Maybe if Babies came with a Jar of Kalamatas and a 6-pack, then I’d Want One?
So I told myself I was going to start writing fewer, but more thought-out blog posts per week. You know, instead of just vomiting whatever comes up with my morning coffee, I’d come up with a concise subject, write a draft, take and edit some relevant photos, edit the draft, and post a nicely polished final product.
What ended up happening is the idea of putting thought into my blog posts absolutely paralyzed me with fear and I ended up writing nothing. Nothing at all.
What is wrong with me?
Speaking of all that is not right with my head, I realize my life is entering a fairly big transition stage. See, it seems like a huge part of life in my 20’s has been about weddings — planning bridal showers and bachelorettes, buying dresses I’ll only wear once, clapping as Justin does the worm on the ballroom floor while all of the middle-aged women stand in line to dance with him, toasting good friends and laughing at the fact that we’ve grown up so much since college and then stopping, awestruck, when we realize that all of this is really happening.
Me in my wedding dress circa 2006.
Justin doing the worm at my best friend’s wedding.
Now the wedding invitations are slimming out and new announcements are coming.
Announcements with big, round bellies and feathery storks and registries that force me to go to uncomfortable places like Toys R Us and Gymboree instead of fun places like Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond.
Instead of conjuring thoughts of delectably intricate fondant-covered cakes and sparkling glasses of champagne, they conjure images of enduring blindfolded baby food tastings and stimulating conversations about nipple shields. (Unless, of course, the invitation is for a baby hot tub party. Unfortunately, this evolution might be a slow process.)
And I always thought that these things were okay, I guess, as long as they were happening to other people.
What I didn’t know is that they’d start happening to all other people.
First, my cousin brought a gorgeous little daughter Emma into the world. Then my sister-in-law countered with my so-adorable-it-hurts-a-little pudgesicle of a nephew, Jack. Then one of Justin’s cousins had one. Then my friend Alaina. And now one of Justin’s other cousins is about to pop. And my next door neighbor is starting to show. And other friends are getting or thinking about getting knocked up left and right.
It’s starting to seem like everywhere I turn, women are gulping down this Kool-aid like it’s their job, and it’s making the walls feel all foreboding like they’re closing in around me and there’s all this pressure of people saying, When’s it going to be your turn? Or, Don’t worry — you’re next!
Except really, there’s not any pressure at all.
And I think there must be something wrong in my head, because at almost-29-years-old, shouldn’t I be feeling pressure?
When I look at this picture I took yesterday of my husband holding my friend’s new baby, shouldn’t my ovaries start tapping impatiently on my uterine wall, asking “knock, knock, is this apartment still vacant?”
But they don’t.
It’s like my ovaries packed up and vacated the premises years ago, thinking there’s no point in doing all this yearning work if I don’t even care.
The thing is, I like babies.
But I mostly like holding them for a bit, smelling them a little, carrying them around like overstuffed baby burritos and dressing them in silly hats, and then I like giving them back to their parents.
So I can go get a real burrito.
I like looking at them through a lens and watching them change and documenting facial expressions and using these images to find ways to make their parents happy.
To help them capture the gamut.
Umm… NOT peaceful baby.
And it’s at about this time when I think, man it would be nice to be sipping from a glass of beer or wine while reading a book at a cafe in Malaga right now.
With olives. Lots of olives.
Don’t judge me. It’s how I feel.
And that, I’m pretty sure, is the surefire sign that sometime in the wee hours of a restless night, the elves (I told you about those here and here) put me together all discombobulated-like and forgot to reattach a screw that was supposed to stimulate the part of me that would take one look at those last 2 photos and choose, without a second’s doubt or hesitation, the baby over the beer.
I mean, look at her.
I know that I love that baby. I love that she’s now a part of our group, and I can honestly say that given the choice, I wouldn’t go back to the time B.B. Before Baby.
I love her for what she means to my friends. I love her for the way her tiny fingers clench around my pointer when I hold her. I love her for the things I might get to teach her and the things she’s most definitely going to teach me. I love that I am going to get to spoil the ever-loving crap out of her.
And, I especially love that when that crap does come out of her, I’m not the one who has to clean it up.
Does that make me weird?
Probably. Or maybe it’s just a sign that I’m not intended to procreate. That maybe it’s a good thing there’s only one of me. Besides, I can’t mess up what I don’t even have, right?
I can’t say I will feel like this forever.
Maybe there will be a day when I’ll be holding Myra and I won’t want to give her back. Not ever.
If that happens, I might have to quit the blog because it would be kind of hard to keep this up while on the run for baby-napping.
But we’ll worry about that when and if the time comes, yes?
No matter what “they” tell you, it’s ok to have a glass of wine or beer once in a while. I know your mom did when she was pregnant with you – and you didn’t turn out too badly. 4.2 GPA in high school. No physical or mental side effects.
Well, maybe one. There’s a slight chance that a mother-to-be having an occasional drink may cause children to not want to procreate!
Well, I didn’t mean choosing between a beer and a child when I’m pregnant. I guess I meant it more like a metaphor — the beer representing life as a couple without kids (travel, extra money, much less worries, etc.), and the baby representing… well… a baby.
For those who are wondering, Penny is my mom. :)
And ma, are you sure there weren’t any mental side effects? ;)
If and when the time comes you will be wonderful no matter what your brain tells ya! And as for the missing piece the elves forgot to screw in…its there and will start ticking or turning when the alarm gets triggered. The elves do it purposefully so each is ready when should be. And if not then I have a few u can spoil as well!!!! Love ya girl!
You know, I kind of like the thought of that — that until (and if) my alarm gets triggered, nothing starts ticking. ;)
Even if you don’t feel ready, if there is an “oops” moment & a baby on the way, your instincts take over & you have the ability to become the most maternal person there is. Lots of people are waiting until later. I see nothing wrong with that. I had my first at 27 and my last at 32. I have always wanted kids, however, I often look at my friends who are still single &/or child free & wish I could have that back, even for just a fleeting moment. Don’t get me wrong. I love my husband & kids, but my desire to travel & not have to worry about 4 other people is still there! I just live vicariously through facebook posts & blogs where I can see & read about other “free” people’s adventures. :)
P.S. I agree with Penny- I partook in an adult beverage every once in a while while preggers & all my kids turned out fine. Well, the babe is only 6 months, so time will tell with her….but my oldest can say her alphabet both forward & backwards at age 5. Genius, I tell ya!
Well, yeah… if there was an “oops” moment, I’m sure we’d learn to deal. It does make me feel better to know that you waited until later, too. Except for you, it was holding off until the right time. For me, it’s just holding off. :)
I know what you mean, though, about missing certain aspects of not having kids. It doesn’t mean you don’t love them, but it’s a grass is greener thing — just like if I didn’t have one until 35, I’d be grateful for the “freedom” I had in my youth, while maybe wishing I’d had them younger so I had more energy or more time for grandkids.
P.S. I can’t say the alphabet backwards, so your girl is a TOTAL genius!!
It may mean that you just haven’t seen your own baby yet, which is an ENTIRELY different experience. After we had our first, we couldn’t imagine what mattered to us or what we thought about before. We expected to love her, as we’d always loved babies, but not THAT much. It’s an amazing new thing. Really unimaginable til you have your own.
My sister was never a baby person. When we babysat, I was always elected diaper-changer, etc. She thought you should be able to take a poopy baby and flush the toilet and dunk it (feet down, of course) a few times while the water swirled around and washed it off. But when she had her first (of 3), she said, “Now I know what I’m here for.”
It’s OK not to feel the baby connection until, or if, you get there.
Thanks for telling me about your sister — it makes me feel like less of a freak. :) At the same time, your comment also made me feel a little better about my potential decision to not ever have kids. (I seriously have no clue… just thinking “out loud” here.) I mean, if I never have my own, then I won’t know what I’m missing, and assuming I never get “that feeling” of wanting one, it’s really no loss. Plus, the same could be said about not having kids — no one knows how that feels unless you’ve never had one. :)
I know there must be amazing joys in having children — I’ve only gotten a small taste of that with my friend’s daughter — if there weren’t, no one would want to go through the work. I guess we’ll just have to see what happens!
Oh, I love this post! Everyone I know either has a baby or is knocked up. (I’m 32) Me, I don’t think I really have maternal instincts. Also, frankly, birth-giving looks utterly horrific. May try to have one one day, as I hear it’s pretty rewarding, but I doubt I’ll ever have that yearning womb thing either. It’ll be more a matter of deciding f*** it at some point and throwing out the pills and hoping for the best. (For what it’s worth, this is almost a 180 for me, as I was always one of those never never never girls. Maybe this is my version of broodiness. )
Oh, also, I love your wedding dress.
