Saturday, April 9, 2011

On Rachel Zoe and Baby Boys

Rodger, Rachel, and their new son Skyler. Photo from

I just learned that celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe and her husband Rodger Berman welcomed their son Skyler Morrison Berman on March 24. I don’t know how I missed this, although I’ve been so busy lately I haven’t been watching TV at all, nor reading as many blogs or online news sites as I usually do. Congratulations Rachel & Rodger!

I’ve enjoyed all three seasons of The Rachel Zoe Project, not just for the clothes and jewelry but for a theme I wasn’t even expecting—the pressure to have a baby before it’s too late.

Rachel’s husband, parents, and sister were all giving her the hard sell on having a baby during Season 3. A telling moment regarding Rachel’s feelings on motherhood was when her sister explained that if Rachel became a mother, she would have to let fashion take a backseat in order to do things like have playdates with children of her mommy friends. Rachel actually recoiled and I understood her dismay. It seems there is everything to put you off having children—the crying (yours and the baby’s), the poo diapers, the wrecked sleep—and that’s just the stuff you know about ahead of time. I’m sure Rachel was thinking, I have to give up Paris Fashion Week for a playdate? What?

Rodger talked about his frustration in wanting Rachel to slow down and start a family with him. As much as I sympathized, I also feel it’s so easy for a man to say that, but at the end of the day it’s the woman who has to go through pregnancy, labor and delivery. It’s the woman who ends up with sore boobs bigger than her head that are leaking milk all over the place, and it’s the woman baby wants 24/7 after he comes into the world. It’s hard to have a business and a child unless you have a ton of help, and even then, something’s got to give. And yet I also understood Rodger’s point of view that Rachel was 38, and at the fast pace they were living, 20 years could go by, your time to have kids is over, and you may end up feeling like you missed out on something that could’ve been wonderful.

So you just have to go for it, which Rachel and Rodger did. Good for them.

Alternating with her ambivalence on motherhood was Rachel’s desire to give birth wearing Chanel, which made me laugh. I wanted to tell her, Don’t do it! Childbirth is such a messy business, you’ll end up ruining a perfectly beautiful dress! Do what I did and wear a nice pair of earrings. You’ll suddenly have an heirloom worth passing along to your child someday, and you don’t have to worry about wrecking your own clothes. That’s what hospital gowns are for.

My Mikimoto pearl stud earrings I wore when giving birth to each of my children and when I ran both of my marathons.

I hope Rachel’s new baby compels her and Rodger to step away from the crazy world of fashion for now and just revel in their little family and the kinds of things holding your new son in your arms can give you that nothing else in the world can—wonder, awe, gratitude. Rachel twittered that her baby boy is everything. I remember that feeling too when I looked at my son—so tiny, so precious, so vulnerable and sweet.

My son, two weeks old, November 2002.

When my now 8-year old son is rolling his eyes at me or cracking himself up reading cuss words written on the subway or I have to practically sit on him to get him to do his homework, I try to look at a picture of him as an infant. Any of them will do, but this one is particularly sweet. It helps to center me as a parent and I fall in love with him all over again. At least long enough to get through another day.


Veshoevius said...

I had heard she had the baby but this is the first pic I've seen of the three of them together. Lovely post - I can relate to a lot of the coincident trepidation of having kids and also leaving it too late so it was nice to read your post and hear your view on it from the other side of motherhood - lovely pic of your son!

Cloud of Secrets said...

Jill! Did you know that Rachel is probably actually about 9 years older than the 38 she claimed last season? I'd been confused by her age claims in her book (mid 30s) and when she visited that ob/gyn in a show from last season. She soooo doesn't look like she's in her thirties, it it's not just a matter of skin and hair texture and body structures -- it's in her poise, her makeup, and in the years and years of experience she must have had in the 'biz' to be where she's at now.

I mean, I'm 35, and Rachel's book (IIRC) was published when she claimed she was 'in her mid thirties'. No way, I thought. All the snapshots, mature style and makeup choices, and career development pointed to 5-10 years more time on this earth.

I did some Googling earlier this week, and there are convincing claims that Rachel's quite a bit older than 39. Birthyear 1962 as opposed to the publicly claimed 1971.

It makes me a bit angry, actually. She is a beautiful, confident, stylish woman. Why should she be ashamed of her true age? Claim your age, and your life experience, and WORK it. And for goodness sakes, don't lie to your ob/gyn!!!

Anyway, I'm fascinated to read that she and Rodger have had a baby at last, and I'm happy for them. Unless Rachel breaks her work addiction, though, I suspect a lot of the care (from playdates to poo) is going to be on Rodger and a daily rotation of nannies. I will be *really* interested to see if

I love your pearl earring choice as a bit of classic style during the hard, messy business of childbirth and marathon running. I seem to remember I managed a bit of concealer, powder, and lipbalm before I headed to the hospital. I'd probably do that before a marathon, too, and I might add waterproof mascara. Gotta look good in snapshots!

Cloud of Secrets said...

