Panicking about babies
I’ve had babies on the brain lately, probably because nearly every conversation with my friends, both in person and online, somehow comes around to babies eventually. And turning thirty was a giant reminder that I can’t keep putting this decision off forever.
On paper, I probably shouldn’t have children. Despite having ovaries, I’m really not the type:
1. I don’t find babies all that cute and I fear that might be essential to being able to put up with their desperate, never-ending needs. In fact, I would rather hold a porcupine than a newborn – those things look like uncooked sausage.
2. As an only child, I grew accustomed to sweet, sweet uninterrupted quiet. For hours – days even! Oh glorious quiet.
3. I am somewhat temperamental. And by ‘somewhat’ I mean ‘really, very.’
4. I don’t do well with sleep deprivation. It seriously amplifies problem #3.
5. I also can’t seem to be able to nap effectively to compensate for sleep deprivation. It takes me forever to fall asleep and I wake up sweaty, disoriented, and you guessed it, with more of problem #3.
6. I don’t like kid things. This includes kid songs, television shows, cheap gigantic plastic toys, gigantic plastic toys that make noise, gigantic plastic toys that were assembled by orphans in China, and gigantic plastic toys that ruin the clean IKEA-like aesthetic of my home. I know what you’re thinking – just don’t buy gigantic plastic toys! Problem solved. Well clearly you haven’t been to a 6-year old’s birthday party lately (lucky you). Turns out this is the opportunity for everyone you have ever wronged (even just by inviting them to this party) to exert their revenge by giving your kid the loudest, biggest, tackiest shit they can find at Toys’R’Us. And all you can do is stand helplessly by while your kid falls in love with their new full-size, pink, plastic Barbie guitar that belts out “I’m a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world…”
7. I’m really scared of being pregnant. And of giving birth. And of breastfeeding. And of taking care of a TINY HELPLESS HUMAN BEING. Seriously, I hear they let you just walk out of the hospital with the baby! Don’t they realize I don’t know anything?!
So case closed right? Let’s just tie up my tubes and start drawing up plans for the wine cellar that we can build now that we won’t need any room for gigantic plastic toys!
Umm… just one thing though – I think I kind of might want to have a baby.
Ok, I’ll wait till you stop screaming “Nooooooooooooo crazy lady!!! I just read your list up there! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, why would you DO THAT?!?!”
Done now? Ok.
Well, as with most things, you can blame our dog.
Getting a puppy, while not really like having children, introduces you to some of the essential elements: being responsible for another life, doing what is best for them rather than what you might prefer, finding activities that let them come along, and learning to deal with the (usually unwanted) advice and judgement of those around you.
But the most important thing about getting a puppy wasn’t learning that we could rise to the challenge of caring for another being – it was the shocking realization that we might actually want to. That there might be something in it for us.
[This next part is slightly too sentimental for me to admit to for real, so please just let your eyes glance over it, hold back your gavomit, and then let us never speak of it again.]
Our life and the things we do are enriched so much by the shared experience of watching this creature learn, have fun, and experience the world. The thought of that being our child makes me finally realize why someone might be willing to put up with everything that parenting entails.
[Whew, ok done. Sorry about that.]
The concept that children bring joy to your life as well as bodily fluids and gigantic plastic toys probably isn’t new to most of you, but for me, this was an honest-to-goodness, eye-opening realization. Sure I had heard tales of it but I thought it was sort of like wedding Zen – a promise that would never quite deliver for me, even if it does for lots of other people. I had to catch a glimpse of it myself before I believed it.
That being said, I am obviously still scared shitless. I’m scared of not being able to conceive, I’m scared of conceiving and then having a miscarriage, and most of all, I’m scared of conceiving and then being pregnant and then having a baby.
My point is, we’re not quite there yet but we’re starting to think that ‘there’ might be somewhere we want to be.
P.S. The title of this post is a reference to this hilarious book. It makes me cackle in my bed at night.