Posts Tagged ‘baby fever’

On ogling a family on the subway

July 1, 2009

The other day, I was riding the subway with a family. Mom, dad (I’m assuming) and two adorable little kids. It’s been a few days so I don’t remember every detail. Maybe the girl was 4 or 5, with pigtails. The other one was a baby. The dad was possibly checking me out, which is fine, cause I check parents out all the time. Not in a pervy way, I don’t think, but just to see how they interact. At one point, the parents switched off kids, and it was so seamless, like, “Okay, you take her, now you take her.”

I loved that. I watched with envy, wondering how I might ever be able to do that. I love New York, but don’t necessarily see myself riding the subway with my kid. But maybe I will, I don’t know. I think the part I really had trouble seeing myself in was the coordination. It was like they both just knew what to do. I think one person trying to hold two kids in that same way would’ve been impossible. Not impossible to take two kids to school/wherever, but to hold them like they were.

As for me, I couldn’t stop staring. I so often can’t. The kids were just entrancing. Every time I’m in that situation, me with bags and books and stuff, others with little people, I feel like my life is lacking. Because, well, it is. Or rather, it’s full of stuff I don’t want, don’t need. I am trying to pare down, but then, well, I buy books, or request them. “I spend all my days with books trying to disappear” is a line by Elizabeth Elmore of The Reputation, from the song “This Town.” I always think about that song when I feel lost, out of place.

Lately, that’s how New York has felt to me. On one level, it’s comfortable, familiar, but on another, I feel like I will be doing the same things, living the same life, in ten, twenty years, unless I make efforts to change that. I turn 35 on November 10, 2010, and it may sound far away, but it feels so near. It feels like my chances to become a mom are slipping through my hands. I wonder whether I should push to go it alone, or push to try to make that happen with someone, and I’m not sure who. It’s hard to talk about baby making with someone you’re dating, because it brings up so many other issues about life, and lifestyle. The fact is, the way the person I’m dating now and I live wouldn’t work if we had a kid. And the other fact is, I don’t want it to. I don’t want the constant going out, the stress, the deadlines I don’t meet, the panic. I don’t want the sitting at parties wishing I drank so I could have fun like everyone else.

I love socializing, but lately it’s just too much. I’d love to be home with my kid(s). I know I say that and possibly would actually find it drove me crazy, but I do know that this life isn’t working. My place is a disaster, and people think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not. I have offers of help, but I can’t, not yet. I need to do it myself, that much I know. I just need the time, and I need to write. I’ve been putting that off and off and off, and I can’t any longer. All of these things, my disorganization, my debt, my mess, my relationship confusion, make me wonder whether my baby feverishness is just a desire for a whole new life, one that I am not a part of, one where I could slip into someone else’s body/brain/life. I hope not, because I think even though it’s scary, I’d be good at being a mom. Whether I can find someone who’d also be good at being a parent, I don’t know, so I’m just working on myself at the moment.

How much am I like Nadya Suleman?

April 10, 2009

Okay, obviously, right now, not so much like her. But…there is something about her story we all find compelling.

Suzanne Tobias writes in The Wichita Eagle:

Something about her story both fascinates and makes me fume.

I think it’s because Suleman illustrates a struggle every parent or prospective parent faces: the volley between heart and head, emotion and reason, decisions and consequences.

There is something irrational, if you will, about wanting to go through pregnancy – I’ll get to that sometime soon, the pregnancy lust, which is different than, strictly, the baby fever. But there is an illogic to it, because it is such a huge deal, a strain on body, mind, finances, relationships. And yet, there is that pull. Not fur everyone, but certainly, for me.

Tobias continues:

Part of me couldn’t wait to experience pregnancy and snuggle a newborn. I love babies. I love their cantaloupe heads, their wrinkled feet, their yawns and grimaces, the intoxicating smell of Ivory Snow and baby shampoo. All of it, divine.

Like Suleman, I envisioned family dinners and Christmas mornings, a house full of laughter and love. I’d love to have lots more children. But I also realize that pitter-pattering little feet eventually require shoes.

It’s no wonder that doctors around the United States have reported a sharp increase in the number of vasectomies recently. When the economy sours, many couples’ concerns about providing for children can overshadow baby fever.

