Confessions Of A
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IN GRADING AND EVALUATION
BY GARY ROSENBLATT
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Dan Greenburg, his wife Suzanne and son Zack.
Dan Greenburg, the man who
immortalized the Jewish
Mother, has, at the age of 49,
finally become one.
The humorist, whose How To
Be A Jewish Mother became a
classic for its biting yet loving
look at parental love, concern,
obsession and guilt, has just
written a personal memoir of
what it's like to have a baby.
The book, Dan Greenburg's Con-
fessions Of A Pregnant Father
(Macmillan) begins before con-
ception, chronicling how Green-
burg and his young wife,
Suzanne O'Malley, decide to
have a child and takes us
through the pregnancy, birth
and the first months of par-
In an interview, Greenburg
readily admits that with his son,
Zack, now 13 months old, he has
found himself "doing all the
things I lampooned my mother
for. But I'm not even apologetic
about that. You try not to inflict
guilt on your child, but I'm sure
I will. And he may even resent
me at 18 when I come along on
Greenburg's parents didn't
quite reach that level of over-
protection with him. 1-1-e de-
scribes his Chicago upbringing
as fairly normal and middle-
class. He grew up in a Conser-
vative Jewish home, attended
Hebrew school and Hebrew high
school and went to Ramah
summer camps in Wisconsin for
several years. His Judaism has
been a very important part of
his life, he says, though noting
that his wife is Catholic and
that how they will raise their
son "is a big issue between us
because her religion is impor-
tant to her, as mine is to me."
Greenburg says he has grown
more serious, more thoughtful
over the years, yet it i' humor
that is most effective in his new
book. Geared primarily to
couples contemplating parenting
or "actively pregnant," the book,
according to Greenburg, can also
be enjoyed by parents with
young children (since they can
appreciate reading about some-
one going through what they re-
cently experienced) and even
couples who never plan to have
children since "it will give them
a vicarious experience and save
them at least $800,000."
Which covers just about.
"I never thought I wanted to
be a father," Greenburg writes
at the outset. "To me babies
meant all-night squalling, poopy
diapers and sticky fingerprints
on everything you owned." But,
he goes on, "I had gotten to the
point in therapy and in life that
dodging my fears was even less
comfortable than confronting
them." His self-indulgent style
of living had gone stale and he
was "ready to seek more in this
world than my own selfish de-
He .says that when he and his
wife Suzanne (he was married to
journalist Nora Ephron prev-
iously but they opted for cats
rather than kids) decided to
seriously consider becoming
parents, they questioned many
of their friends who had chil-
dren. They discovered, sober-
ingly, that some said they regret
it and that the most positive
thing anyone told them was that
parenting is enormously painful
yet enormously rewarding.
"Having a child is not a logi-
cal decision," says Greenburg.
"Far from it. It's illogical, it's an
emotional choice." But it's one,
he says, he'll never regret.
"I used to look at friends who
had children with great pity,"
says Greenburg. "Now it's just
the opposite. I pity the. friends
who are childless. I know how
that must sound to them but it's
true." He says it's the best deci-
sion he ever made and that one
of the benefits of parenting is
Continued on Page 26
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