Peter Goodman thought that he could fix any problem by sweeping his wife off her feet. But when his daughter was born, that strategy failed him. His essay is read by Mike Colter ("Luke Cage.")
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Modern love. The podcast is supported by produced by the island, W B war, Boston.
oh the from the New York Times and W B are Boston. This is modern the stories of love loss and redemption. I'm your host magnetron puberty in the in the most difficult moments we face. We lean on our partners, rely on them and take turns being the stronger one. Peter Goodman learned that first hand as he writes about in his essay superheroes just for each other. His essays read by MIKE Colter, he's the star of Luke Cage on Netflix, and you can also see him in the defenders, Jessica, Jones and the good wife. The first time I lifted her up and carried her away.
I was acting on a whim seeking an exit from a stupid but dangerous argument. Though we lived in the glittering center of Shanghai, we couldn't agree on where to go for dinner, chinese or italian. a high rise restaurant with a commanding view or the leafy garden of a french colonial mansion. The stakes were hardly critical, yet our conflict was a proxy for a deeper question. Nine at our life. As a couple where were we headed, I grew exasperated she said for dinner in previous relationships I stormed out and sought diversion in a bar writing off the possibility. Resolution as both futile and beneath my pride. This time, though,.
I swept up Deanna in my arms damsels in distress, style caught by surprise. She said come to my rescue. I had literally elevated us above our stalemate. We kissed and headed out to dinner, no longer concerned about where we went. As a product of a nineteen seventy style parenting that embrace therapy. I been marinated in the notion that talk was the sole means of alleviating human friction Deanna, and I did plenty of talking. We could Stay up all night and not run out of things to say, but the obstacles in our relationship are sufficiently weighty than words alone would not resolve them. I'm a dozen years older and was keen to start a family, but she wasn't ready. I was an ex pat living in China, a foreign correspondent seeking to extend that life indefinitely
She was longing to get back to her family in New York and appalled by the thought of letting my career dictate her geography. She would be no one's appendage, talking, you'll, clarity, understanding and empathy, but sometimes it just brings exhaustion and recrimination. Sometimes action is the only pathway to goodwill, and when I picked her up, I approved it when we met Deanna, was about to move back to New York. But you didn't know
where she would live or how she would support herself. As she finished her first novel, I persuaded her to move in with me and stay in Shanghai when she expressed discomfort with my high rise apartment, my bachelor pad with a security guards eyed her suspiciously I found as another home. I felt a compulsion to surprise her ease her worries protector and demonstrate my devotion. I was intent on proving my Were to her, for the first time in my adult life, I'd fallen so hard for a woman that she altered my values and updated my ways of thinking as if the world itself was new, all of which made me addicted to her approval. he still doubted that we had a future even
Each month seem to reinforce the reality that we were hooked in deep. Now I had this go to move every time she felt lost or worried. I swept her off her feet. Every time she contemplated walking away. I carried her over the next threshold. I aspire to be her superhero rescuing her from whatever peril me and our path. Two years into our relationship, I moved back to New York. I threw my into eradicating the mice from our Brooklyn apartment. I attacked. in our modest backyard. We screwdrivers in pliers to keep the house in working order and navigated
If she elbows at the farmers market at our wedding on a steamy August evening, underneath the Manhattan bridge, I provoked gasps of delight from our friends and family, as I carried my bride across the pebble Beach and deposited her on the makeshift podium where we announced our vows unimpeachable evidence that I had not only captured her but earned her. When our son was born, I found myself perhaps like most new fathers feeling marginalized, but I he'll, wake up in the middle of the night and administer a bottle of pumped milk, while Deanna slept. I could assemble strollers change diapers and wrestle with car seats, but the next year When I daughter arrived, my powers failed me.
