Category Archives: Uncategorized

Infertility is a Reproductive Justice Issue

As a reproductive justice (RJ) activist I have spent years advocating for abortion rights and access to birth control. Simplified, the movement often focuses on how not to get or remain pregnant. However, there is little to no time spent on discussions of infertility or one’s ability to get and stay pregnant. Even organizations that hold themselves out as “full spectrum”, may address miscarriage and other forms of loss but rarely confront issues of infertility. Similar to other forms of reproductive loss, infertility is stigmatized and people are often silenced. It is our responsibility as RJ activists to shed light on this issue.

Infertility is impacted by issues of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation. In my own journey, I was privileged enough to have health insurance to cover appointments with reproductive endocrinologists, a myriad of tests, and ultimately several forms of assisted reproductive technology (ART). Lack of economic resources can prevent someone from not only receiving a diagnosis but also engaging in ART, if they so choose. I know many people whose options were limited due to financial means. This is unacceptable. ART is not something that should be available to a lucky few who can afford it. Not to mention that there is also lack of access that isn’t due to finances. Some insurance companies won’t cover ART if it is due to “social infertility” meaning single women and queer couples. If I had fallen in love with a woman, I may have been denied coverage. In addition, studies have shown that there is a “knowledge gap” for people of color on fertility options. Many non-white racial groups struggle with infertility at high rates without the same access to resources. The group most likely to access ART are white, educated, wealthy women. After decades of forced sterilizations of women of color, there is no coincidence that the government is not invested in marginalized communities gaining access.

On a personal note, as a Latina, there has been an added pressure around family building as a indicator of success. I have 2 degrees and own a home, indicators towards upward mobility that it very hard to do in this country. It is something I am very proud of. However, to many in my community, accomplishments are nothing without children. The expectations around pregnancy and parenting have made speaking out about infertility struggles that much harder. I would venture that many other women of color share this sentiment. I know that the feelings of inadequacy and disappointment are not strictly culturally specific, but I think there are added cultural standards in various communities of color, including religion, that add to the silencing of this issue.

The reproductive justice community needs to provide space for people to discuss infertility. It needs to talk about the ways in which infertility is stigmatized in various communities. I did not consider these issues as part of my RJ work before experiencing them myself. I always viewed the tenant of RJ, “right to have children” through what I thought was an intersectional lens, but did not include infertility. Like so many of us, the personal becomes political. Since experiencing infertility, I have provided workshops for people who have experienced reproductive loss and infertility. I have been lucky to collaborate with local yoga studios and the organization Holding Our Space, but there is more work to be done. It is our responsibility as RJ activists to call out inequity in ART and make space for those who need support in their infertility journeys. We need to destigmatize discussions of infertility and include these experiences in this movement.

A Dream and A Nightmare

On Wednesday, November 15th I finally heard the words I had desperately waited 3 years to hear, “You’re pregnant.” Now what should have been one of the happiest moments of my life, was instead one of the worst. Instead of tears of joy, I sobbed in fear. What had brought me to that moment in the doctor’s office was not a missed period or sudden nausea in the morning. I was sitting there because I thought I was just having a strange menstrual cycle. After 20 straight days of spotting and cramping, I knew something was off and that it was time to see a doctor. I had been traveling for almost a month straight so I assumed that had messed with my cycle. After trying to conceive unsuccessfully for years, an unexplained infertility diagnosis, and multiple failed IUIs, I never thought my symptoms were being caused by pregnancy. Or rather I wouldn’t allow myself to consider pregnancy to be the answer since clearly that would also mean something was wrong.

Which brings us back to Nov. 15th. When the NP asked me to take the test I almost laughed. I may have rolled my eyes, but when I went into the bathroom I immediately started to cry. “Please no,” I thought. Then came the results. Shock cannot begin to explain what I felt in that moment. As I sobbed, I also had a brief moment of pride. My body had finally done what I had wanted it to do. The NP tried to assure me that we had no answers yet. That the spotting could be nothing. The cramping however was worrisome. She ordered a bunch of blood samples to be taken, said she would call the next day, and sent me home.

