|I probably could have jumped on the McKayla is not Impressed
bandwagon, but I couldn’t pass up Wonder Woman. Photocredit.
Bewildered, I sorted through the soft yards of fabric in the brown paper grocery sack. Did my mother-in-law really just give me Mr. T’s baby blankets??? Is the world’s most unsubtle baby hint?
No, not really. At the time, M-5 was knee (and elbow) deep in a house renovating, Spring cleaning extravaganza. I interpreted (correctly, I think) the baby blankets to be a sign of purging and not an informal request for grandchildren (already).
Contrary to, oh, everyone else who seems to be asking me about my empty womb lately.
“Tick tock, Shawna! Tick tock!” shouted Myles, the mop-top 5-year-old Uno champion, at the dinner table a few weeks ago. “Tick tock.”
I smiled, shooting daggers at his mother*, who put him up to it.
The familiar refrain of questions/comments on the baby front is cropping up a lot lately although I’ve fielded them since before T and I even got engaged… “Are you?” “When?” “How many?” “Oh you should…” “You have to…”
Lately, I use my studies as a deflection technique, usually quipping something like “I’ve got to give birth to this dissertation first before I think about having kids…” But, (blessedly), I won’t have that excuse for long.
For the record, I’m ambivalent** about children. On the one hand, sure, I think having a kidlet or two would be fun. I’ve seen how my friends’ lives are enriched by rugrats. I hear wonderful stories and see evidence of the incredible, soul-deep love that kids invoke. And generally, I’m a fan of smart, loving, stable people having kids, so why not Mr. T and me?
On the other hand, I kind of like flexibility, and quiet, and (the potential for) a clean house, and sleeping in, and eating dinner at 9 p.m. I’m also desperately afraid that progeny would alter the playful, irreverent relationship that T and I maintain, not to mention the financial burden of tiny humans. Oh and did I bring up the impact kids could have on my budding career aspirations? (We can talk about the preponderance of childless female academics in another post I think.)
At some level I resent (maybe that’s too strong of a word?) that *I* get asked all the questions. Want to know how many people have asked Tim if we’re having kids? Hmm. Plus or minus none. I suppose one could argue that as the womb owner, I have ultimate say over it being filled any time soon (well, you’d think so anyway), but mostly I think people “naturally” associate babies and ladies. I’m a lady, therefore I should want to have a baby, yes?
But what if I don’t?*** Does that make me less of a woman? Less of a person? More selfish? Someone who is shirking her societal obligation to repopulate the earth? Hmm. Still mulling this over.
Some days, I want to tell people to butt out and mind their own bees wax. But most days, I’d like people, if they must, to inquire politely. Without the “shoulds” and coercion quotient. With some degree of tentativeness. With understanding. Yes? Yes!
* I love you, Melissa!
** Do note, I reserve the right to amend this sentence. I’ve heard from friends that sometimes baby fever hits out of the blue.
*** I often wonder how this entire narrative would change if the question is “What if I can’t?”