Baby Post with Blabbering and Lots of Pictures!

I took a week off writing and forgot how to write.  So here are some miscellaneous word-thingies about life with our lovely Baby Benny, who is six days old today.


We originally chose Benedict Renée Fisher, thinking “blessed and reborn” was pretty awesome, with the bonus of a tribute to our beloved pope and St. Benedict.  But then we realized her initials would be BRF, which any self-respecting sibling would immediately and permanently identify as BARF.  So Renée was out.

When it became clear that the little stinker intended to be born in December, and not November, we started to think about more Marian names.  Maribel is for Mary, of course, with a nod to Our Lady of Guadalupe (whose feast is one of three due dates I was given) because . . . um, it sounds kind of Spanishy.

I tried really, really hard to give birth on Dec. 7, but the pious child simply wouldn’t budge until the feast of the Immaculate Conception (two minutes into Dec. 8, to be exact).

Furthermore, when I was in early labor, I had the sudden idea to use the Sh’ma Yisrael (something I haven’t thought about in years) as a mental chant while doing my useless breathing exercises.  The Sh’ma is a short prayer derived from the Torah.  It’s sort of the anchor for all Jewish prayer:  “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one.”  You say it in the morning and in the evening, and, if you can manage it, as your last words before you die.

So I went with it.  After the birth, my mother reminded me that Edith Stein, the great Jewish philosopher, who converted to Catholicism, became a nun, and was martyred in the Holocaust, took the name Theresa Benedicta with her vows.  So, Benedicta again!  This child has, at last count, four patron saints, including one with an apparent penchant for making cryptic suggestions to women in labor.


I hate, hate, hate giving birth, and this one was, to be honest, one of the most scary and unhappy labors and deliveries for me, although it’s hard to say why, since there were no medical complications and I had so much care and support from my husband, family, friends, and doctors.  So I will spare you the birth story, and instead I’ll take Jen Fulwiler’s advice and put it into haiku form:


Everybody prayed,
And I appreciate it!
(I threw out those socks.)

And we got us one of these:

So that turned out okay.  Let’s see, what else?


The kids are all more or less bonkers over her.

Irene, who is 2 1/2, did not get the memo about how the birth of her baby sister would turn her little world upside down.  So far, the only thing that’s upset her is the horrible belly button — she burst into tears the first time she saw it, and we were all much relieved when the scary stump fell off.

Yesterday, she said, “Mama, fanks for building Benny in your belly.”

She and Lucy (the little ones at home) are slightly disgusted by my negligent care of the baby, and are constantly reminding me, “Remember, don’t sit on the baby!  I fink she’s hungry, Mama.  You should feed her.  Be careful, don’t get jelly on her.”


It’s a good thing I’m married to my husband, because it would be very awkward to be this much in love with a man who’s shown such tender, generous care and attention over the course of this year.  I had such wild expectations of how very happy we would be when we got married and had lots of kids, but this is more than I was even capable of imagining.  Thanks for the babies, Damien.  I love you.


I’m so very, very behind in thanking everyone for all the prayers and good wishes on this blog, on the Register, and through Facebook and email.  Please do know that I was glad and grateful to read every one!  I know it’s not easy to spare prayers and concern for others when everyone’s lives are so full and complicated.  It’s truly wonderful to have so many friends, and to know that my little one is so welcome in the world.

And my wonderful mother-in-law, HM (I’m not being discreet — she goes by “HM”) dropped everything and cared for everyone for some long, long days while I got back on my feet (more or less).  And my daughter’s friend’s grandmother showed up with enough food for an army, just when I was thinking, “Ugh, can’t put off dinner any longer.”   And my parents made the trip to see their 36th (?) grandchild, bearing presents and bagels:


Jen Fulwiler has been hosting a sort of virtual baby shower for me over at Conversion Diary, and even went to the trouble of collecting a few pieces I wrote.  Jen has been a constant, gracious, and genuine support for my writing for many years, despite her incredibly full schedule of speaking and writing profound but accessible insights into the spiritual journey of a modern convert!  I can think of no better way for me to show my appreciation for her than to let her write me a check after people send her money for me.

She also told me that I ought to tell you all about it (she will be taking the “donate” button down on Dec. 16), in case you accidentally forgot to spend enough money Christmas shopping this year, and have been wondering how to make your bank account a little more lithe and manageable.