I always imagined I would surprise Jake with a pregnancy announcement in a really cute way. Maybe a traditional wrapped positive pregnancy test or finally purchase that ska onesie that’s been sitting in my Amazon wishlist forever. But sadly there was no time. I got back to my office and gave him a call. I wanted us to leave work. To spend one day, since it may be all we had, to celebrate. One day to pretend that we were finally pregnant and everything would be ok. He met me at the train station with a bouquet. We had finally done it! We only had one day. It was wonderful.

The next day, around 2 pm the NP called to tell me to check myself into the ER immediately. The test results were inconclusive but if we wanted answers, I needed to go to the hospital. The only times I had been to the ER were for a fractured ankle in the 6th grade and strep throat in 2012. I had never been admitted to a hospital, never had major surgery, and never had anesthesia. I chose laughing gas when I had my wisdom teeth removed because I have always been afraid to be put to sleep. Laying in that hospital bed in the ER was everything I had tried to avoid my whole life. It was surreal.

After about 5 hours of waiting, blood work and ultrasounds, we had a diagnosis. It was an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy is when implantation occurs outside of the uterus. Mine had found a home inside my right Fallopian tube. You would have to ask my support person Keelia, a friend and full spectrum doula, what my reaction was. I can’t remember. The hours between diagnosis and surgery are kind of a blur. I hadn’t eaten since noon, so I was very hungry. They placed me on an IV to help. Keelia was amazing. I am grateful to have had her by my side. Let me be clear about one thing, I told Jake not to come. A part of me hoped it would be ok and I didn’t want him to be unnecessarily worried, so I asked him to keep his plans.

Once Jake arrived (and my sister-in-law Caitlin who happen to be visiting), a decision for surgery was made. I was given a medical option but that could have taken weeks, with no guarantee that I wouldn’t need surgery eventually, and emotionally I needed this to end that night. At about 2 am, I went into surgery to remove my right Fallopian tube and with it the pregnancy I had waited years for. As they rolled me into the OR I remember tears streaming down my face before the anesthesia kicked in and I was out. Hours later I awoke and made the choice to go home.

It has now been 3 weeks since my surgery. Sometimes it feels like a lifetime ago, in other moments it’s like it just happened. A trauma to your mind, body, and soul will do that. I now know that ectopics are pretty rare and that it is the leading cause of maternal death in the first trimester. It’s a strange feeling to be angry at a procedure that ultimately saved your life and yet I am. I know that ectopic pregnancies aren’t viable, but I still had to terminate a wanted pregnancy and that guts me. The medical profession has managed to find a way to transfer a fertilized egg from a test tube into a uterus but still cannot move one from a Fallopian tube into a uterus. Think about that for a moment, ’cause I do.

The holidays are upon us. Our families and friends continue to be amazing. Food, hugs, letters, conversations, healing practices, flowers; I could not ask for a more supportive circle. Although I am surrounded by love I am not going to end on a positive note to make everyone else feel better. The fact of the matter is that 3 weeks ago I was pregnant and now I’m not, but my body hasn’t had time yet to catch up to that reality. I am left feeling tired, sad, and empty. No amount of holiday cheer is going to fix that.

Dear Papi

I can’t believe you’ve been gone for 20 years. Sometimes I’m not sure how I have survived your loss. How can we manage to live through such a tragedy and yet, here I am. 20 years without your voice, your laugh, your hugs. I felt so grown when you left, I had no choice but to be. I had Ma and 4 other siblings to care for. But looking back, I was a baby. I have done so much since those first 14 years you got to witness in person.

