Seems everyone’s having babies these days. I guess we’re just that age ("we" being myself, Aaron, our friends, and my blog readership). A few years ago, it seemed everyone was getting married. It’s the next logical step.
I used to have a "thing" about pregnant people. Even when I was eight and my aunt (who lived with us) was pregnant with my cousin Michael, I was uneasy around her. It just makes me feel… weird. Like I’m witnessing something that should be more private and less obvious than hiding a watermelon under your shirt. Or like they might break. Or like something’s wrong with them. All of which I know is slightly ridiculous.
Since I’ve known more people who have become pregnant, had to work with them (half a dozen in my building), and socialize with them (mainly Kathy Fries), I’ve become less stand-off-ish about pregnant people.
Now it’s the baby thing that unnerves me.
Babies and I just do not get along. Especially little ones. It’s like they can feel my trepidation and awkwardness, and start to cry for Mom not two minutes after being plunked into my arms. Again, I feel like I’m going to break them. And I’m afraid to be too obviously taken in by the marvel that is Life. Someone might be watching, after all, and I can’t show that I’m a softie, now can I? Especially not around my Mom, who I’d like to think I have convinced that I am an emotional rock.
But at the same time, I’m getting this feeling… this knowledge that I’m going to do this someday. It’s akin to another feeling I’ve had, one that will require some backstory.
In the Mormon Church, the first Sunday of every month is set aside for the members to share personal experiences and bear testimony of the Gospel as they know it. It’s known as Fast and Testimony Meeting, because members are also encouraged to fast for two meals, and donate the money they would have spent on those meals to the Church welfare fund. (Mom and I made use of this fund several times — the Church has a Storehouse of food for the poor, funded by these donations).
Anyway, at this particular meeting, there’s no set agenda: after the standard opening song and prayer, and passing of the sacrament (This is My Body, This is My Blood… you Christian-types know the drill), the pulpit is open to all in attendance to come up and speak. It’s kind of funny, too, because so many people are poor public speakers, but they want to let everyone know they believe… so there’s kind of an unspoken ritual opening that all Primary children know, but all adults try to break away from: "I’d like to bear my testimony that I know this church is true. I know that Jesus is the Christ, and I know that God lives. I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet, and that [insert current Church President here] is the prophet today…" Then the child or stumbling adult stammers through why they felt the need to bear their testimony. Usually something happened that week to particularly affirm their faith, or something happened to them that they feel the need to share, in order to reaffirm someone else’s faith.
So, as a member of the congregation, you either sit and listen quietly and pensively (or not so pensively), or you start to wonder what you would say, if you got up there. If your case is the former, then Testimony Meeting is either entertaining and uplifting, or boring and tedious. Either way, no stress on you. If your case is the latter, though, the most interesting sensations come upon you. You can’t seem to listen to the testimonies, because your adrenaline starts up. A feeling of inevitability wrenches your gut. You know you’re going to have to get up there and say what’s on your mind. It reminds me of knowing you’re going to puke, except this feeling is supposed to be much more warm and fuzzy, coming from the Holy Spirit and all. (It usually isn’t, though.)
It’s that feeling of inevitability that I’m talking about. That knowledge that you’re not sure you want to do it, but you’re driven to it anyway. Something is compelling you to do this thing that you’re so apprehensive about. You know you’ll feel better afterwards, and you’ll regret it if you don’t.
That’s the feeling I have about procreating. Aaron and I are comfortable with the fact that we’re going to do it someday, so that’s a step in the right direction. But we’re also agreed upon not having kids for another few years, preferably until we have a house. It’s not like my internal clock’s a-ticking… though it kind of is, although I’m choosing to ignore it for now.
There are so many things to look forward to about having children, and so many things to be apprehensive about. For right now, though, I can’t even keep my fucking room clean, much less raise a child. But I’m inwardly jealous of all the new parents I know, while outwardly snickering at their sleepless nights and new responsibilities. Without waxing all emotional (I am a rock, after all), suffice to say that the bond between parents and child intrigues me, and I’m looking forward to experiencing it someday.
I’m 27 right now. OK, 27-and-a-half, but who’s counting? I used to think I should have kids by age 30, and I know that fertility becomes an issue at some point (right now, I do believe). I don’t know, though. I don’t know if we’ll be ready by then. I’d wager we’ll never feel totally ready… but Aaron’s too careful to have an oopsie, and I’m perfectly OK with that. 🙂 I’ve just got that feeling of inevitability, and it comes and goes. I want to, but I don’t, but I do… but my crotch tells me in no uncertain terms that it is not looking forward to pushing a watermelon through a straw.