Phew, there, I did it.  Let us never speak of this again!  Hey look, here’s another baby picture:


  1. So many congratulations! What a beautiful girl and what a beautiful family. I don’t often comment but wanted to say what a funny, fabulous, generous hearted witness you are to life as a wife and mother. God bless you! I pray you have a happy and peaceful (?!) Christmas with all those precious ones around you.

  2. Thank you for sharing the pictures of your lovely family. I have been wondering how you all were faring these past few days. You have all been in my prayers. And I am patting myself on the back for having 2 girls with the names Irene and Lucy. If Simcha chose those names, they must be cool! God bless —

  3. Oh my goodness, Simcha! May God reward you for taking the time to share photos of Benedicta and your family. BTW, you look good in the pics. I remember how I looked….Thank you for sharing and being so honest. Your writing helps me realize I’m not the only one who wants to do my best at being a Catholic wife, mom, daughter, sibling, etc. but have everyday difficulties and problems, which can overwhelm even the most saintly. Thank you for your sense of humor. It helps me remember to have one, too 🙂 You will continue to have my prayers, Mama Benedikt p.s. my grandma was Jewish, I’ve been attempting for a number of years to learn more about this part of me-how great to be Catholic and Jewish by blood at the same time 😉

  4. A lovely post and a lovely baby. Congratulations!

    Edith Stein will move even farther up my favorite-saints list with her “penchant for making cryptic suggestions to women in labor”. For some reason, that’s the coolest thing I’ve heard all week.

    Finally, regarding the “worry” picture above: am I the only one who’s reminded of Bosley from “Charlie’s Angels”? (Yes, I watched a lot of crummy TV in the ’70s/’80s.)

  5. Yay, babies! 🙂 And pictures of them! And I’m glad you hate giving birth, because if Simcha can hate it then so can I. Because I do. And I dread it. And sometimes those around me unload industrial-strength guilt trips on me because of that. So, thanks.

  6. I thought I was the only Catholic mom who hates giving birth. I like being pregnant (mostly), I don’t mind being in labor too much, but I hate the giving birth part. Good thing babies are cute. And yours, Mrs. Fisher, is especially cute. As are all your lovely kids.

  7. My 4th little one was born 11/26/11, and my labor – while uncomplicated – also seemed more difficult mentally. I think I was spoiled after my last super-fast 2.5-hr labor.

    Little Benedicta is gorgeous! Congrats again!

  8. Such a beautiful baby! And such a strong family resemblance, you can really see how much she looks like her brothers and sisters. Congratulations to you both.

  9. Congratulations, Simcha! Benedicta Maribel is a beautiful little girl! I loved this whole post, especially what you wrote about your husband. It’s wonderful to read about a couple with such ardent love for each other.

  10. Simcha, Thanks for this post, it’s so nice to get a baby fix!! I love this line the best: “Mama, fanks for building Benny in your belly.” I think that sums it up perfectly! You have a beautiful family, thank you for sharing a bit of yourselves with all your adoring fans. 🙂

  11. Aw, thanks for sharing! I love seeing pics of your kids and hearing their names. God bless. I want to say something like “get lots of rest” but who am I kidding? ( typing while #5 is asleep on my chest)

  12. Beautiful baby! God bless little Benny. My husband was born on December 8th as well. My mother in law told me they were going to name him Marion, but at the last minute decided to go with Christopher (Christ bearer) instead. Thank God.

  13. So sweet! Congratulations, Mama. What an angel Irene is! I fear that our toddler (he’ll be 33 months when this one arrives) will be less gracious.

    BTW, we have the same futon. Had. Ours met its end too soon.

    Rest well!

  14. Sweet sweet baby! Congratulations!!!

    And thanks for the permission to hate giving birth. I (like other readers, it appears) feel constantly guilty when other Catholic moms swoon over the supposedly “beautiful experiences” of their births. I just want the baby out of the deal, thankyouverymuch.

    Baby Benny is perfect. Blessings on your Advent and Christmas.

  15. She is adorable. You and your whole family are beautiful. Since my husband had to trim his beard for work, I cannot tell you how much solace I find in your father’s beard. I’m seriously considering photoshopping my husband’s face under your dad’s beard, so I can see what glorious things my future holds.

