I’ve always been careful to not set anyone’s expectations very high when it comes to producing children. When I was little, I remember seriously hoping that I would have a Down’s Syndrome baby, I think because Corky on Life Goes On was really coming into his own and I thought his parents were handling the situation with aplomb. When I was a little older, and getting my period, I resolved that I would be constantly pregnant as an adult, because anything was better than wearing pads for a week at a time. I’m pretty sure the adoption idea, though, came from one of my favorite books, which was, embarrassingly, called Baby Island, and now that I think of it, probably pretty strongly indicated that I wasn’t headed to a Ph.D.
From what I can recall, Baby Island is about a group of kids who survive a shipwreck with a bunch of babies. (On one hand, it seems like a bad idea to hand off your infants to a lifeboat full of kids, but I guess if you’re that sort of parent, you might as well take your chances.) Anyway, these kids grow to love the babies as their own, and feed them bananas or whatever, and everyone survives and then they’re rescued and it’s pretty much devastating for the kids to have to give the babies back.
This really struck a chord with me. To have a bunch of babies who really need you? That’s a really good idea.
But not as good of an idea as that of skipping the whole pregnancy bit. First there’s the issue that you have something growing inside of you for about ten months, and you know what? You can’t change your mind once it’s in there. It’s just parasitin’ around, scuba-ing in your uterus and kicking you whenever it feels like it. For every woman who tells me that it feel miraculous to carry a child, there’s another woman who tells me it’s hell. When my best friend from college got pregnant shortly before her wedding, I asked her if she was worried she’d feel sick on her wedding day. She said no, she was sure she’d love being pregnant. I laughed, but at the same time, I had a feeling she was right. I, on the other hand, know I’d be in a nervous sweat the entire time, just getting the heebie-jeebies and losing feeling in my legs every time I thought about it.
No one I talk to seems to understand this sentiment. (I also like to ask newly-pregnant women if, when they’re attempting to conceive a child, they panic at the last minute and jump out of bed before the deed is done. I have NEVER had anyone say yes to this, and I can’t imagine why.)
So all of this goes to say that I’m pretty iffy on the whole conception piece. Anyone who’s seen photos of Adam as a kid, or, better, read anything he wrote as a child, would think that I’m out of my mind, and that I should be gunning for a little tow-haired poet. But my DNA is the Taliban of modern genetics; you can shove it around all you want, throwing powerful weaponry and money at it, but, ultimately, our child would, surely, emerge with dark, cowlicked hair, a few zits, 20/60 vision and a copy of Baby Island, all covered in embryonic fluid.
I’ve so far changed my mind twice, for a total of about eight hours, thankfully never when Adam was around to start the conception process. The first was during the birthing episode of Bethenny Getting Married? One day she’s just a beverage magnate and reality TV star, and the next thing you know, all of her dreams are coming true. AND I THINK IT’S ALL BECAUSE OF THAT BABY. The second was last week. I was in San Diego, hanging out with a bunch of my high school friends, and they almost all have kids now, and they were all complaining about how tired they were and that the never got to hang out with their friends anymore, and they were getting super-wasted off margaritas, and I wasn’t getting drunk at all, because my life still involves happy hour four nights a week, and maybe it was just the genius thinking that I’d be drunk if I didn’t get to drink so much, and so maybe something should force me to stop, but…I thought maybe it was time for a change.
So we all go out to a bachelorette party, and one of the moms throws up and then falls face-first into her suitcase, and we all get barely any sleep, and the next day I go on a walk to my grandma’s house to get some hangover snacks, and on the way I call Adam to tell him that I’ve given it some serious thought, and it’s time to buy a house and have a baby.
And Adam, bless his heart, says, “I’m going to acknowledge that you said this, and file it away.”
Which is when I start crying. In my grandma’s driveway. With about five hours of sleep under my belt. Because my husband, who is 500 miles away, doesn’t want to knock up his hungover, sleep-deprived wife, who not four months earlier had announced that she refused to talk about having children until she was 32 years old…for her own mental health.
I told him that I felt like I’d asked him out and he’d said, “Maybe.”
So then I forced him to reassure me that he’d love to have a baby with me, any time.
Then I took a nap, and it was all over.
Your move, Bethenny.