Where do I even begin. You passed in my last month of my first year of high school. Given this, I can’t really say I had a typical high school experience, except that in many ways it was. I thought I knew what love was, I didn’t. I studied hard as usual to get into a good college like I promised, I did. I strengthened my friendships to last a lifetime, they have. College was a little more complicated. With finally time away to process your absence, I broke. Luckily I found 3 of the greatest people ever created to help me through it. And even though I took a break, I still managed to graduate on time because you taught me to work hard for what I want.

Then came my 20s. I wish you had been here for those. I feel like it would have been so different. I fell in love, I went to law school, and I started to become the person I was meant to be. I never got to see you in your 20s. You were already 29 when you met Mami. I know the legends of your 20s. I never quite knew what parts of your stories were true, it never mattered. I made a lot of mistakes, as I am sure you did. The love I had didn’t last, much like the love of your 20s didn’t. But I graduated from law school, with your help of course. When the darkness began to creep back in, that perseverance that you passed along in my bones kept me afloat.

So I entered the adult world for the second time. This time building a career. And then it happened. Were you watching that night? Did you know I would meet my future husband in NYC, just like you met Mami there? I finally met the love I knew I deserved. Papi, you would love Jake so much. He makes me laugh like you did. I cannot begin to imagine all the jokes the two of you would tell together. He takes care of me, lifts me up and encourages me. He is my biggest cheerleader, just like you used to be. He makes me feel like I can do anything.

I am less than 1 month to being half way through my 30s. Now I remember your 30s. You were always surrounded by friends, whether it was playing yahtzee on a weeknight or a big fiesta. Your birthdays were always an affair. It must be where my appreciation for a birthday celebration came from. You showed me that even as an adult with a job and family responsibilities, time with friends is important. It gave you joy. We are alike in that way. I love being around my friends, my chosen family. Did it wear you out sometimes though? I never got to ask you that. Sometimes I feel drained and need my space from people. Me time. Maybe that’s from Mami.

I also watched you spend your 30s (and 4 years in your 40s) as a father to 5. Well officially 5 because everyone in the neighborhood loved you. Everyone called you Papi. So far, I am not spending my 30s as a parent. I know you’ve watched me cry about this. It will happen though. I am as sure about that as I am about that fact that you’ve seen it all. All of it. Every laugh, every heartbreak, every triumph, every tear. You’ve watched. You’ve comforted. I know when I speak to you, you listen. You can’t respond in the same ways that you used to but I know the messages are received.

20 years. You’ve been gone physically from me longer than you were here and yet you gave me a lifetime of love. A lifetime of stories. And until my own last breathe, this world will have a part of you in it.

Te amo,


Bruised but not Broken: Finding Gratitude through Infertility

November brings the celebration of our two year wedding anniversary and it marks two years of trying to conceive. November is also the month to give thanks. I want to take this moment to highlight 4 ways in which I hold gratitude for the experiences and the strength I have gained through this journey.

1. A Deeper Bond with my Husband

We have always had a strong partnership, no one has ever made me feel so supported and loved.


Infertility has been shown to be the fourth most dramatic life event in a woman’s life. It has brought us new levels of sadness. It has also prepared us for any obstacles we have ahead of us. I am so grateful this amazing man. Whether we are crying or laughing, we are doing it together. Struggling with infertility has solidified what I already knew, which is that I chose the perfect person to have by my side.

2. A Cuddly Companion

After our second failed IUI, my husband agreed to let me adopt a kitten. On Labor Day weekend, Amethyst came into our lives.

Now let me be clear, Amethyst did not fill the baby shaped hole in my heart. She is not a replacement for the child we still long to have. She has however brought me so much joy and comfort. I did not know I would love her as much as I do. She has given me the strength of knowledge that I can be a caretaker.

3. Commitment to Yoga

14117909_10100273141045055_821642303518385962_nI began my yoga path before I was diagnosed with unexplained infertility. I am grateful that I already had my practice to turn to with every disappointment. Yoga has been my constant reminder that my body is still powerful and capable. That I can still have control. More importantly as a yoga teacher I have now been able to share the healing power of yoga with others struggling with reproductive loss and infertility. I love to create a space for folks to come together to find support and share, sometimes for the first time, about their experiences. I continue to be appreciative for yoga both it’s physical and spiritual offerings.

