It was the fall of my first year of college when I showed up at my GYN’s office for a routine PAP.
“Mind if my med school intern joins us for your exam?”
“Not at all!” I chirped, glad to be helping another person with their educational path, even as I started my own.
“Whyy Hallo they-ur, yew muhst be Lee-ah!” The drawl caught me off guard, as I live in New England.
“Nay-o ahm just gonna take yer blood…” I squirmed, and began to sing old MacDonald. Something I have done since I was three because needles and blood and that rubber band thing freak me out. I started on pigs and moved on to horses and cows.
“E, I, E, I, O!” I crowed.
“Well nay-o, yew are just gunna have to lurn to deal with blood, silly, what are yew gunna do when yew have lil babies?”
I was instantly furious.
“Get her out.”
It continued in various humiliations over the years: assumptions about when I would graduate leading to random friends giving me advice on timing childbirth. Even magazines, books and TV series indicating in one not-so-subtle-form or another that hey, the clock was a tickin’ and I had better make the best of my fertile years. Whatever.
Thing was, I never liked babies. They were loud, delicate and sticky. They needed things, indecipherable things and they smelled like poo. No thanks. They were not interested in the same things as I (cocktails) and seemed very irrelevant to me.
Last April, I was shocked to read a double line on my First Response, the first one I ever even felt the impetus to take. I looked up into my bathroom mirror and said, clear as day, all alone, “Oh. Holy. Shit.”
And I suddenly wanted to have a baby. After 26 years of NEVER wanting kids.
Disclaimer to this article: don’t use it to tell women of any age “they will come around” or “things will change– you’ll see” (insert condescending chuckle here) because that’s some serious bullshit, and none of it is true. The only reason that it became the truth for me, was, in short, because of what I like to refer to as the “solar eclipse” rarity of circumstance under which I felt comfortable and indeed confident enough to procreate. Here is my list:
- I wanted an advanced degree completed
- I wanted to be married to the father of the child
- The man in question had to be DAMN impressive
- I needed to own a home in a decent school district
- I needed to know, beyond a doubt that working would not be required of me. If I wanted to be a SAHM, I could and if I wanted to be a working mother, I could. It was a matter of choice.
This was my list. With my masters degree completed and the baby’s father being incredible. I only had to have a few targeted conversations to determine if this was going to work out. Everything did.