I was standing at the gate at Laguardia Airport about to board an early flight to Chicago for reporting trip. When my phone rang. Dinner was in excruciating pain, home alone, thirteen month old boy, she used the word contractions, but how could that be? It was early October. Our baby girl wasn't due until MID January, only Two weeks earlier, we had gone in for the anatomy scan and everything was perfect. Let's wait ten minutes, I told her thinking the scare would surely pass the ten minutes later. I was spreading out of the airport to a taxi line in my cab got a flat on the highway and the driver shrugged refusing to proceed. I heard myself threatening bodily harm, as I forced him to
continue to the next exit there I managed to commandeer another cab and arrived at the hospital to find my wife doubled. For in pain. I'm sure where she was supposed to go. I braced her with my arms and let her into the delivery ward, but I was powerless to protect her from what came next. I held her hand while the doctors listen for the baby's heartbeat. I hunched. By suicide during the emergency c section,
I listened to the muffled, sounds of the surgeons, exchanging words about a subject. We could not comprehend. Was this a stillbirth miscarriage what we learned provided? Neither clarity nor comfort, our baby weighed less than two pounds. She had a one third chance of dying and a one third chance of surviving with severe developmental disabilities as Deanna Lee in a recovery room bed, I was led upstairs to the neonatal intensive care unit, with his wisp of a creature was encased in a glass incubator and connected to an alarming tangle of tubes, wires and beeping machinery. It did not feel right to look at her, let alone photograph her, as a nurses urged me to do so. I could share.
image with Tiana. She didn't look like a baby to me. There was nothing I could say or do to lift us from our stark reality. I tried to reassure Deanna that there was at least a one slash three chance that her daughter would be fine. but then the doktor returned to our hospital room to tell us that our daughter had suffered a brain hemorrhage. She used the word catastrophic and discuss the possibility of comfort care, a euphemism for pulling the plug. If the hemorrhage proved to be severe enough, we might have the option of detaching her from the machinery within an hour she would die. I heard this as my cue to rescue my wife
My worst fears. What's the doctor had left, I told you in a bit: if comfort care became our daughter's fade, we would not be there to watch her die. We would go home to our irrepressible boy and four hundred and ten none of this happened we would tell ourselves this was a miscarriage, never having known her. We would not know the pain of losing her. I felt strengthened by my words of resolve, but my wife looked at me as, if I have become a stranger at if she were now facing this crisis alone. If it comes to that, she said we would be there, we are her parents. However long she lives,
for her life turned out to be. We are the ones who have to hold her she's our baby. In the moment, I recognise that my wife was the real superhero in trying to plot a clean escape. I was the coward over the months that followed as our girl endure transfusion
It's a collapsed lung and countless terrifying procedures fighting her way to a miraculous recovery and growing into the indomitable toddler. She is today my wife and I took turns rescuing each other when one faltered, the other, extended a hand. These days, we take deep pleasure in the simplest moments. We feel our daughter's sweet breath as we hold her and watch her splash her brother in the bathtub, and we feel blessed. We know how close we came to losing her and to losing ourselves.
I am no superhero, neither is my wife, but we have a body that somehow enables us to save each other from basic human weakness. This is its own kind of superpower, the MIKE Colter reading Peter Goodman's essay superheroes, just for each other will catch up with Peter after the break
I love my boyfriend and I often play spelling be together by together sitting next to each other playing individually and not cheating. Sometimes when I open up spelling bee- and I see that you have completed a few words on your own, I feel a little betrayed in sorry. That may have happened again I have one friend who I will say: in the screenshots, from spelling bee of inappropriate words that I always get nervous that I sent it to my parents or something like that was my bad. It was the first time together and I was out. I think I got to see it J, a c k, p, o t
Jack nice. I'm same as the sky. The digital puzzles editor for the New York Times. You can try spelling bee and all our games at N Y Times dot com, slash games, Peter Goodman, says what he remembers most about his daughter's birth is the trauma of not knowing what was happening. It certainly felt like the termination of a pregnancy as opposed to the beginning of a life. I mean I vividly remember the nurse bringing me up to the neonatal intensive care unit and saying here's your baby, and why don't you take a picture of your baby? So you can show your wife as if this were a birth with congratulations all around and, of course, has felt not only confusing, but catastrophic I mean here. Is this tiny creek
you're an and, of course, the pain of this. As I tell you, this is that now I look at the picture that I took them worry and that's my daughter, Peter and his wife Deanna were never sure that their daughter meal, I was going to be all right, but the longer she lived, the better her odds became we would be woken up in the middle of the night by these terrifying calls from the doctors on call telling us things that we become even eternal, I understand, and yet I vividly remember sitting there putting my hands into the side of the incubator and her grasping my finger for the first time, and then there was a nurse who picked her up and swaddled her. She was so tiny she was so light, but for the first time I held her in my arms and that was very, very powerful. After Mila had been home for a year, the family started to regain a sense of normalcy.
but suddenly Miller was unexpectedly put into the national spotlight some background here. Peter was an editor at their having to post then, which was owned by air. Will one day He learned the TIM Armstrong. The ceo of AOL had said he was cutting retirement benefits for the whole company because of rising health care costs specifically because to a well employees had distressed babies whose medical care had cost the company a million dollars. Each people in the newsroom began to quietly come into my office accused is talking about your kid he's blaming your kid for high elsewhere.
