this time of year always brings me back to a time, six years ago, when I first went off birth control, when I first pictured myself carting a real baby down the street, when my love/hate obsession with pregnancy tests first began in earnest.
I’ve written in the past how, pretty much the second that greg and I were legally married, having a kid together went from a terrible undesirable outcome that would have been a real tragedy to us both, to people openly asking, with big gaudy smiles on their faces when we were going to start having kids. huh? did I miss something? it took me a while to adjust to this line of thinking, raised, like any modern woman to take my daily pill like a good girl and slap on a condom for good measure because nothing will fuck up your life more than a baby out of wedlock. suddenly, I no longer bore the weight of that stigma. in fact, just the opposite. suddenly, I had an entirely new stigma placed on my shoulders. the stigma of being a married woman of a certain age without children (ok, it turned out that we had ruth pretty fast and so I managed to avoid a lot of the badgering that I know goes on for women approaching and then surpassing thirty without having children) but I can tell you that I did feel the pressure. from people’s knowing gazes and questioning expressions. “when?” suddenly, far from being discouraged from having a baby with greg, people were encouraging me to do so. it was quite a shock, that sudden change in reference point.
however, I wasn’t immune to the heady effects of feeling that a door that had for most of my life been slammed shut and padlocked for me was standing wide open with a large cushy welcome mat underfoot. while we were on our honeymoon, I suggested to greg that maybe I should stop taking birth control, because wouldn’t it have been romantic to get pregnant on our honeymoon? HELL NO, he said. well, there went that idea. but in retrospect it wouldn’t have worked anyways, because when I finally did stop taking birth control a few months later, I didn’t ovulate for almost half a year. but it was a nice, romantic thought, anyways.
skip ahead a few months, and I did end up going off birth control, and we started talking about a baby. and I started taking tests and daydreaming about said baby. I was sort of obsessed, truth be told. I used to sub teach and I distinctly remember spending much of my time wandering high school hallways and in between classes, daydreaming about what it would be like to have a baby, to be pregnant. I would come home from work, walk my dog, and picture myself instead pushing a baby carriage down the street, with a tiny little (of course quiet and sleeping) baby in it.
the striking things about these fantasies? they are curiously devoid of details. and, as they say, the devil is in the details. and the details are what make up 99% of my reality with kids. the heady, whimsical daydream stuff? it only makes up about 1% of life with kids. this is usually when they are sleeping or you are away from them for some reason, like you ran out to the store just to be alone for five seconds or while you’re taking out the trash. those are usually the only times I get back to those dreamy feelings of having a family, little ones running around.
it’s funny, isn’t it? how limited and idealistic our imagination can be. but still, I like to think of those times to remind myself how much I wanted this all when things get hard and messy and not at all idealistic or dreamy. plus, I like to have a good laugh at my past self’s own expense. what a clueless dumbass I was. I love my past self. she’s so silly and young and misguided. I just want to give her a great big hug and pinch her cheeks off. she’s so cute (disclaimer: I’m not really a multiple personality. I understand that my past self is not a real flesh and blood in the here and now person. but if she was, she’d be adorable.)