We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week.
Selena Gomez Has Removed Instagram from Her Phone
That’s right, the most-followed woman on Instagram has removed the all-consuming app from her phone, according to an interview published this week. "As soon as I became the most followed person on Instagram, I sort of freaked out," the singer with 113 million followers said to Vogue. "It had become so consuming to me. It's what I woke up to and went to sleep to. I was an addict, and it felt like I was seeing things I didn't want to see, like it was putting things in my head that I didn't want to care about." After taking a break and putting therapy needs first, Gomez says she felt reinvigorated. "It was one of the hardest things I've done, but it was the best thing I've done," she said. Isn’t that always the truth! We applaud Gomez prioritizing her mental health over social media pressures. —Mary Rose Somarriba
Viral Video of BBC Dad, Mom, and Kids
Already dubbed “the funniest video all year” by The Telegraph is the viral video of professor Robert Kelly being interviewed on BBC News as his kids innocently interrupt. Kelly, an expert on Korean politics, was discussing the impeachment of South Korea's president Park Geun-hye, when a bouncy toddler walked in, followed by her 9-month-old baby brother in his baby walker. Hardly a moment passes before the mom dashes into the room and collects her wandering cubs. All over the web this past week the video has garnered varied responses. Some have criticized the dad for not acknowledging his kids’ humanity as he shooed them. Others have cheered the fact that at least it’s a dad under fire in this scenario—the idea being that a working mom in the same situation would have gotten more flack.
There’s reason to believe women do receive more flack. In her 2016 book The Comeback, journalist and Fox Business Network anchor Cheryl Casone speaks to some of the challenges working moms often face. Casone wrote, “There are many fair and family-friendly employers and companies out there, yet there are still a lot who might assume (maybe even subconsciously because that’s often how bias works) that because you have children, you will be less committed, productive, and effective than someone who does not.”
More than anything I think this video offers a glimpse of real-life working parenthood, and I love it for that. I’ve been that caretaker before, shooing the kids from interrupting Dad’s phone call; and I’ve also been the one in the uninterruptible work meeting. Along with many laughs, for me the video created a sense of empathic connectedness to all working parents out there. It also gave instant fame to the Kelly family, who has since interviewed with the Wall Street Journal in a less frantic, but just as human, video. —MRS
New Law Gives Indian Mothers 26 Weeks of Paid Maternity Leave
Last week Bloomberg painted a grim image of what parental leave trends are really looking like in America right now. Despite a handful of companies with headline-worthy employee benefits, most of America’s companies have actually worsened their leave policies according to a survey by Society for Human Resource Management and the Families and Work Institute. But outside of the U.S. some big changes are being made. India has more than doubled its leave policy, adding fourteen additional weeks to the twelve fully paid weeks off that employees at companies with more than ten workers were already entitled to. According to The Cut, “India now has the third-longest fully paid maternity leave in the world” (behind Canada and Norway). However, India’s leave policy only applies to mothers and to their first two children. (Fathers, according to The Cut, get fifteen days regardless.) Adoptive and third-time or more mothers still get the twelve weeks. —Megan Madden
RIP, Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Could you ever be so selfless as to not only give your husband permission to fall in love again after you are gone but to also facilitate it? This was the question I asked myself as I read Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s love letter turned dating profile for her husband this week.
Rosenthal died Monday at the age of 51 from ovarian cancer, leaving behind her three children and loving husband and a legacy of twenty-eight published children's books, two memoirs (Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal in 2016 and an alphabetized Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life in 2005), and now this: “You May Want to Marry My Husband” published in the New York Times Modern Love column ten days before she took her last breath.
Despite her desire for “more,” as she writes, more time with her husband, more time with her children, more time “sipping martinis at the Green Mill Jazz Club on Thursday nights,” Rosenthal says she is writing this dating profile of sorts as a gift, to her husband and to the world, so that another love story might be born.
In her Modern Love post she tells us about a love story cut short. She tells us about the man who helped make her life beautiful. The man who loves to cook, loves live music, and who is compassionate and thoughtful. Rosenthal tells us about the man she loved for twenty-six years, and then she steps aside with grace and unselfish love to make room for someone else to pick up where she left off.
Rosenthal’s passion for life is an inspiration, but her ability to love deeply is truly something to aspire to. I hope one day I will be able to let go of my own life as gracefully as Rosenthal has, for the sake of love for another. Don’t you? —Monica Gabriel Marshall
Questions Raised About Jane Austen’s Death
We’ve been doing a double take this week at the headlines that Jane Austen, much-loved nineteenth-century literary genius, has a new suspected cause of death: arsenic poisoning. Before we get all murder mystery here, though, it should be noted that the theory isn’t half as dramatic as it sounds. The celebrated author of Pride and Prejudice and other classics died at the age of 41 on July 18, 1817, and modern historians have long been divided over various different probable causes of death. The most common theories, based on evidence and records of her health (mostly in her own words), are that she had stomach cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, or Addison’s disease. The new theory, that she had accidental arsenic poisoning, was posed last Thursday by the British Library’s website based on an analysis of several pairs of her spectacles, as well as references from Austen herself to skin discoloration. Apparently accidental arsenic poisoning was not all that uncommon at that time in England, due to the common use of arsenic in green dyes and medicines. Something to bear in mind when you daydream about stepping back in time into an Austen novel. —Sophie Caldecott
Fertility Treatments Like IVF Linked to Heart Risks for Women
For prospective mothers and fathers in the developed world, in vitro fertilization has become an appealing option for those who experience infertility. But IVF, as we know, is not without complications: great expense, moderate success rates, and ethics have collectively made the procedure unappealing to many prospective parents. But of late, health risks associated with IVF have become more apparent as well. According to the Canadian Medical Association Journal, women who undergo unsuccessful IVF cycles are at a greater risk for stroke and heart failure. The risk has always been apparent in the short-term, but researchers now say it applies longterm as well.
According to Medical News Today, “Compared with women who gave birth following fertility therapy, women who did not become pregnant after fertility treatment were found to have a 19 percent greater risk of cardiovascular events, particularly stroke and heart failure.” The women studied were an average age of 35, had undergone an average of three fertility treatments, and were studied for an average of 8.4 years following treatment.
The primary resolve of the researchers is that women should consider the long-term impact of such treatments. But they also say that their study is limited in that it really only accounts for IVF, which is quite invasive. —MM
Jogger Used Self-Defense Knowledge to Escape Sexual Predator Attack
This week a female jogger who was attacked by a sexual predator in a park credited recent self-defense classes for her escape. Kelly Herron, 36, told ABC news that after a 40-year-old man attacked her in a park bathroom, she started “hitting the side of his head” with the boney part of her wrist—remembering the advice from self-defense training just three weeks prior, that employing boney hits to “soft fleshy places” are good tactics to subdue your attacker. “My face is stitched, my body is bruised, but my spirit is intact,” Herron wrote in a post on Instagram. We are so glad Herron was equipped to prevail over the attack and has offered such great advice to encourage other women in self-defense—advice we can very much get behind. —MRS
March Madness Is Here!
It's one of the most exciting of the year to pay attention to sports. With a 68-team bracket and only one winner, there is much fun to be had in the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship Tournament. From cheering on your alma mater to trying to win your office bracket pool, March Madness is something that even the most casual sports fan can get excited about. The games started yesterday at noon and will continue until the championship on Monday, April 3. No idea who to cheer for? Check out this handy little guide. Go team! —Emily Mae Schmid