Thank you, and thank you! What you said about birth-giving is so spot-on. Although, I’m guessing I could deal with it (just like everyone else) if I knew the end-result was something I really wanted. But throw out my pills? I don’t know… I’ve known them longer than my husband. I feel kind of attached. :)
I have said it before and I will say it again: for two people who live hundreds and hundreds of miles apart, we have a freakish amount of things in common lol. The difference being hat I am rarely brave enough to mention my missing screw in any public realm for fear of being shunned. I love my friends babies, but I have never felt the desire to have my own. I am definitely missing some sort of gene, but to each her own in my opinion! :)
ehh… I’ve gotten over the shunned fear (finally). I mean, I figure anyone who shuns me isn’t anyone I want to be friends with anyway, you know? And you’re right — to each her own, and also to her right to change her mind — IF she ever chooses to do so. ;)
u have no idea how much i relate to this post.
also 29. also have ALL my friends having babies.
Also still scared as shit to have my life taken over by a small creature.
I feel like, i should want them though, while i’m still young enough to have them, you know? but, there are times when i think i do. then i realize i have WAAy to much going on and where’s the time for 24/7 care!?!?!?
Yeah that’s the part that kills me — the 24/7 care. If babies were like my dogs, and I could just stick ’em in a baby cage when I leave the house for a bit, we wouldn’t have problems.
I can assure you I have no plans on getting pregnant any time soon. Or well…at all. Preferably at all. Because the other alternative there would just be weird. I’m sure I wouldn’t look good in maturnity clothes.
But made it through my entire nephew’s baby life without ever changing a diaper…and I would have made it with my niece had I not been ambushed.
Ha, bravo for chiming in on this one. Though now I’m curious — how does the girl feel about this? (Not, of course, that I would expect you to answer on this blog. Or… ever.) :)
I’m sure the girl would agree that I should never get pregnant. It would ruin my figure. ;)
This post might as well been written about me! I’m only 25 and I don’t know a single person getting married, but I knew 8 women pregnant a couple weeks ago…
The whole thought of pregnancy, birthing, and raising a child freaks me out and I wonder if that fear will ever subside enough to actually want a kid. Life sans kids seems so much more appealing to me– and my pregnant and friends-with-kids have done nothing but add fuel to that fire… their horror stories keep me up at night… heartburn, peeing every 10 minutes, no sleep, temper-tantrums…
That’s all I’m sayin’! Sans kids means a relaxing evening with wine and a movie — any night of the week. I can cook whatever I want for dinner. If I have to stay late at work, I don’t have the added stress of worrying about who’s going to pick up my kid. I don’t know… it doesn’t mean I won’t ever feel otherwise, and as others have stated, having kids has its own rewards, but right now I just feel like being selfish. :)
Don’t worry, I NEVER even liked babies (so you have that going for you), I always thought I’d adopt a toddler, so I could skip to when they became human, then I thought I’d send them away when they were in junior high until they became teenagers and almost reasonable–instead we had the kids the usual way, and grew into them, ended up homeschooling, and traveled all over the place, doing all kinds of stuff. Kids don’t have to tie you down the way some folks allow them to, except for the early months.
Still don’t care for babies a whole lot, they’re cute for a while, but I much prefer personalities–point is, once you decide, there is no turning back, so taking the time to process your feelings is actually a sign that you are thinking about it, albeit in an abstract way.
We both feel like each step of the way was just better and better, as they grew, we grew with them. Sure, getting up nights, colic, etc., sucks big time, but cuddling with them and all the rest, more than make up for it.
But if you decide not to have kids, you can be a super cool aunt and uncle, which it seems like you are going to be (cute pic of your husband) & you will get a lot of joy that way too. There is NO wrong answer–except for folks who have kids that should not have them, of course…
It sounds like your kids had a pretty amazing life! (I know Kat’s mentioned it on her blog once or twice. ;) Ha, I most definitely am thinking about it in a very abstract way! The thing is, at least right now, when I try to picture having a kid in this house, I just can’t. I’m not sure why. Maybe someday, though… And you’re right — at least, for the time being, I can be a cool aunt. :)
Children are messy & smelly & noisy & time-consuming & expensive. I was never one of those girls pushing a baby doll in a stroller. When one slipped past the goalie(WD was conceived on a condom + the pill,) I lived in total fear that I would be one of those horrible moms that need to be tossed in jail for child neglect. It turns out, the maternal instinct kicked in and lo and behold, I love him even when I don’t particularly like him. I once made a teacher cry because I thought she was bullying him.
