Friday, February 01, 2008

Planning My Parenthood

I feel the need to publicly admit that I have been carefully planning my parenthood for years. How many years? Essentially since the beginning of my adult life. For giggles, let's just say...12.

For the most part, planning my parenthood has been easy. Much of this so-called "planning" has been centered around my generalized anxiety about being an unwed mother, much less carrying the child of some man that I don't know. To avoid the latter, I made a very deliberate decision to always be very careful and to never-ever-ever engage in such activities with strangers. Sure, I'll talk to strangers--I'll talk to just about anyone, but I won't have sex with strangers. Friends don't let friends have sex with strangers. This is just...not...a...good...idea.

All of this said, I have only recently been confronted with the notion that all of this careful planning on my part, which may otherwise be labeled "Deep Aversion to Parenthood and Fear of Social Cooties", might soon be coming to an end. My oldest and truest friends are now having babies. Many are warriors on the warpath to Babyville. If they aren't having them already, they are going through fertility counseling. One dear friend is even in the process of adopting. (In my mind, I see Babyville as a place where the milk flows in endless waterfalls, women no longer discuss the matters of the world, and poopy-diapers smell like candy apple...and somehow, bitter vomit spittle isn't gross. The sky is pink, the clouds are blue, and human beings go from infancy to adulthood in 3 days rather than 30 years. Oh, and childbirth is pain-free and actually pleasurable, and so men do it, too...)

Oddly, the topic of my own fertility has always been the farthest thing from my mind. Perhaps I have taken for granted that my mother could get pregnant looking at a door knob. In retrospect, it seemed fitting that she warned me at a very early age not to swim too close to boys in the swimming pool and to always, always, always be never, ever, ever, never! have unprotected sex. Only now that I am starting to hear of my friend's struggles and fertility woes, do I even stop to vaguely wonder if I will be like them in a few years time?

Obviously, it's difficult to worry about the endless possibilities of possibilities. It's counterproductive to worry. At the same time, it's also counter-productive to only throw caution into the wind.

Last night, I happened to be in a department store. A friend from college is having a baby girl this month, so I marched myself through the assortment of girl-child clothes and accoutrements of Babydom in order to find a gift. I fingered countless one-piece baby outfits with little giraffes and balloons and hoodies and things. I even admired a little dress that would look so cute on a baby...someone's baby...but not mine. A part of me was inwardly aghast at my lack of maternal feelings in that moment. Where is my sentimentality? Did I lose it with my Master's degree? Shouldn't a 30-year-old woman have a raging maternal voice in the middle of the baby section? Why was I not losing my head amongst all of the pink and blue booties and baby blankets? Why did the idea of a baby-harness carrying thing horrify me more than delight me? Hmm.

The answer for me was clear: There is a possibility that planning my parenthood may ultimately eclipse my chances to have my own children. And you know what? I think I'm cool with that. Not that I don't love the idea children, but just that I don't love the reality of having a child right now.

Someday... after the PhD...there will be sticky hands and little feet running around my skirts, but for now, I'm sticking to the plan.



I-66 said...

Honey, I told you already that I would adopt an asian baby with you. Have you forgotten already? :)

Anonymous said...

What is it about mom's & door knobs? Cheers & Good Luck, 'VJ'

Anonymous said...

Don't worry about it. I personally could not bear (no pun intended) even the thought of having children until I was 31. But then something clicked, and I no longer hated the idea of kids (I wasn't chomping at the bit to have them, mind you, but I finally felt at least the beginnings of some sort of maternal instinct).
Then my husband and I had kids, and I love being a mom.
On the other hand, some folks never decide they want kids, and that is ok, too.
In my view, the only real tragedy is having kids when you don't want them and/or can't care for them; it is just so unfair to the children, who are the only ones with no choice and no control over the situation. Everything else (voluntary childlessness, infertility and eventual childlessness or adoption, voluntary parentood...) can be handled and/or eventually enjoyed.

Namaste said...

Thanks, Anon. You actually put it much better than I could. I couldn't agree more.

I don't know, VJ, what is this madness about mothers and door handles? Oh, if only I could devote an entire blog to the eccentricity that is The Mother.

And, yes, 66. I am such a fan of adoption. Huge fan. For obvious reasons!

Jessica said...

I'm wondering if I might be one of these warriors about whom you are referring? ;-)

It appears a PMI list will not be necessary and I am very proud of you for being so level-headed.