4. Building a Network

Through leading yoga workshops and writing about my struggles, I have connected with many individuals who share my story or other experiences with reproductive loss. Recently someone tried to use the vulnerability I have shown against me, which although cruel, luckily is rare. More often, I have received messages of support and solidarity. I have even found strength in relationships with folks in my life I may not otherwise have due to our shared experiences. This network has provided me advice and encouragement.

This process is still difficult, sad, infuriating. But it is possible to hold multiple truths at once, like wishing I had a child in my arms while still so blessed to have Amethyst snuggled in them. As many of us struggle post election to find joy and gratitude, I wanted to boast those in my life who do just that.


Another Birthday Without A Child

Several weeks ago I celebrated by 34th birthday. 33 was not the year I had hoped for in a lot of ways. One of my 2016 resolutions that I failed miserably was wanting to write at least one blog post a month. I failed because I did not want to have to write only about infertility. I am more than that. So I didn’t write about my struggles but then nothing else came out or felt right. The process of trying to conceive is an all consuming one. At times all I can think about is the desire to be pregnant and the inability to be so. Each month watching my hopes swept away in a sea of red.

Unexplained Infertility is what the doctor said, which is medical speak for we have no idea. Although it is some sort of answer, the pain didn’t go away. In fact, the pain moved in and made a home. So many daily activities became harder. Watching TV meant dealing with those damn Clear Blue Easy commercials. You know the ones, where women find out they’re pregnant and cheer and cry. Every time it came on it was like a punch to the gut. A reminder of each moment I had looked down to see the words “not pregnant.” Facebook became unbearable. Pregnancy announcement after ultrasound bombarding my timeline. It seemed as though everyone around me sneezed and got pregnant. And then there are the in person interactions. The pregnant coworker I try to avoid so as not to see her growing belly and feel tears welling up. The party I have to leave early when a couple shows up with their newborn. The questions from strangers on whether or not I have children. Getting angry each time, not only because they were asking, but that it bothered me.

I want to say that deciding on a plan of action made things easier but it’s just hard in another way. Deciding to do IUI felt like admitting defeat. And because I chose very early on to be honest and open about this process in order to help others struggling, choosing IUI also meant having to explain IUI to family and friends. Explaining can be exhausting. Talking about it is hard. Not talking about it, is hard.

In two months it will officially be two years of trying to conceive. Two years may not seem like a long time but when you desperately want a baby, it feels like a lifetime. For me it is a lifetime. I have waited my whole life for this moment. I can only hope that a year from now, I will be celebrating my next birthday with a baby, a whole list of other hardships, exhausted, and with a smile on my face.

Getting Pregnant—Not As Easy As You May Think

Let me cut to the chase, getting pregnant is not easy, not even a little. For some of you this may not be news. And as a reproductive justice activist, I am fairly knowledgeable about reproductive health. I knew in the abstract that conceiving can be difficult. But I am very in tune with my body so I figured, how hard could this be.

All those baby bumps and newborn photos on Facebook would lead anyone to believe that you decide to get pregnant and voila baby. I realized there is no way I am the only one struggling with this. These status updates could not be the whole story. But where are the stories? The journeys? All we ever see on social media is the end result. This is quite a juxtaposition from the road to marriage which is documented from engagement to the last dance or a to term pregnancy that we see from sonogram to birth photos. I wanted to hear stories, so I started asking questions.

Turns out it isn’t just me. The more people I spoke to, the more I heard similar struggles. Many more people in my social circle than I could’ve ever imagined experiencing difficulties, infertility, miscarriage and more. Often times I’ve found that folks are more willing to discuss their difficulty conceiving publicly only after a healthy pregnancy or birth. I understand this need to wait. Most people want to hear the happy ending. I may be in the minority but I want to hear it all. In case there are others out there who feel the same, this post is for you.