Still, I had no desire for more, because children are messy & smelly & noisy & time-consuming & expensive. But CG wanted a whole basketball team worth of kids, so I compromised with one more. Again, I lived in fear that I would be a horrible, neglectful mom during that whole pregnancy. Again, I bonded just fine and he’s my little Snuggle Bunny. Plus I have that whole crazy perfection thing going on, and if I’m going to do the mommy thing – I’m doing it like nobody’s business.
My point is, you might not ever have or want to have kids, but if you do – you’ll be fine ’cause you pretty much kick ass at everything. Love that pic of Justin with the baby, btw – Great pic!
You know, I think I am a lot like you that way. I might not necessarily want to do something, but damn it if I’m not still going to do it the best way I know how if it’s something I have to do. I’m sure, if thrown into the situation, I’d step up to the plate. The problem is I’m just not sure if it’s a situation I’d want if the decision wasn’t made for me. :)
This post resonated with me a lot … and you made my uterus hurt just a wee bit more. That baby is stupidly cute. Babies should never be that cute… they are just asking to be stolen a la soap operas :). And that picture of Justin – priceless. How can that not make your clock tick? I think you are right to be real with yourself that you are not yet ready. Don’t let anyone pressure you. You’ll know when it’s right…. or so I’m told :)
Haha, I don’t know — it’s the missing screw, I tell ya!
I never really liked babies. They are small, warm, soft, smell delicious, but a lot of work. I mean task oriented, labor intensive, little reward kind of work. Not like the work of preparing a Julia Childs recipe and sitting down with a large glass of wine to enjoy the delicious fruits of one’s labor. Its real back breaking -sleep sucking- beauty fading -relationship challenging kind of work.
I knew I’d have children, but I remember the panic I felt when I was pregnant. Oh My God! I am losing my life and this baby isn’t even here yet! I was exhausted, vomiting, experienced a MAJOR loss of my passionate love affair with food. My body was changing and I was fixated on the fact that my cervix would never appear pretty, pink and nulliparous. Yes, odd, I know, but in my profession, I’ve seen many a before and after cervix and the before is much more, well, pretty and pink. I got big boobs, a bigger ass, and the biggest stomach which didn’t evoke the glorious glow feeling and in no way made me look like J Lo. I felt this impending sense of loss of who I was. I knew my career would take a turn as my world would begin to pull me in many directions…the strongest pull being home. I had planned to travel and explore the world, make a tremendous difference in my career, the world was my oyster… but I became resigned that life as I imagined would not come to fruition and it was all my doing.
I never dreamt about my babies. I never imagined what it would look or feel like once they were in my arms, growing by the moment, wrapping themselves around my heart and helping me to become my best self. I was too busy living in my moment, the present.
Then, it happened. Not immediately after delivery. Are you kidding, THAT was excruciating! But, I felt this sense…I had just entered this private club of women who gave birth. I felt POWERFUL. I felt REMARKABLE. I felt ACCOMPLISHED. It was still about me. I had this exquisite little being handed to me and she was breathtaking, but I didn’t feel that immediate connection of motherhood. I began the tasks, nursing, changing diapers, doing an obscene amount of laundry. Sleep deprived, saggy, and overwhelmed, I felt less capable than I ever had. This is back breaking, thankless, lonely work. Don’t even get me started on the inane “play group” conversations about the color of your kids’ poop and how to puree baby food. I was suffocating with boredom.
It happens, insidiously. You can’t remember your life when this child hasn’t been a part of it. You can’t remember what you did with all of that “me” time. Babies and toddlers are real challenges to who we think we are and what we are capable of. But then those babies and toddlers become preschoolers and school age. Suddenly, those children are evolving into fascinating, smart, curious, kind and compassionate people. My children have become the most interesting and fascinating people I know. They have become my kindred spirits. I am in awe of how they make sense of the world and who they are in it. I realize that they have helped me to work toward becoming my best self.
I am a mother. Being a mother is the best part of who I am. It is the part of me I love the most. Had I not had my babies, I may never have fully realized my whole self. That is my love story. I want it to last forever…
Anna, that was beautiful. And as someone who knows your children personally, I can safely say you’re not exaggerating.
Thank you for sharing that. It makes me realize that no matter what we eventually decide, motherhood is not only something I should be able to handle, but something I could embrace. :) (IF I can deal with the ugly cervix issue — THAT I didn’t know!)
Anna, this was beautiful. Simply beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing.
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