Friday, February 18, 2011

Bringing "Baby" Out Of The Corner.

A few weeks ago, I was surprised. It wasn't a good surprise, though it wasn't a bad surprise, either. It was the kind of surprise that takes a minute to sink in and then makes you decide how you feel about it. It was the kind of surprise that makes you reconsider if you're a right-to-life supporter, or a pro-choice defendant. Let's be clear, here: I am in a monogamous relationship. We have sex. I take birth control. I get my period religiously on the afternoon of the second day of the green pills, between the hours of 2 and 6 PM, always. But occasionally, a girl takes antibiotics or accidentally misses a day of the population control pills and finds herself sitting on the toilet, counting the days back on her fingers, wondering when, WHEN is she supposed to start worrying that there's something more to the bloat than water-weight? In short, could she be...gulp...knocked up?

Now, I am not the most child-friendly person in the world. As an only child, I never had to deal with younger siblings, so I always felt awkward growing up when someone handed me their baby brother to hold while they wrestled him into his socks and shoes. Of course I babysat in my teens-- but only for children over the age of 7; it was a strict stipulation. In the beginning of my twenties, I found myself nannying for a family with three children, ages 1, 6, and 9. Primarily, I spent the most time with the baby while the two older kids were at school, and I promptly found myself falling in love with Patrick and his Tonka Trucks. The Diaper Genie and I bonded. I started carrying around the necessities of life in my purse. I strapped a baby seat into the back of my Civic. At the local rec center, I earned the nickname the "Sexy Nanny" after an unfortunate incident involving a string bikini and teaching Patrick to swim (flailing baby limbs were involved). I got used to fending off questions if the blonde-haired, blue-eyed, pointy-eared little boy was mine. I decided, for the time being, that I was ok with babies-- as long as they were Patrick. (He was the man in my life.) But once it becomes a possibility that you might have found yourself incubating one of your own, you have to start asking yourself the hard questions: Could I do this? Would I want to do this?

As I pondered these thoughts, something strange occurred to me: I am no longer a teenager. I successfully made it out of the danger zone of having the social stigma of "teen mother" attached to me. I'd give birth at 22, a perfectly acceptable age to procreate. I'd have graduated college. I wouldn't even be showing by the time I accepted my diploma. I'd have nine months to decide what I was doing, where I was living, and establish a steady job (or more likely, jobS). I could still attend grad school, could still travel, could still move from Burlington to New York or Boston or Virginia or god knows where. I could still do all these things I wanted to do with my life-- it might just take a little more time, but I could do them. IF I wanted to.

I found myself touching my belly at random moments, as if I could learn about my state of affairs through touch osmosis. I got properly freaked out when TGIS curled around me one morning and started rubbing my stomach, then looked up at me and, out of the blue, said "Babies?" in a voice that sounded suspiciously similar to some kind of abstract hope. I hadn't told him; hadn't said a word, not even to my closest girl friends yet, but at that simple question, told him he better pray not, all while wondering if by some bizarre physiological design, he knew when he had hit the winning round of insemination and was able to commune with the budding baby. I excused myself to the bathroom and stared down my pelvic region for a good 10 minutes, looking for some kind of sign. The only one I got was that I needed to start going to the gym again.

Though I ended up getting my period a few days later (the operative part of that word being "late"), it still changed something in me to have seriously thought about the repercussions that getting pregnant at this point in my life could have. Instead of being cut-and-dry, I now was finding myself with options, which in turn opened the possibility if I were to actually want a baby at some point in time up to me. It wasn't anything I'd really ever considered before, other than a few other times when having an abortion was the only option I had even thought of. But now, that wasn't my only option. I had new ones opening up to me. And that was the first time in a long time that I realized that I was, in fact, growing up. And I found that that idea was more scary to me than the thought of another life-form growing inside of me.


P.S-- I cannot stake claims on the impossibly adorable little bundle of joy at the top of the post. That is Steve Ward of VH1's "Tough Love" fame's nephew, and I think he is THE MOST unFUCKINGbelievably adorable child I have EVER seen. I have a massive baby-crush on him, and if I could get a promise that a child of mine would come out looking like this, I’d have one. Tomorrow. Before 8 AM. ASAP. This child makes my biological clock HAMMER. Ughghjjaksfhsadfkhkjsabdfkhasdfkkasjdfbasfdkj. I’m in LOVE.

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