When I was a little girl, I just wanted to be a mommy. And now that I’m old enough to make that dream come true, all I want to be is a little girl again. I find the thought of motherhood rather daunting, which is weird coming from the girl who played “house” and carried dolls around like hookers carry condoms. My room was infected with Barbies, Cabbage Patch Dolls, and ratty, fluffy things that vaguely resembled dolls. In short, I aspired to be Nadya Suleman. My older sister on the other hand, just wanted to be left alone. She scoffed at me brushing my dollies’ hair and rolled her eyes at me when I kissed their plastic cheeks at bedtime. This is curious because she’s the one with the stretch marks and episiotomy scar, while I’m the one with a prescription for birth control pills.
My mommy obsession came to a screeching halt in my twenties when I realized the serious dysfunction of my upbringing. I’m not throwing myself a pity party; I know damn well there really isn’t such a thing as a normal childhood. But at the same time, I don’t want to toss someone into this world only to mess them up. I’ve seen way too many parents make a sport of destroying their offspring. And of course, I’ve seen quite the opposite. But anyone who knows me knows I don’t have time to focus on the positive. My brain concentrates and magnifies the negative. So, here I am, in mommy limbo.
I realized I was different from most women my age when I couldn’t hear my biological clock ticking. Silence enveloped me and I relished in it. Entering my thirties without a baby strapped to my hip did not make me want to throw myself under a bus or run to the nearest fertility clinic. I didn’t flirt with the idea of what I’d look like all knocked up, or imagine myself chasing after a mini me. But, I did become concerned and took it upon myself to figure out what in the hell was going on. A guy once told me, “There’s something very wrong with women who lack maternal desires.” He was talking about me, and it kind of felt like he’d just slapped me upside the head with a mental illness. Everyone knows mental illnesses carry a stigma. So there I was, carrying a searing mental illness—not a baby.
I asked my baby-brained friends to tell me the moment they knew they wanted to wipe assess and scrub puke out of the carpet. Their answer: “I just knew.” Thanks, but that doesn’t help. One friend did offer a more enlightening answer: “Well, I want kids now because I don’t want to be alone.” Hmm … I like being alone. Maybe she meant lonely? Having my DNA care for me instead of a nursing home does sound more enticing. I thought about trying to trick myself into wanting kiddies. I doubted that would work, but knew I needed to think of something because all those super respectful people out there were relentless in asking me when I planned on popping out a kid. I suck at lying, saying “I don’t know” sounded wooly, and answering, “Never” was met with dirty looks.
Then I remembered something I heard somewhere and just started repeating it, “I will want kids when and if I meet the right person.” This wasn’t exactly lying because maybe it was true. I mean, I was single, so maybe there was some magical man out there who would shake a rattle at me and boom!, a baby spell would be cast. In the meantime, I was perfectly content with my answer and others seemed to be as well.
And as is the case with most things I say out loud, the universe listens and bestows the goods upon me—even if it’s not exactly what I had in mind. Like the time I declared I would need either prison or surgery to release me from my exercise addiction in order to give me time to write my book. Um, I’ve been prohibited from exercise for over a year and am recovering from hip surgery. Thank you, universe. I’m only being mildly sarcastic and that’s because I’m not literally in prison, just figuratively. I would not survive in the clink. Perhaps, the universe knows this. Either way, just be very specific in your dealings with the universe.
Anyway, during my separation from my tennis shoes and bicycle, my body did some changing. It selfishly gained ten pounds and relieved itself from the grips of secondary amenorrhea. After five years of not bleeding due to excessive exercise, I took buying tampons seriously. Like baby-making serious. It felt like my body was talking to—okay, screaming at me. Maybe my body knew it was time to prep itself for a kid, but my mind just hadn’t caught up yet. Regardless, I bought folic acid. Hey, it was cheaper than a regular old multivitamin, and I had some catching up to do.
After having five regular visits from Aunt Flo, I met someone. It turned into all that sickly sweet stuff you see in every Katherine Heigl movie. I will spare your gag reflex here. But, finding him is also what made me fool around with the idea of bringing a human being into the world. My stolen, questionable response of wanting babies after I’d met the right person turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I’m neurotic and have many unjustifiable fears, so sleeping with someone who is constant, calming, and reassuring nullifies my worries. His mild manner, loving nature, fierce loyalty, and childlike charisma are like Xanax for me. And as my mind quiets itself, I can finally hear the ticking’s of my biological clock. Yeah it’s faint, but at least I know it’s there.