Ash Peter didn't feel he could say much while he was working for the Huffington Post, but his wife Deanna wrote a piece in slate about what it felt like to have her daughter's existence. As she wrote quote, used as a scapegoat for cutting corporate benefits, the piece got a huge response. One of the great things about Deanna going public with this was that it put us in touch with you know a whole community of people whose medical conditions had been reduced to a burden on society, and it gave us a sense that we were part of a big community of people whose everyday problems had somehow been reduced to. You know this thing that we had to apologize for and to to understand that there was a broad societal context that involved a lot of people in a far beyond us was was a very empowering thing. Tim Armstrong, eventually apologized
The statement that was four years ago meal is five now and she's totally healthy. According to her dad she's a fierce, determined, little girl she left reading, drawing and even rock claiming something her parents could have never imagined in those early days, every milestone with media was profound and special in a whole different way, because of course, we had grappled with the fear that she wouldn't be able to do these things. We didn't know if she'd be able to walk. We didn't know if she'd have full function of her hands. It was just that a week ago that for the first time I got me a bicycle without training wheels and that's exhilarating experience for any parent, but it was especially exciting with Mueller and each of these milestone.
does give us a chance that she's in control of her destiny, I mean she can have whatever life she chooses to have herself. That's Peter Goodman he's the European Economics correspondent for the New York Times and he lives in London. With his family, more in a minute. I love felling, my boyfriend and I often play falling, be together by together. I been sitting next to each other playing individually and not cheating. Sometimes when I open up scowling d, I see that you have completed a few words on your own. I feel a little betrayed very may have happened,
I have one friend who I will say: in the screenshots, from spelling bee of inappropriate words that I always get nervous that I sent it to my parents or something like that was my bad. It was the first time together and I was out. I think I got to see it J, a c k, p, o t Jack NICE, I'm same as the sky. The digital puzzles editor for the New York Times. You can try, spelling bee and all our games at N Y Times dot com. Slash games MIKE Coulter says that this essay made him think about all the things that parents can't protect their children from as a father. You are sort of power
lists, and it's something that I don't care. How strong of a man you are? It really hits home for me and being apparent. So I think this is a piece that lots of people will connect with and has a happy ending. So this is one then we can hold onto and cherish and say. Well, sometimes, life is fair. thanks again to MIKE for reading this week's essay. You can see him in season. Two of Luke cage on Netflix here's the annual Jones editor of the modern love column for the New York Times, I'm always entry, with how men construct their masculinity within a relationship and in Peter's case he feels like he needs to be decisive and he needs to be strong and when they hit this crisis with their child who's born
maturely. It was this challenging moment in their relationship and challenging to his ideas of his role in their marriage and how that sort of related to manhood and started deconstructing that manhood. I just thought he did a great job of of teasing those things out next week, Diane Guerrero from Orange is the new black and Jane the Virgin what about the other Laura walking around in Mexico spending my money and even speaking, to officials at my bank, all in an apparently convincing performance, of me, and here I was the real me if you are unable to tell in ways that simply mattered, a convincing story about who I was It made me wonder for a moment, if maybe she was actually a better candidate,
for being me than I was modern love- is the production of the New York Times and W B. You are Boston and Pr Station its produced direct an edited by Jessica, Albert Caitlin, O'Keefe John and every Sivertson sound design and original scoring by met, we are in turn. Louisa Judge. The idea for the modern love podcast was conceived by LISA Tobin. Iris Adler, as our executive producer, Daniel Jones, is the Picture of modern love for the New York Times and adviser to the show music for the podcast currency, courtesy of a pm I'm making a Joker birdie The.
Transcript generated on 2022-04-16.