“Oh, you want to have kids?” My friend asked me, a hint of surprise in her voice. This question stung me, but I realized that I’ve never been that girl. You know, the girl who whines about her baby dreams and whether or not it will ever happen. The girl who cries over onesies and small baby shoes (that will never actually get walked on, so I’ve never quite understood them…I mean really, you may as well throw on a pair of tiny roller blades).
I assumed that I was missing that gene, or as my friend’s question continued to sting me, I wondered if I simply came off as a cold person. The heartless wench that makes babies scream once they are placed in my arms. Of course I think babies are adorable, but I’ve never had a problem noting their cuteness and then walking away to go stew in my own selfish problems. Problems like, should I have meat again for dinner? Or, when should I go get the pedicure I so desperately (yes, desperately) need?
I was my mother’s first “accident,” my brother was planned, and my sister was the second and final “accident” at the age of forty-one. We lived in a one-bedroom apartment in NYC and when my mother announced the arrival of my sister, my teenaged angst boiled over. “Where are we going to put her?!” I squealed. From there on out, babies became things that showed up without invitation and were met with an “oh, crap.” There was no romanticizing these bundles of stress for me.
Determined to have a different baby experience, my husband and I decided to stop being “safe” and just see what happens—our way of planning a pregnancy without too much pressure. Having a child is, by far, the biggest commitment you will ever make and I was almost too aware of this. I couldn’t understand how women got on the baby making train with such excitement and lack of terror. Did they realize that the outcome of this ride would last for the rest of their life? The thought of a baby made the word “forever” echo through my head à la The Sandlot. “You can’t just return it if you don’t like it,” I informed my husband. And furthermore, if I do love my baby, what if something happens to it? How could I handle that? Let me stop here for a second to point out that, yes, I know these are horrible, crazy thoughts, but I’m just being honest, so back off.
“The idea of having a baby is just so amazingly terrifying to me,” is the last thing I wrote in my journal before having two lines appear on my pregnancy test a few weeks later. Just call me Fertile Myrtle.
And here I am: ten weeks pregnant, feeling horribly sick, and crying over a viral video of a college band playing Rage Against the Machine. Yes, I am still terrified, but every now and then I find myself putting my hand to my belly to say hello. I think about how the baby will take after my husband, lanky and incredibly nerdy, and how much I will love that. I picture my parents with the baby and how happy they will be as first-time grandparents. Best of all, yesterday we heard the baby’s heart beat for the first time. Strangely enough, I’m starting to feel like that girl.