It’s been one year since my husband and I began trying to conceive. It’s been a roller coaster ride of emotions. It began as fun, what with all the “trying” and all. And a little exciting waiting to see if this month would be THE month. I decided to just go with the flow at first. Several months in, the frustration began. Be patient they said. Patience, my friends, is not one of my virtues. Nonetheless I pressed on. At about 6 months in I went into “TTC” mode (starting with learning what TTC meant). This included basal body temps, an ovulation app, teas, meeting with my doula friends, and acupuncture. It was exhausting. All consuming.

By month 7-9, I felt defeated. It was during this time that I really started talking to people outside my tight friend circle about my struggles and in return hearing stories back. It was such a relief to finally hear other people give voice to what I had been experiencing. For about a month after that I felt a boost of confidence. You can do this body! NADA. So I made my appointment to see an infertility specialist. As luck would have it , it was scheduled on my 1 year wedding anniversary. Almost a year to the day we started this process.

And then I took a break. A break from trying. A break from thinking about it. Spending the last few months enjoying our final moments as newlyweds. The appointment happened on Monday. Now I head into another stage in this journey; tests to figure out if there’s any medical basis for infertility or just more time needed. Or that maybe I need a bit of modern medicine boost. I’ll keep you posted. I just want everyone out there struggling to get pregnant, whether it’s been a few months or years, to know you’re not alone. It’s not just you. And yea, this is hard!

*Throughout this post I use mostly “I” instead of “we.” Although my husband and I are going through this together, this post is just about how I am feeling and I do not speak on behalf of us both. He has his own voice and experience of this process.


My Pelo

I recently chopped off all my hair. I had let my hair grow for the past 5 years and after my wedding I cut off over 12 inches. It wasn’t enough, so then several months later I went to my stylist and asked for the “Gwyneth Paltrow from Sliding Doors.” He nailed it.

I have never been more complimented on a hair cut. It’s pretty cool since I have done all sorts of cuts and colors since the age of 12. I received a lot or “wow”s and “what made you decide to do that.” But the response my hair elicited the most was “you’re so brave!” It immediately rubbed me the wrong way. Brave?! I wasn’t brave just for cutting my hair. Brave is folks standing up for justice or a Disney movie about a red headed princess. Not me. And certainly not because of a haircut.

It happened so often that I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The more I thought about it, the more it became more complicated. We live in a society that dictates beauty standards from the moment we’re born. Barbies have long hair. Disney princesses have long hair (remember that Brave movie I mentioned earlier?) Anyone considered conventionally beautiful typically has flowing locks. Not much has changed in the media in my short 33 years. Conventions of beauty and femininity have stayed rather stagnant. One of the many reasons I became a feminist in the first place.

When I was younger I was known for my long hair. It was down to my butt. My mom wouldn’t let me cut it. She did however let me color it which was the compromise. I rocked a bad ass blond streak in 6th grade. So naturally the second I got to high school, I cut it. My favorite was junior year when I did the “Claire Danes from Mod Squad” cut. Rebelling from my childhood I kept it relatively short for the next ten years. After college I started to let it grow again. In law school, I cut it again. You get the picture. But then I found myself single for the first time in 6 years. I would be lying if I said I didn’t start to worry that maybe I needed to keep my hair long in order to be seen as more attractive. Isn’t strange how lots of hair on a woman is seen as unattractive unless it’s on her head? Even as a feminist I am not immune to society’s pressures. So I kept it long. And it was fun for a while but also a lot of work.

Thinking about all this made me realize, maybe cutting my hair is brave. Anytime you step outside convention it’s brave. Anytime you do something to disrupt the patriarchy, it’s brave. It might just be hair but I’m a believer in tiny revolutions.






