While I am off dealing with Fucking Fussy August Syndrome and refreshing my blogging mojo, I’ll be re-publishing some posts from my early blogging years. This is the first time I ever talked publicly about not wanting children.
(“The Telltale Tock,” originally published here on June 26, 2005)
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
I’m at an age now where I’m apparently supposed to be feeling the “pull” of my biological clock. But I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and I’m pretty sure I was absent the day those were passed out.
Since this same time last summer 10 of our friends, family members, and co-workers have either gotten pregnant, had a baby, or begun the adoption process. And every time a new baby shows up, I truly believe that this time, I’m going to”get” it. I’ll be around this precious new life, and my own maternal whatever-it-is will finally just kick right in.
Instead, it usually goes something like this:
Someone sends out pictures of their new baby.
Other people’s response: “Oh, what a sweet baby.”
My response: “Wow! That looks just like a tiny, enraged monkey.”
Or, someone has brought their new baby over to show it off.
Everyone else thinks, “Oh, I want to hold the baby!”
I think…Nothing. Because I am frozen in panic. Because I know the second I touch that child everyone in the room will see that being around a baby isn’t making me want one of my own. And then my secret will be out. I am a girl, and I don’t want a baby.
Although truthfully, it really isn’t that much of a secret. Even babies know I’m not a baby person.
Once when I was in my early 20â€²s my then-boyfriend (now husband) and I were visiting friends who were in the process of moving. Because I was a girl (and, admittedly, not much help in the heavy lifting area), I got elected to stay with the couple’s 2-year-old daughter. Everything was fine at first but then she needed her diaper changed, and despite being a competent, college-educated young adult, I had never before changed anyone’s diaper. As a matter of fact, I am 32 years old and I have STILL never changed anyone’s diaper. (I know; some people are just lucky).
[Edited To Add: I am now 41 1/2 years old and am still going strong on the no-diaper-changing front!)
Anyway, this poor child was so desperate to have her diaper changed that she spent the last 30 minutes or so before her parents got home walking into her room, pulling diapers out of the bag herself, and bringing them to me in an effort to get the process started. Those were some of the longest 30 minutes of my life. It’s a pretty low day when your personal competency is exceeded by that of a 2-year-old.
So the fact that I’m well into my 30â€²s and this baby thing just isn’t kicking in for me has got me to thinking: what if I just don’t have it? What if, just like there are some people who can’t see certain colors, or some people who can’t hear certain tones, or some people who are missing the gene that allows you to curl your tongue, there are just some people who are born not wanting to have babies? What if, instead of spending all of my time worrying that I am some kind of aberrant freak of nature because I’m female yet have no desire to reproduce, I could let myself off the hook about this, and start noticing what I AM good at?
Because the truly ironic part of this story is that, while I get brain-freeze around anyone under 12 years old, I am TERRIFIC with teenagers. Just at the point when most people throw up their hands and no longer have any idea what to do, that is exactly the point where I have become somewhat of a pro-a natural, if you will.
[Edited To Add: When I originally wrote this I had my own business tutoring high school kids in Spanish. I had to quit when I got sick seven years ago. I’m hoping that one day I have the option of picking this up again.]
I suspect that the reason I was missing from the biological clock line was that I was first in line at the “Talking To Teens” station. After seeing everyone who was waiting over in that other line, I knew that one day they were all really going to need my help.