Saturday, July 19


Okay, lovely, good-hearted, well-intentioned people with gorgeous, big-eyed children who are convinced that I will want a baby someday: Maybe. You're not wrong. Maybe someday I will want a baby.

But today is not that day.

And you giving me that conspiritorial, winky, "I know something you don't know about yourself and the inevitable ticking of your inner female mommy-clock" smug look doesn't make me want to leap up and go get impregnated. It makes me want to punch you and holler, "I'm thirty-two, you! I think I have a decent grasp on my personal desires, and what I desire most right now is to punch you! Also I want a bowl of cornflakes! With honey!"

This is a hard time in a child-free woman's life, this thirty-something period. Every day I have to ward off people who think I want babies deep down in the bloody bits of marrow of my being.

We dodge them on the way to work.

Raphael: There's one!

Jenny (swerving on two squealing tires): Augh!

Raphael: Why'd you swerve?

It's true. Someday in the distant future, when I am a cyborg, I might wake up and decide I want a baby. It would probably go something like this:

Jenny: I'm feeling dissatisfied with my life. You know what we need around here?

Raphael (hesitantly): Wha-a-a-t?

Jenny: A cantouloupe. You know what else we need?

Raphael: What?

Jenny: A new left headlight for the car. Badly. I almost killed a guy yesterday. Accidentally, I mean.

Raphael: Yeah, we do need to get that headlight replaced.

Jenny: Also, I want a baby.

Raphael: (faints)

Jenny (taps him on shoulder with finger that has been modified to shoot out crazy futuristic metal webby thing - very handy for reaching things on high shelves and tying up intruders): Well...maybe I'll just have one manufactured then.

I understand that if I had babies, I would love them. I'm sure this would be true. I'd love them like crazy. To distraction, even. People wouldn't want to hang out with me anymore because they'd see in my eyes that I find them about as interesting and attractive as an old fencepost compared to my kids.

But while the "Nope-don't-wanna" argument stands up when you tell someone that you don't want to go back to school to be an orthodontist, say, it has no power in the face of the hordes of people who think that you should have babies whether you actually want to or not. After all, the world doesn't need more orthodontists, they seem to say. What it needs badly is more babies. Babies! Rawrrr!

Anyway, the way I feel about it is, at least if I allowed peer pressure to nudge me into orthodontarianismery school against my better judgement, I could change majors. And marry an orthodontist so I could have access to the parties.

But you can't back out once you've committed to procreation, so you better be damn sure that's what you want. And I'm not.

Shouldn't that argument be the best one there is?


Anonymous said...

Here is the problem with your reasoning: having a child is not anywhere in the same league as deciding to go back to school or to change a major. If you don't want one now, understandable. But don't compare it to going back to school. You can go back to school anytime, now or in 30 years if you want. But you may not always be able to have a child. Maybe not even now, even if you wanted one. Procreating, for the sake of truly creating a life, is not like anything else you will ever decide to do. And while you might decide not to until you have a burning desire or complete assurance that is what you want, keep in mind that what you want now may not be what you want someday. Either way, you will have lots of opportunities to decide along the way, so keep an open mind and don't be in too much of a hurry to run anyone down or punch anyone. After all, they know that having children is the most wonderful thing in their lives, so of course they want you to share in the experience for your own benefit, not theirs.

This comment was not to try to tell you that you need to have a child.

Betty said...

I agree you have the best argument there is. Unwanted kids are the reason so many children are abused and neglected. Parenting is the HARDEST thing I have ever done! I must also add it's the BEST thing I've ever done and you will never be 100% ready for kids. I think people just want you to think about it because the risks to you and the baby greatly increase as you get closer to 35, but I know plenty of ladies that have healthy babies well into their 40s it just may take longer to get pregnant. You call also respond, that taking care of your dog is enough for now.

Val said...

Ask your parents for advice.

Anonymous said...

ker-choo!!! sorry for raising the dust.

Jenny said...

So THAT's how you elicit comments! Babies! Rawrr!

So, I didn't mean to imply that deciding to have a baby is anything like deciding to go back to school. I am sure, first of all, that it's way, way scarier.

What I meant is that my feelings on the subject often get brushed aside by the people who have made a different decision and think that someday I'll come around. It can be frustrating. Some days more than others. Some parties more than others. What I want is for everyone to say: "You don't want a kid right now? Well, I really like mine, but okay!" and move on.

And anyway, I haven't actually made a decision about not having kids. I just haven't developed any sort of desire for it. At all. But then again, I'm as fickle as the nexy guy, so I also refuse to do anything drastic, surgically speaking or anything.

I guess what I was trying to convey (in a moment of frustration) is that what I want - and what I hear expressed by others who feel the same way - is for everyone to just chill out and take us at our word.

As thirtysomethings who search the internet a lot, we understand that by putting it off now we're potentially making a lot of sacrifices. We're taking a lot of risks. Maybe even the risk of never being able to get pregnant at all. Certainly the risk of never having grandkids to come visit us in the nursing home and smuggle in homemade brownies for us even though we're really not allowed to have them because of our blood sugar.

We just get tired of hearing the arguments ALL THE TIME. I know the arguments. And they're GOOD arguments, most of them. And everyone I know really adores their kids. And their kids are beautiful. But the arguments and the rampant love can't change the way a person feels about having children. Only that person can make an argument strong enough to do that.

Anyway, thank you guys for the comments. It's always weird to think that anyone's out there paying attention to anything I'm saying.

Oh! And I wouldn't really punch anyone no matter how many times they tell me I should get pregnant. That's a little TOO risky: if I ever DO have kids, I'm sure they'd never let me live it down.

Jenny said...

P.S. I live in the desert, so I don't mind a little dust!

crystinej said...

Yo....I used to be I watch Blues Clues...I think your choice is a fine one:)