    But I think that may be weird….

  16. So happy to see these precious photos! And as much as I hate labor (and if someone says she doesn’t, well….) I hate BEING pregnant even more. That has to be worse, right? Hating the whole dag-blame 9 months? So none of you ladies should be feeling at all guilty for not lovin’ the labor! I got the guilt all covered for ya.

  17. She is beautiful. Congratulations to you and your family. I love it when my kids meet a new baby for the first time, other than the little ones poking him in the eye (just to see what will happen, of course). Your haiku had me laughing, especially the last line. Our 4th daughter wanted to see how proficient her Daddy was at delivering, turned out he did more yelling than I did. I threw out those socks too!

  18. It was fun to hear the “history” of Benedicta’s name.

    The pictures are great. She is a honey. All your children looking good. 🙂

  19. Simmy, it’s a beautiful name even if Renée didn’t make it in there. Hope you’re getting as much rest as you can and eating a lot. So good to see you all thriving, and thank you so much for the updates! Love.

  20. I can’t say enough how really cute she is. And so are your other kids. And I also think that was a nice prayer you had in your head. All I had with my last daughter was Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire.”

  21. Expecting my third, it’s a little discouraging to hear that labor and birth don’t get any easier, but I am glad you’re honest! 🙂 I am also glad that you are all so happy with little Benedicta. That little girl is blessed to be a part of your family.

  22. Talk about Spanishy, you could have used Concepcion! My husband kept insisting we were naming the last one Concepcion, but I firmly vetoed it. She wasn’t born on Dec. 8th, but he still calls her “Conchi” which is the nickname for Conception. Now he’s got us all calling her that and she calls herself that too, which is pretty funny in public.

  23. One of my midwives, after I confessed to her that I was more terrified than ever at the thought of birthing my 6th baby, told me that it was a common emotion. Apparently, the more babies we have, the less likely we will be able to convince ourselves that “this time will be easy.” And I think once the real pain starts, all the memories of the other births (the bad parts) kick in. On the last one, when I hit that point where I truly REMEMBERED what was in store for me, I grabbed my husband’s arm and begged him to kill me.

    In my view, the Sh’ma is entirely fitting for the occasion. Because it sure feels like I’m going to die.

  24. Simcha;
    Your whole family is beautiful. What great kids.
    I love the Sh’ma – have no Jewish roots or family but as a Catholic have always been drawn to a couple of traditional prayers. After all, Jesus and Mary and Joseph, along with the Apostles all prayed them!

  25. Wow. That was a really happy, optimistic, joyful, post with nice words about your husband and others, charming anecdotes about the baby and all the other kids as well. I only started reading your posts this year (all the while you were pregnant) and have become a regular reader. You were right when you wrote that you are much nicer when you are not pregnant! I like both the sarcastic posts (out for a ride with big and angry) and these “all is right with the world again” posts. And most of all, the photo of you surrounded by kids, holding Beni and looking adoringly over her attributes. Love that. Thank you for sharing the lousy and the lovely. Both are real, and I and many others appreciate the “realness” of your writing.
    No go take a nap.

  26. What a love little Beni is, and so beautifully,shamelessly, chubby! Poor Mama, you had to birth those BIG, lovely cherub cheeks! All my boys were in the low 7lb. range, and my two girls 9 lbs., so I shuddered when you said “scary”.(Who said Moms forget? 2lbs makes a world of diff.) I still kinda want to hear the war story! Aren’t you still shocked that all the people on this planet were born that way? The good news, besides all the obvious good news, is you must be feeling all light and springy without the chubster squashing your bladder :)!!
    I LOVED the beautiful photos, and all the obvious devotion and joy–and of the very patriarchal grandparents too. How beautiful the tribute to your deserving husband as well. Keep enjoying the aura of new birth–such a holy thing isn’t it? Thank you! So uplifting. 🙂

  27. Congratulations! Thank you for sharing – as everyone else said, it is wonderful to get a glimpse into your family. Your children (besides Benny, who’s been plenty commented on :)) are truly adorable.

    And the picture of your parents made my husband remember that he had taught one of your sisters (Rosie) and worked with your brother (Joseph) at the Trivium school in Massachusetts. So we’re practically related!

    Congratulations again, and thank you for blessing the world with wonderful babies.

