Don't tell me how miserable I'm going to be when the baby's born, how I'll miss sleep most of all. Don't crow that I'll look at the childfree with an envious eye. And for God's sake, don't tell me what I can and can't do while pregnant (drink, take anything stronger than Benadryl, et cetera).
Yesterday a Facebook friend posted the most insulting link on my wall: all the stupid and humiliating things to which new parents must accustom themselves, with a little note: "Better get used to it hun!" She took it down after I not-so-kindly let her know that what she did was fucked up.
I thought getting married brought out the busybodies. Getting knocked up, however, has proven far worse in that regard.
1) Thou shalt see Jack and Maizie as your brother and sister.
2) Thou shalt laugh early and often.
3) Thou shalt understand the meaning of giving.
4) Thou shalt appreciate, if not love, The Doors, The Cure and The Beatles.
5) Thou shalt be thy own person. We are here to support and love you unconditionally.
is a slippery one, tough to wrap your hands around. The question of who are you may seem more easily
approached when one is altered – drunk, high, something else – but sober it’s
so much more of a bitch. Life conspires to both structure and steal your
identity. You can’t allow it. The influences may come from without, but the strength
springs from within.
trying to figure out how to say this to Adam without sounding as though I’ve
preemptively smoked six doobies. Instead I say: “I’m sorry.”
the knee-jerk feminist reaction that may be imagined at that one! Why should
the woman, as vessel, apologize to
the man as invader? Penis as pirate,
really; a one-eyed Captain Jack. In any event, I am truly sorry. For once my
body has functioned as might be expected, and as it turns out it was the wrong
goddamned time for those sorts of uppity tricks.
mind-body connection malfunctioned. I planned and my uterus laughed.
my life I’ve considered myself too young
to fill-in-the-blank. At 23 I was too young for a full-time job, so I
switched to freelancing. Ten years later I was too young to get married, so I
stood under the chuppah and told myself that I would make it. Now at 40, I know I’m too young for this baby shit. I
wear a backpack, don’t I? I have way more in common with these early
twenty-somethings than I do with the women pushing strollers.
another thing I must tell you: The Mommy Mafia scares the crap out of me. These
are the women who descend to eat your brain the minute you make the
announcement that you’re knocked up. I see them in groups, tight multi-person
knots holding little bundles and patting tiny heads. They have been
assimilated. They have given themselves over to the Other, and the Other rules
their mind and their lives. The Other comes out of your body as a miniature
demanding devil and it is all you can do to stop from getting gored by the
Please, God, whoever or whatever you are, don't let me lose myself. Don't let me succumb to the Mommy Mafia. Don't make me the kind of person who will no longer listen to Eminem at top volume on my headphones. Please say it's okay to smoke pot every so often. Please, please tell me it's going to be okay.
When we were in Santa Barbara for New Year's, I felt a little off. Okay, I felt a lot off. "You're a drama queen," Adam told me as we walked down State Street and along the Riviera, and I agreed. Still, I took not one but two pregnancy tests. One inconclusive, one negative, both performed in toilet-tissue-strewn drugstore bathrooms.
After we returned home, I went to the doctor for an unrelated visit and asked her to run a test. "Negative, honey," she said, and I sighed with relief.
I didn't want a baby. Neither did Adam. Our life was exemplified by the time we'd just spent in my college town: out drinking until whenever, sleeping as late as we wanted. Sure, there were the dogs to consider, but they could be left for at least six hours at a time. We shared a single car, biked pretty much wherever we needed to go.
And even though that is all still the case, I find myself typing it in past tense.
On Jan. 29, I took a pregnancy test. When the lines appeared, I said: "Aw, hell naw." Then I called Adam and said: "Babe ...?"
Our lives had irrevocably changed.
The chances were that we were going to terminate the pregnancy. Never mind that at 40 years old with a preexisting condition, I was already a high risk. It wasn't about that. It was about the fact that we loved our life, the freedom and spontaneity and flexibility, and weren't so keen on giving it up.
A few weeks' discussion led to this: Adam looked at me and said: "We may be doing this, huh?"
I'm a writer and storyteller in Berkeley, CA. If you're wondering where that is, follow the smell of patchouli and skunkweed. There you'll find me with my kickass husband, gorgeous little boy, and manic Lab-Australian Shepherd mix pups. I'm represented by Miriam Altshuler of DeFiore & Co., but of course, my views are my own.