I meant to say at the end of the penultimate paragraph: "I will be really interested to see if she chooses to breastfeed and/or pump. It's a wonderful thing to do for the baby and one's own figure, but time-consuming."

Cloud of Secrets said...

Oh, and the picture of your wee boy is so adorable. I understand the power of those newborn pictures. My kids can be driving me nuts, but when my daughter chooses a newborn photo album as one of her bedtime stories for me to "read," I can't fight that melting, helpless adoration in my gut when I see images of them as my tiny babies.

I remember wanting to bottle the sensations of holding them, so soft and warm and sleepy, or funny and gurgly and wiggly, so I could re-experience it. Even when they were eight. Or thirteen. Or fifty-three.


I also adore Rachel and Rodger and the show. I saw the episodes you referenced too, and was elated when I heard Rachel was pregnant, and even more happy when I heard she delivered a healthy baby boy. Something about the relationship between Rachel and Rodger is so endearing. There is real love, and I'm so glad that they were able to create a child together.

Your own recollection and perspective were equally endearing in this post. Children are such a blessing, and sometimes it is so easy to forget that. I have chosen not to have my own children, but have a nephew I babysat for a year from shortly after birth to his first birthday, so I understand the sensations you wrote about. My nephew and I have a very deep bond as a result, and over the years I've taught him the Greek alphabet and other things I know he'll carry with him the rest of his life. I will always love him as my own, and hope that in the future, he'll remember to come to me if he feels he has no one else.

Anonymous said...

Ah, I love your closing paragraph about how we remind ourselves of how precious a child looking at their pictures when they were tiny and helpless.

I went to see the Bill Cunningham film today--very, very impressed. Thank you for calling it to my attention.

sacramento said...

Jill, will you be kind enough to play teacher, and pass on to this blogger how to delete the word verification. I told her a while ago, bu I am sure you would do a better job, and pass on your knowledge:

Pull Your Socks Up! said...

Hi Jill, I'm so glad you popped over, thank you so much for your very, very lovely comment and kind wishes:))). You forgot one thing - sleep deprivation. I would have done ANYTHING to get a straight eight-hour sleep just once a week when my babies were little. Rodger looks so content and I love Rachel's 60s look in the pic. How beautiful your son looks as a baby:)))) xo

JTWisdom said...

Hello Jill,

This is a great post. I have been on holiday and didn't know she gave birth to a baby boy. I am happy for Rachel and her husband.
I do not have any children but I have nieces and nephews that I care about.
The picture of your little boy is precious,I love what you say about him. A mother's love is so beautiful.



jill815 said...

Hi Veshoevius, I was surprised Rachel decided to have a baby, actually. I thought she would just continue to focus on work. I wouldn't think any less of her for not having children, I know quite a few ladies who either decided not to have any or couldn't have any. Subsequently I am always jealous of their beautiful apartments, nice wardrobes, and relative freedom.

jill815 said...

Hi Sarah, I saw some online references to Rachel lying about her age. I don't know about 1962 being her birth year. That seems too far back. This will make you laugh but I sort of believed her being 38 (on last season's show), and just thought she liked tanning way too much and possibly was a smoker in her younger years. I'm with you, she should claim her age and be proud of it. But I also understand that she may have felt compelled to take several years off her age because of the industry she works in. Did you see the show where they show her and Rodger on their honeymoon? It was in 1998, the same year I got married, and I think I believed her age because she looks very young and what she was wearing LOOKED like 1998. Like I said, I just figured she might've been a smoker at some point, sat in the sun too much and never got any sleep! If that's not aging, I don't know what is.

As for childcare, I can't imagine her breastfeeding or pumping but I would like her even more if she did. I'm sure she's just going to add a nanny to her entourage!

jill815 said...

Hi Vahni! I totally agree with you re Rachel & Rodger, he really supports her and because of that I like him, her and the show even more. I am glad he got the baby he wanted so much.

I thought your comments about taking care of your infant nephew were so touching. You and that boy are bonded for life!

jill815 said...

Hi Terri, I was going through a rough patch with my son when I happened to look at a picture of him when he was a baby. All those initial emotions of unconditional love came flooding back. Now it's a trick I use whenever my son or my daughter are driving me crazy. Bust out the baby pictures! I need to be reminded of how wonderful they are!

jill815 said...

Hi Sacramento, mission accomplished, but did that blogger drop her word verification?

jill815 said...

Hello Pull Your Socks Up! Thanks for following my blog! You had me when I saw you in those stripper shoes. Smokin' hot and a hilarious post. I know I didn't make enough mention of the complete and utter sleep deprivation that a new baby brings. I felt like I spent the first 3 months crying after each of my children were born because of not getting any sleep. They are now 8 and 4 and I feel like I'm STILL recovering from years of no sleep.

jill815 said...

Hi JTWisdom, I just checked out your vacation pictures. I'm so jealous! I guess I don't read enough celebrity gossip sites because Rachel having her baby completely slipped my radar. It wasn't even featured on her daily emails. Weird!