My Relationship to Yoga

As I enter into the next stage of my yoga journey, through yoga teacher training, I want to take a moment to reflect on the 2 and a half years of my practice and its impact on my life.

I am someone who thinks. A lot. And often in rapid succession.There are not many things that can get my mind to slow down. Not even sleep. In fact I’m writing this at 6 am on a Saturday after a sleepless anxiety-ridden night. I can frequently be heard sighing loudly in my office to oxygenate my brain after what may have been many minutes of shallow breathing, if at all. Yoga has helped me to breathe. To connect that breath to my body and to my mind. If I take that moment to pause, breathe; I can take stock of what my body is doing and consequently that my mind is connected to it. It’s still an ongoing process in my daily life off the mat. But on the mat, it makes sense. It’s not so much shutting off my wandering thoughts, but turning on my mind to just my body and my breathe in order to remind myself who I am, what I want, and why I am here. It’s this time to reflect on my complete self that has made yoga invaluable.

My first attempt ever to lead an asana sequence.

First attempt ever to lead an asana sequence. I am far left. 

This past year in particular the connection to my body through yoga has been especially important. For the past year my husband and I have been trying to conceive. It has been a very hard and disappointing process. One that frankly I did not expect and was not ready for. Trying to conceive can make you feel like you’re not in control of your body. You want it to do something and it won’t. It feels as though it’s not working properly somehow. Yoga has helped me feel in control of my body during this difficult time. I get on my mat and say “body twist this way,” and it does. It may not be perfect in every pose but I am in control of placing each limb in a shape and letting my body melt into a pose. I say when I push, I say when I rest. This control over what my body can do, if even for just 90 minutes, has given me a sense of validation that my body is mine. That it works. It is a reminder to be patient (which I have never been good at) like with any difficult pose that takes time.

This is one of the many reasons I am so excited to begin my journey of teacher training. I want to help others find what yoga means for them. To find peace with who they are, if even for a moment. To connect their bodies and their minds, especially at times when that is the most difficult. I’ve never seen TTC yoga being offered. Is that a thing? If not, maybe it’s time I made it one.

With a Little Help from Our Friends

Last Fall my partner and I got married. We truly wanted it to be a community event, a chance to share our love and commitment with those we love the most. Part of creating a community through our wedding was to include as many friends (and friends of friends) in helping us achieve our vision. We are quite lucky in that we have so many talented people in our lives. I wanted to give these folks a public shout out and show you all their amazing work.

First, our photographer Jordyn Rozensky is a close friend of my husband. She did our engagement photos and also shot our wedding (along with her shooting partner and fiance Justin Hamel). Her work is wonderful and having her know us and understand us as a couple, made a difference.


Our invitations were created by my friend Kate Ziegler and her partner Jack Romano , who run Union Jack Creative. They blogged about the process of creating our invitations here. They also did the lettering for our escort cards. Kate and Jack not only listed to our music/concert themed ideas, but added personal touches that we hadn’t even thought of, like a silhouette of a chuppa and our venue on the invitation that we loved.

photo (2)

I knew before I was even engaged that I would not be doing a veil. For me it was one of those antiquated anti-feminist traditions that I couldn’t (wouldn’t even try to) reclaim. I wanted a flower crown. I asked my friend Caity MacLeod (her husband plays in a band with mine), who I knew through her instagram was super creative whether it was through her photography, her lettering or other crafts. When I first asked her, she admitted she had never done one before but was confident she could do it. And she nailed it. It was everything I wanted. Another bonus, she gave me extra flowers and berries in case any fell off the crown, instead I ended up using the extra pieces in my brideswomen’s hair.

I wasn’t the only one with a custom headpiece. My husband’s Best Man’s mother, who has known him since he was a child, hand painted the kippot for the wedding.

Jake & Brenda _JRRozensky (224 of 700)

Our beautiful chuppa was designed and created by our friend Leora Mallach. Leora owns BBbatiks where she creates original batik textiles. We met with Leora and she explained the batik process to us and we chose colors and patterns that spoke to us. The final piece was exactly what we had in mind. We love it so much that we chose to keep it up and eat under it during the reception.