  28. As the seventh of fourteen children, I remember how we loved new baby siblings. We used to say we wouldn’t wake the baby, but could we just go up and look at him/her for a while. As soon as we got there, we would touch him/her to make the baby do something: yawn, stretch, etc. After a short while our little siblings could sleep through anything.

  29. She’s beautiful! What a blessed Advent for your family. God bless you for giving birth to this precious little life. I totally hate birthing too. I was blissfully ignorant when I had my first imagining the pain to be like strong menstrual cramps…I had no idea! Now I get severe anxiety the days leading up to birth, I am not one of those women that forget the pain.

  30. Thanks for sharing the pictures! It’s so wonderful to see the love of siblings displayed; I only have 3 so far, but boy do the older two (almost 4 and 2 years old) shower love on their 7 month old sister! Whoever said the best gift you can give your children is another sibling seems to be spot-on, as far as I can tell. (This sentiment may not be felt so strongly by me first thing in the morning when all 3 are bouncing on me, begging for breakfast). God bless you as you recover and adjust again to all the demands of newborn life. Happy Advent!

  31. Marvelous post! Everything I’ve come to expect from you, Simcha. Benny is a handsome lad. The first shot of your kids gathered around him took me by surprise: the little girl with the glasses very strongly resembles my second niece at that age — same hair color, same facial shape, same nose. If you tell me her name is “Rachel”, I will plotz!

  32. Ok, you don’t know me, but I clicked over from WaldenMommy, and I just had to comment. Your kids reminding you not to sit on the baby or get jelly on her — that happens here, too! So hilarious.

    Beautiful baby, beautiful name, many congratulations!

  33. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful…your new baby, your family, your writing, and of course, you. You are truly an inspiration. May God continue to bless you abundantly as He so obviously has already. I have a Benny (Benedict), also. Great name!

  34. Wait! NOoooo! This is what I get for falling for the whole “I’m over at the Register now, so just go over there” bookmarked link thing. Too late to donate? Donations closed? What? Does Jesus ever stop taking donations? Does His Church? This is heresy! Make the donate button come back!

  35. Congratulations! What a blessing!

    Now, about that thing we shall never speak of again? I find it oddly appropriate that the advertisement at the bottom of your article touts “How to Spot Investment Scams in Six Simple Steps”. 🙂

  36. I’m sorry, but I couldn’t get pass the sentence “um, it sounds kind of Spanishy.” I work at a pro-life crisis pregnancy center as the Hispanic Client Services Manager and all of my clients are Hispanic. I run across prejudice of all sorts — including from donors to our clinic, which is a non-profit — because many of our clients are illegal. Despite the fact that the State of Tennessee provides free medical care to all pregnant women, regardless of immigration status, throughout their pregnancy, and the fact that the children of these “illegals” will be American citizens, there is racism abundant. Maybe I am becoming too sensitive, but I found your comment a bit offensive. I don’t there is an ICE agent alongside St. Peter at Heaven’s gate. When I say that i am pro-life, I am pro-life, period. All life. Regardless of ethnicity.

      • Wait, did you think I was saying it was a BAD thing that Maribel sounds Spanish? I meant that we chose Maribel _because_ it sounds Spanish, because it brings to mind OL of Guadalupe (although it would make more sense to chose an Indian name, I guess).

  37. Yes, I apologize if I read it wrong. I thought you were implying that it was a BAD thing that it sounded Spanish! That is why I said that I may be too sensitive. I just hear this kind of thing so much at work that I may be reading too much into things these days. I LOVE the name Maribel. Congratulations and keep on blogging. Peace and a very blessed Christmas. All the best.

  38. Your post brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful precious baby! I thought my tears were due to me being pregnant, but I see I’m not the only one. I’m disappointed I couldn’t contribute to your virtual baby shower. God bless you and your beautiful family.

  39. I love the name Benedicta. Our older son’s 3rd name is Benedictus. He’s super proud of it and gets all excited whenever we chant the Sanctus at Mass because it has his name in it. I love the constant reminder that he is blessed and we are blessed to have him in our lives. Congratulations on the birth of Benedicta Maribel!! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  40. […] is… alive.  Perhaps she will treat us all to a birth haiku in the style of our homegirl Simcha but (please, Claire!) nothing more than that.  I did create a “gross” category just […]

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