the middle of the night or reassuring you that you really are losing weight, and that big red S on his rumply undershirt will come into clearer focus.

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Dear Vicki: A couple of weeks ago I was watching one of the network morning shows, and an obstetrician, a woman no less, was explaining how women who deliver their babies vaginally should start exercising two weeks after giving birth and should have their figures back within the next two or three months. I cried for the rest of the day, stopping only to nurse my 6-month-old or grab a quick bite. Girlfriend, am I a failure for still carrying around 23 pounds of "baby" weight?

--UPHOLSTERED AND UNHAPPY

Dear Upholstered: What planet was this doctor living on? I suppose you might have been able to begin your exercise routine at two weeks postpartum--if you'd left the baby at the hospital after delivery! Hello? What about the stitches from stem to stern? What about the nipples too sore to cover up even for company? And let's not even go to the part about no sleep for the first three months. This doctor's status as a girlfriend is in jeopardy. You, my dear puffy friend, are a goddess, not a failure. There will come a time when you are recovered enough to address reclaiming your former body, but it doesn't do any of us any good to have these rules and schedules thrown at us by people who don't know our lives.

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Judging from my mail over the last few weeks, fewer things are closer to men's hearts than their penises. From the passionate responses to my column about circumcision, I now know so much more than I ever cared to about the care and grooming of foreskins, nearly as much about the trauma of adolescent circumcision and the increased sexual sensitivity of the great unsnipped. No one was ambivalent about this surgical procedure, calling it everything from "mutilation" to a "holy testament" to " hygienically superior."

To further my research into this delicate (but oh-so-manly) subject, I did what all self-respecting girlfriends do: I asked my friends.

Here's my initial conclusion: California's preschools are teeming with uncircumcised boys, but they are few and far between in middle and high school. Looks like a trend to me, but I really can't speak for anyone beyond the mommies I encounter during carpool, the handsome European man who came up to me on my biannual lunch-outside-the-home and my voluminous mail.

So, if I had it to do all over again, would I do differently by my own boys? I like to think I would, but since I don't intimately know many (if any) uncircumcised penises, I must admit that they intimidate me a little. For us, it was like father, like son, and what we don't know hasn't hurt us.

One last note on behalf of the moms raising uncircumcised sons alone: I have it on mom-to-mom authority that you don't have to have a penis to teach someone to properly care for one. Moms are as capable as dads at passing on the appropriate bathing techniques and preventing pesky infections.

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Vicki Iovine is the harried author of the "Girlfriends' Guide," a columnist for Child magazine, and mother of four. Every Sunday, she'll answer questions about family, parenting and relationships. Write to her at Girlfriends, SoCal Living, L.A. Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053; e-mail GrlfrndsVI@aol.com. Include name and phone number. Questions cannot be answered individually; no telephone calls, please.

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