Saturday, December 03, 2005

Gung-ho and Unconflicted (Not)

This morning, I was pleased to note how much energy I feel lately toward improving my health. It is good to feel so gung-ho and unconflicted on the babymaking project, finished with the tiresome waffling I was doing when I began this blog such a very short time ago. But soon, a thought rumbling around under the radar bubbled up into the forefront of my mind, causing me to doubt all over again. I don't really want to acknowledging it, but here it is: Part of the reason I want to have kids is that I don't want to feel so outcast at holidays and gatherings where attention revolves around the kids. I mean, I take pleasure in my neices and nephews and all that, but there's only so much conversation about kids and parenting I can take when I have so little to contribute. I imagine it's how a stewardess would feel among a group of pilots talking shop: there's some common ground, but mostly not.

Also, and perhaps more embarrassing, I long to be on the receiving end of those benevolent, admiring smiles that women receive when they are pregnant or caring for a new infant. I've given a lot of those smiles over the years (never begrudgingly, of course) but damn it, I want a turn.

It reminds me of high school, when I had a crush on a boy who I knew my mother approved of. Nevermind that he was socially inept, overly sarcastic, with unruly hair (not in a good way) and a pasty complexion. (Think Napolean Dynamite with pimples and a genius IQ). Still, I fantasized about our wedding, how everyone in our community, especially my mother, would have approved the match. I knew it wasn't much of a reason to choose a guy, just like I know now that approval and attention aren't reasons to have kids.

It goes without saying that a moment in the spotlight is nothing compared to the day-in, day-out hardship and toil that go into even a perfect relationship, let alone into the thankless labor-of-love that is parenting. Perhaps my less than stellar thinking reveals that I was pretty starved for attention and approval as a teenager, especially in my family, and that as much as I would like to believe otherwise, I'm not as over it as I'd like. ("It" meaning the attention-starvedness, not the boy.)

Granted, there were a few things that genuinely attracted me to Napolean D. He made me laugh, for one, or at least his misfit friends did. He had big hands. I've always found that sexy in a man. And he had a crush on me too — always a plus. Similarly, there are some perfectly solid, honorable reasons I want to have a child. Nevertheless, I'd like to avoid making any major life decisions based on even partially crappy reasoning. I know I can't take back junior prom (yes, he took me, and yes, it was a disaster), but I can certainly learn from the experience.

I guess my point here is that aside from the physical changes I hope to make by ditching fudge cake and french fries, I'd like to clean up my psychological act as well. Step one: admitting I have a problem. It's a start.


themouseandhischild said...

I don't usually make comments on blogs but this whole "babies or not" thing strikes a chord with me. I've never ever wanted children, for all kinds of reasons, and always been lucky to have partners who don't either, but recently my otherwise wonderful boyf. has freaked me out by saying he "might quite like some"... and this makes me start veering towards the edge of considering motherhood might not be so bad after all... Hopefully it won't come to anything... it's usually the other way around, isn't it, men getting freaked out when their female partners start mentioning babies! :)good luck anyway whatever you decide.
I just read a book by a British writer called Toby Litt which I thought was good, and from a previous post of yours I think you might find it interesting, it's called "Ghost Story". It's about miscarriage, which the author and his partner have suffered, and it is partly autobiographical. Here's the amazon link:

Amy said...

Thanks for the book suggestion - I'll check it out!

Hope you post again about your own babies or not question - very itneresting to see this other side of the coin!

Trope said...

Hey, Amy. I found you over at abortionclinicdays, and I just felt like this post rang very true. My dh and I have been talking about kids, and finally we had to set the issue down until after the holidays, because there is so much child-focused oddness around that time of year. I'm also jumping in about two months late, so I'm interested in seeing where your story goes. Best wishes.