Our other judaica piece that we had especially designed for us was our ketubah. Luckily we were introduced via email to Jennifer Kaplan through our mutual friend Lindy. Jennifer creates one of a kind paper cut art. We corresponded and told her we wanted to incorporate the tree of life both for it’s spiritual significance and to symbolize our environmentalism. We also asked that music be incorporated somehow as that was a running theme throughout our wedding. The design she came up with was more that we could have imagined. We are excited we have this remarkable piece of art to display in our home. You can see all her work at Jennifer Kaplan Designs.


We had two musical contributors to the festivities as well. One of my husband’s groomsmen Thom played the processional music on guitar. And my friend and bandmate Mike played guitar while I serenaded my groom during the reception. My husband proposed to me with a song so I thought it only fair that I return the favor.

This is Thom serving double duty as musician and groomsman.

This is Thom serving double duty as musician and groomsman.

The final addition worth mentioning is not a friend or even a friend of a friend but certainly worth noting none the less. Part of keeping our wedding green, I decided not to have flower bouquets. Instead I found an amazing alternative on Etsy. My paper flower bouquets were made from sheet  music of our first dance song. Dana’s Paper Flowers is a unique alternative to a traditional bouquet. They were a huge hit and bonus I have it as a keepsake.

Our wedding was such a fun day. We are so lucky we got to spend it with so many wonderful people. We knew that our wedding wasn’t only about us but everyone in our lives, and I think we made that clear through our choices.



When A Sexist Tradition Would Mean The World To Me

I am having a feminist wedding. Some may say this is an oxymoron since marriage itself is an agent of the patriarchy. My response is that some of us, interracial interfaith couples, have not always been allotted that right, but that’s a different post. So far we both have engagement rings, I will not wear a veil, and I have a best woman and brideswomen, no maids to be seen. I also will not have my father walk me down the aisle. Not because it’s a sexist tradition that treats women like property but because he died when I was 14.

Brenda and Papi Scan

When you lose a parent you immediately think of all the things they will not be around for. At 14 those things included high school graduation, learning to drive, attend and graduate college and in the far off distance, my wedding. All those other milestones and many more have passed. I was sad but worked through them. For some reason this feels different. Getting engaged was so wonderful but his absence became immediately present. And quite frankly I’ve barely been able to talk about it.

My father was the funniest person. Ever. This is a man that after a very long day of painting houses created a game with the 5 of us (often times more since the neighborhood kids all considered him Papi and would be over) called the Dark Game, which was basically hide and seek in the apartment in the dark while he wore a glow in the dark skeleton mask. He loved to sing and dance. He was the life of the party and we always had a packed apartment because free time meant time to be with friends and family. This is all to say, a wedding would have been a perfect stage for him. He would have loved the large group, the music, everything. I can’t even imagine what sort of silliness would have ensued during the ceremony itself. I just picture him wearing a kippah, because he would want to try it and dancing like a wild man during the hora. He would have probably tried to lift me in the chair all by himself. He wouldn’t have given a speech but probably heckled all of them. The father/daughter dance would have probably been a Gypsy Kings track. At the end of the night he would have had enough beers to pretend he was drunk and throw one dollar bills to all the grandchildren.

A father walking his daughter down the aisle and “giving her away” traditionally views women as property being transferred from one man to another. The history, as with most wedding traditions, is a sexist mess. If my father were here, would I have participated in this tradition? Knowing me, probably not (and he would have been totally cool with it, btw). But I don’t get to make that decision. Instead my sisters will walk with me down the aisle. What’s more feminist than the bonds of sisterhood on display at such a momentous occasion? Although I am excited to share that moment with my sisters and to be gaining two dads on my wedding day, I would give anything to have him there. It’s hard to have a strong feminist stance on something when the choice has been taken away.