I wonder whether motherhood is a biological instinct or merely a
trend. Where the tabloids once boasted surveillance shots of celebrity
cellulite, they now display what might as well be publicity pictures
for the religious right's anti-contraception campaign. Julia, Gwyneth,
Britney, and even my favorite ass-kicking secret agent Jennifer
Garner have all jumped on the bandwagon breeding express.
when people I actually know start having kids, that's when I need
to bust out the Xanax because invariably, they think I should be
my office: On a monthly basis there is a collection for at least
one of the employees who just had a baby. And with every new birth
comes the reinforcement that I've already been married two years,
am almost 33 and (gasp) still without child -- I haven't even had
a miscarriage yet. What they should really be doing is thanking
me for saving them 50 dollars -- the amount of the damned baby fund.
I get, "You're dooming the human race," as a co-worker
once told me at the water cooler. Another colleague gave me a set
of what looked like playing cards but was actually "52 Rules
for the New Mother." And every day the women at my office ask
me when I will "get a baby." Yes, they use that term,
partly because English is not their first language, but mostly because
they think of it as something that doesn't require much thought,
kind of like getting a drink of water.
comments, as traumatizing as they may sound, could at least be chalked
up to cultural differences. I work at a Korean company and have
always been the freak of nature there -- the token white girl whose
outlandishness at once disturbs and charms. The fact that I remain
elusive about getting pregnant is probably more of a novelty to
them than anything else.
take my uber-Catholic family, where everyone is hip to having babies
-- hell, my 18-year-old cousin has already pushed out two. But the
most recent casualty is another cousin, a year older than me, who
got married last week. For a while, she was my most solid excuse.
I couldn't possibly have a baby before Holly, that would be rude,"
I would selflessly proclaim.
at her wedding, I shuddered when I spotted her generously swollen
breasts. Sure enough, Holly's mother was proud to share the news
of her daughter's "bean in the belly".
Once the word spread, I could sense that my own mom was getting
uncomfortable. It's bad enough that Holly's wedding outdid mine
on several levels (the ethereal-voiced vocalist belting out Puccini's
"O Mio Babbino Caro" while guests sipped from posh blue-bottled,
imported Welsh water was only the beginning of the trumping), and
wedding envy will plague us for the next few months, now we have
to deal with yet another pregnancy in the family that will not result
in her being the grandmother.
parents know me well enough to avoid actively badgering me about
having kids; nevertheless, I can sense their disappointment whenever
I call not to give them "the good news". And I'm still
not sure how to interpret my mom, who's never been one "to
scrapbook," all of a sudden compiling my report cards, locks
of hair, foot prints, drawings and letters into a binder for my
while asleep I'm assaulted by guilt. The other night in a dream,
my father demanded I have another wedding because I didn't do it
right the first time. In reality, I couldn't have done it more right:
getting married in a Catholic church, going on the "Engagement
Encounter" retreat where my husband and I spent the weekend
getting schooled on the rhythm method, and worst of all, allowing
myself to be berated by a priest for premarital cohabitation. In
my dream however, according to my father's estimation, the part
I got wrong was that I didn't conceive on the wedding night.
I can simply address the elephant in the room and tell everyone
that I'm just not ready to be a mother and frankly, don't know if
I will be. But isn't this a private matter? Although it may take
a village to raise a child, shouldn't it only take a woman (and
her sperm donor of choice) to decide to have one?
my husband is with me on this and won't bully me into bearing little
ones. Despite the fact that his younger brother's girlfriend is
going to give birth soon, and his best friend recently announced
his prospective fatherhood, I doubt my partner-in-crime will fall
victim to the, "Well, you are getting older" spiel.
to be honest though, occasionally I do have baby fever -- the fat
cheeks, sausage arms and gassy gesticulations can send me swooning.
But the key word here is fever and that's exactly what it
is, nothing a weekend of babysitting wouldn't cure.
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