Friday, May 11, 2007

Happy Mother's Day.

So, the other night I had a dream that I was late-term pregnant, and realized that I had never gotten a sonogram or anything, and how could everyone have overlooked that and maybe the baby isn't OK, and then when I looked down at my belly it turned out I was never pregnant at all. I was just fat.

"Man, you really are crazy," was the response I got when relating this dream to the man in the house.

Imagine a world where every conversation, somehow or another, turns to the subject of reproduction. Will you do it, are you doing it, have you done it and how did it go, and most importantly, how do you feel about it? If you are an American female in your 30s, you don't have to imagine this world. You inhabit it.

There are so many babies bursting into the world around me that I can't keep track anymore. I will now say outright that if I have not met your child, I am not taking responsibility for remembering its name. I'd like to be a good friend here, but it's not a matter of will. It's a matter of feeble brain capacity. I 'm sure your Avery or Essex or Bianca is one of a kind, but "the little one" is something I can remember and spell correctly, so that's how he or she will be referred to by me.

"But why don't you want to have children?" my sister-in-law asked me, before she was even my sister-in-law. "I didn't say I don't want to have children," I answered. "I just said I'm not sure. And it's not necessarily up to me. What if I can't? I'm already 35." I made the age reference to to cow her into changing the subject, but she rebounded quickly. "Well," she said, "I was 35 when I had my baby."

I'm not going to run through the pros and cons of parenthood here because most of us, at one time or another, have considered them. Suffice it to say that I do love most children. I do not love all children. My experience with childcare is significant enough to know exactly what I'd be getting into.

My two friends from high school, who are both moms and have always relished haranguing me about something, are now on a campaign to have me a) move back to D.C. and b) have a child. "Listen to me," one of my friends said in a moment of reflection. "I'm telling you where to live and how to live your life, and it's really none of my business."

"That's OK," I said. "At least you're an old friend. I know that if I end up choosing not to have kids, you're not going to judge me, and you'll still be my friend."

We both paused, and I anticipated the joke she was about to make. "Well, I'll still be your friend."