I have never given having children much consideration. Maybe it’s because I was an only child of a single mom and I watched her struggle and it didn’t look fun. Maybe it’s because I didn’t meet Mr. Right until I was pushing 40. Maybe it’s because I have never made a ton of money and I know it’s expensive. Maybe it’s because the world is so messed up and I don’t know if bringing kids into it is a great idea. It just seemed more important to me to do my best to raise myself and become self-actualized than to be a mom. That was until last month.
I was late on my period. And it was weird because I’m never late. For 35 years you could set your watch to my cycle. In fact, I was so regular that for years my period came every 4th Saturday. I could plan my life around it. “Sorry, Lara. I can’t make the party because I’ll be on my period that night and I’m tired just thinking about it.”
So last month the day it was due came and went. And another. And another. Oh my God! Could it be?? A miracle! I’m 46 years old. How many eggs could I possibly have left?? And my husband–let’s just say there’s reason to believe his sperm motility might be a bit… sluggish. Then there’s our patchy sex life. TMI?
But I did the math and it was indeed possible that I was pregnant. I couldn’t believe how excited I was. And how excited Kevin was. We were elated. My belly swelled up, I was tired at weird times and I was craving things like Kettle Chips and sautéed mushrooms.
And I was seeing signs everywhere. I came to work one day and there in the tree right outside my window were two doves setting up shop. The mama was fluffing up the nest, the papa dutifully standing guard. I was flabbergasted. What else could it mean??? IT’S SO OBVIOUS!!!
I started Googling like mad. How soon can I take a test? Will it be accurate? I ran to the store and bought an EPT. I bolted back to work and peed on the stick in a bathroom stall. I waited. It told me I wasn’t pregnant. Bollocks! Of course I’m pregnant! There’s just not enough HCG in my urine yet, that’s all.
I scurried back to my desk and Googled some more. What about these cramps I’m having? Implantation cramps, obviously. It’s all over the web. The blastocyst is hunkering down on my uterine wall!! Baby names. Baby nursery decorating ideas. Baby clothes. Baby shower ideas. Oh my God, I’m having a baby.
I haunted pregnancy websites. I learned the lingo: TTC (trying to conceive); BFP (big fat positive); AF(Aunt Flo). Oh, the stories of women trying and trying for years to get pregnant and here I was, barely trying and Boom! God gives me a baby just like that. I felt slightly guilty. And, of course, chosen.
My friend invited me out for sushi. I skipped the sake and the raw fish. She couldn’t believe it. Jen without a glass of wine in her hand. I confided, “I think I’m with child.” Her face dropped.
The amazing part was how important I felt. My life took on entirely new hue. It suddenly seemed infused with meaning and purpose. As if God did indeed have a plan for me. I slowed down and drove safer, wondering how a car seat would look in the backseat. I was eager to get a jogging stroller, even though I don’t jog.
And interestingly I felt more beautiful. I got some fake press-on nails for $6 at Rite Aid with French tips because pregnant moms always have these beautiful nails. They made me feel more pregnant.
When my period was 5 days late I took another pregnancy test. It, too, came back negative. Not to worry. I went to Whole Foods and bought some pre-natal vitamins and a quart of expensive, small-batch ice cream which I ate for lunch. Extra calcium is important.
I couldn’t wait to tell my parents. They’ll never see it coming. My mom will fly out and visit more often to help with the baby, I thought. I won’t have to work for at least a year. It will be like early retirement! I can’t wait. My dad will be thrilled. He’s counting on my half-brother and sister, both in their twenties, to give him grandkids. But no. It will be me. His oldest. His first-born.
But the next day something strange happened. A huge black raven flew up and perched on the sill outside my window at work. And I watched as he homed in on the doves. In a flash they were gone. Fled the nest they’d been building. And I waited all day and the next day, but they didn’t return. And I prayed it wasn’t a sign.
On Friday I went to the bathroom and there it was. Aunt Flo. Could it be implantation bleeding? It happens in 30% of women. I took a deep breath and told myself the inevitable. I wasn’t pregnant. Deflated, I went and bought a nice bottle of Chardonnay for myself. When I got home and popped the cork Kevin came over and hugged me.
I’m trying to still feel important. To still feel that my life has meaning and purpose. But I feel a bit adrift at the moment. Why does God pass out pregnancies to high school students and deny them to the most obvious candidates? I know, biology. But it’s bad design if you ask me.