That’s unfortunate. But far more upsetting is Suleman’s shortsighted vision of motherhood and the consequences it poses for her 14 children and everyone — including other working, taxpaying parents — who will help provide for them.

I think that’s fascinating about the economy and vasectomies. I think it’s interesting too because out of all the parents I know, no one has ever said to me, “It costs this much.” It’s always just, “It’s a lot of money” or “It’s not as bad as you think, when they’re babies, anyway.” In real dollars? I have no clue. My income also fluctuates and I’ve lived so paycheck to paycheck for so many years I’ve gotten used to it. I am striving for stability in that regard, not just for me, but for my future children. At the same time, will I ever have “enough” money? Probably not, but I know plenty of people who don’t have “enough” yet make it work.

What it’s like to be baby fevered

November 14, 2008

I turned 33 three days ago, and seeing that number still jars me. Being in my thirties at all jars me, because this is not how I would have chosen my life to be. Single, with no real plan for being able to afford to raise a child, let alone anyone to raise them with (I’m dating someone, but it’s long distance and to my mind, quite precarious). I live in two-bedroom apartment that is a gigantic mess, so much so that I haven’t let anyone in it in…a long time. And I mean anyone. That’s not something I’m proud to admit.

So many aspects of my life are not where I want them to be, from debt to career and freelancing to my personal life, that I often wonder how I can even consider becoming a mom. I mean, I don’t even always brush my teeth at night! I don’t take the best care of myself, but I’m trying. Last Febraury, I stopped drinking alcohol, after a particularly inebriated night when I did a podcast interview, totally wasted. Since then I’ve had one drink, in February of this year. I quit my 4-6 liter a day Diet Coke habit, and haven’t had any since October 2007. I see those as positive steps, but there’s so much more I need to do. Every time I say something mean about someone, hurt someone’s feelings, miss a deadlineæin general, fuck upæI feel like I will never be a good mom.

And yet, becoming a mom, having a child of my own, is something I think about every day. Despite this blog’s title, it’s not just a baby I want, I promise. It’s a lifestyle makeoveræa life makeover, really. A chance to do things differently, to not be who I see myself as, I gigantic fuckup, a mess, on the outside and the inside.

I read about parenting, and specifically, being a mom, a lot. I’m so honored that some of the women whose memoirs I’ve read, who’ve touched me so much with their writing, are now women I consider friends, like Rachel Sarah (Single Mom Seeking), Gail Konop Baker (Cancer is a Bitch), Mary Pols (Accidentally on Purpose). All of them have told me, pretty much directly, that if I want it, I will become a mom. I want to believe that they’re right, that I can overcome these obstacles, internal and external, but I don’t know.

I just know that I want it so badly. I feel like right now in so many ways I’m biding my time, wasting it on relationship drama, writing projects that I only sometimes care about, life busywork, if you will, when what I truly desire is for The Whole Package. Yes, I want to be pregnant. Sometimes when I’ve eaten a big meal or have just gained weight or gotten bloated, I look at my stomach and I have <I>way</I> more of a baby bump than what you see some of the tabloids saying count for celebrities. I’m not dieting or anything, but I don’t want to gain weight for no reason, but for a baby, I’d gain whatever I needed.

My grandfather, who is so sweet and loving I don’t always know what to do with his thoughts, wrote me a few months ago and said:

<I>Are you ready for a fulltime job as a mom? It’s such fun to kiss their fuzzy little heads; hear them giggle; watch them evolve into little people. But they aren’t plants. You can’t just water them once a day and see them sprout. A lot to think about and, I know the clock is ticking, but you have to be realistic, too. Nothing successful happens without a plan.</I>

I don’t know. I have a plan, kindof, but nothing specific. I go back and forth on whether I should try to become a single mom, like my mom (for the record, she advises against it), or seek out a partner who would be a good match. My current boyfriend, I just don’t know. It’s hard enough for me to envision us spending our lives together, let alone him being a dad. Then again, I don’t really know what he thinks about the whole prospect.

So that’s a little introduction to me. I’ll try to write here as often as I can about what it’s like to be a non-mom peering in at the world of kids and parenting from the outside. I do get to hang out with my awesome, amazing, adorable, very, very cute cousin Adam, who will turn 3 on Monday. Not as often as I’d like, but often enough to make me totally melt. I can only hope my kids will be as special as he is.