From the time I was a little kid, I loved babies. I thought my mother was terrible for not providing me with a younger sibling, thus granting me that oh-so-favored place as middle child. Of course, as the baby of the family, I didn’t understand that babies weren’t just cute: they were loud, and smelly, and a big pain in the butt. Nope I only saw this:
As I got older, I continued to adore babies. My mother once pointed out that I’d better look at the boys first. Good point. Then again, I liken that to the way many girls think of weddings. The groom is generally the last piece of the puzzle, long after picking out your dress, the location, the flowers, your colors, etc. Notice there is a Dream Wedding Barbie, but no Dream Wedding Ken. That’s because guys don’t dream of weddings, they dream of trucks.
Anyway, by the time I had gotten out of my teens, I had developed full blown Early Onset Biological Clock Syndrome or its acronym STUPID. When I met my future husband I scrutinized him carefully. He was kind, patient, reliable, held an actual job, and children were attracted to him like he was the freaking Pied Piper. Perfect father material! Oh, and, yeah, I loved him and all, but a large part of me was thinking this:
STUPID is insidious, and is not termed “biological clock” for nothing. It feels like a constant ringing inside your head. You can be the most competent, intelligent woman around, but once STUPID hits, this is all you think about:
People will try to warn you. They’ll say sensible crap like “Babies are a lot of work” and “Babies are expensive and you’re freaking broke” and “Maybe you should wait until your marriage and / or career is more stable” and “You realize you can’t ever take them back.” All good advice. But you hear:
My husband and I could not agree on when to have a baby. I wanted one on the honeymoon. Him not so much. He was a good provider of the sensible advice. So I asked when he’d be ready, because I’m a planner. His answer, “I dunno.” This did not impress me. So I went along, irritated, and continued on with my job as a teaching assistant while working on my graduate degree. I actually started school because they offered me a job. Not only was the pay outstanding (right), it caused schizophrenia because you got to be both teacher and student, but not enough of both. So naturally it was right in the middle of a college semester when we had an Oops. Finally! I had gotten just what I wanted! But as soon as that stick turned pink, I thought:
CRAPPPPP what have I done??? We have no money. We’ve only been married 9 months, so we hardly even know each other. And most importantly: We cannot keep a plant alive. We are so in trouble.
My husband, the one who wasn’t so into it, took it in stride. Hey, a baby, cool okay. Just – what??? He is so laid back about most things, I’m amazed he is ever actually upright. Then came the joy of morning sickness, which doesn’t just occur in the morning, sorry. And hormones playing ping pong with my depression and anxiety, so that I was freaking out almost every day. I went to the classes I taught, handed out assignments, and took mini naps on my desk, trying not to puke. For four months, my constant companion was “Mr. Bowl”, which I took with me everywhere in case I had to vomit. Yay, pregnancy is so much fun! But that’s okay, because at the end you get . . .
Once the morning sickness abated, things weren’t too bad. Until we took that Lamaze class and they showed how your cervix will widen to ten centimeters. They had a handy chart. Every woman in the room gasped. I’m pretty sure almost all of us wanted off the ride at that point.
But in the end, I did get my baby, and she was beautiful and perfect and even came three weeks early. My mother said “See, I told you that you couldn’t wait 9 months to have a baby.” She slept most of the first month, and I delighted in dressing her up in all her cute baby clothes while she snoozed, oblivious. My friend and I took her along with us everywhere. She was the best doll ev-er. And then she woke up.
The first year was kind of like this:
So naturally, after we survived that, I started thinking, hey, it’d be kinda cool to have another one, you know, like matching luggage that poops. So four years and a mixup with the birth control later, we got our second baby. And immediately after, I had my tubes tied.
Now I can safely say that I no longer like babies. I mean, sure, I’ll coo at a cute baby, maybe even hold it a few minutes, but then I’m done. Done. Because I know what lies beneath the cuteness. Mother Nature is done with me, and so gave me relief from the STUPID. I realize she has to do this to us, so that we can continue to overpopulate the planet and whatnot. But dang, you do not want to mess with her. She’s ruthless. Just like this: