Yesterday afternoon, I found The Land of Nod catalog in our mailbox.
The Land of Nod is Crate & Barrel’s answer to Pottery Barn Kids. It sells cutesy things like curtains with animals, personalized anything, clothes, blankets, rugs, furniture, anything and everything you that babies really don’t need but it’s fun to buy for them anyways.
Have no fear, the baby shopping and the catalog were not for me. Instead, they were the result of recent purchases for the gaggle of women exploding in babies around me. In the past few weeks, I have bought more clothing for a baby than for myself. And none of these clothing items were bigger than a sock. And for the cost of purchasing, gift wrapping, and mailing these small things you start to wonder, can I just send a sock?
But that’s the fun of friends and family having babies. And it seems like right now, babies are the in thing. Babies or babies on board are literally everywhere in my life. My cousins, Catherine and Claire, just gave birth to Rebecca and Cassidy. Kim gave birth to Kaden. Kathy is set to pop with baby with name to-be-announced. Melissa is halfway there with possibly to be named Mabel.
But before I share 10,000 reasons why Mabel Fedofsky will not get picked first in gym class, I want to tell you that this baby explosion thing – this is what happens when you’re in your 30’s.
Let me explain.
In your 20’s, everyone around you is either getting married or getting drunk. In your 30’s, the one’s that are married are having babies and the one’s getting drunk are lamenting about finding someone to marry so they can have a baby, and they’re probably still getting drunk.
But when you reach your 30’s, as a woman, baby talk becomes a daily way of life. You are either asked if you have kids, or if you’re having kids, or when you’re having kids, or don’t you know that if you don’t start having kids you’ll have nothing but bad eggs left.
And for some reason, if you’re in your 30’s and not having kids, you start to feel bad. Like a failure. Like you aren’t doing your part in multiplying the world. So you start to wonder if you are the one that’s wrong. If you didn’t get the I-want-baby gene. You wonder what went wrong in your upbringing or more recently in your adult life.
Couple that with that fact that everyday you hear the incessant tick tock of a clock you can never find. But can always hear. If and when you do find it, you have visions of chucking it on to a very busy highway while shouting I GET IT, I GET IT ALREADY, STOP THE TICKING, STOP WITH THE TICKITY TICK TICKING ALL FREAKIN’ DAY LONG. I. GET. IT.
And if you’re like me, in your 30’s and not having a baby – you have a lot of talking to do. A lot of explaining. And a lot of thinking. Because it gets into your brain, and under your skin. Should I? Will I? When? Now? Then? Why? Why not? What if?
For awhile, I was faced with this baby stuff everyday via very pregnant co-worker/friend. A daily vision of her would trigger thoughts of baby, baby, if not now, when, baby, now, baby, baby in my head. A living reminder that my time was ticking because she and I are the same age. But at some point in September, she obviously found, and stopped the clock, while I am here still searching.
When she left her position a few weeks ago, I was no longer surrounded by baby-on-board and thoughts of baby seemed to go mostly away. But yesterday morning, as she sat across from me while having coffee, the baby talk and thoughts came right on back. She is 2 weeks from due date and I swear she couldn’t be any happier. She is the happiest pregnant woman I have ever met. She was normally a smiley, happy person. But this pregnancy thing pushed her way over the edge. Her belly is twice the size of the rest of her body, her bladder is half the size, and she seems ten times as delighted. She’s watching Dr. Phil everyday, she’s got the boobs she has always dreamed of. And in exactly two weeks she will be laying in a hospital room pushing out a baby while simultaneously shitting herself. And she can’t wait.
For a moment that morning, I started thinking that maybe right now is the time for my life to get that good. Maybe I should be stocking up on diapers, reading about placentas, and eagerly awaiting my first adult foray into shitting myself. Maybe I just needed more coffee, but I walked away from that coffee thinking I should, would, could, need to have a baby. NOW. Giddy up husband because I’m ready to go. Because if we don’t, more importantly if I don’t, I will be 80 when our child is 20. And any chance of being hot mom at the track meet will surely fade away.
But I didn’t go looking for my husband, don’t worry. Instead, I just went to work. And sat there all day thinking about WHEN. You do this a lot as a childless woman in your 30’s. You think a lot about when. You do the math to see just how long you could wait until it would possibly be too long, or too risky, or just plain dumb. And then you start thinking if you did start trying how long would it take. You hope that it would take 3, 6, maybe 9 months, but what if it took 3 years? You start to realize that you only have so much time before you run out of time.
And this if-and-when is on your mind every single day. So chances are when someone asks you about babies, you are already brimming to the rim with if, when, how, what about now, and their question just pushes you over the edge. And results in a crazy fit of STOP BUGGING ME ABOUT BABIES ALREADY. I may have had one of these fits, or two.
You get to a certain point where people stop asking if-and-when. You assume they have just started to chalk you up as too crazy for kids, too skinny, too obsessed with tri’s, too much time on a bike, too many dips in the hot tub, too much chlorine in the chromosomes, too much sun, too much high fructose corn syrup by way of power -products, too many salt tabs, supplements, lactic acid, time in the saddle, miles on the feet too much and too many reasons why you have nothing left but...bad eggs.
But that’s not to say that some short time ago they were all about asking the if-and-when. It’s about a 3 month grace period after you get married where no one says a word, and then for the next 6 months they look at you like where’s baby, when’s the baby. And then at the one year mark, it picks up again to where they start thinking ok you had your one year to enjoy yourselves as a couple together, and now, BABY. Another 3 months goes by and they start asking, where’s baby? when baby? And then after another 3 months, a total of 18 months since the wedding, they just stop asking. Because in that time either another relative has announced their baby or they have just written you off as eggless, clueless, or self-consumed. You might as well move into a house down the street with your 1000 cats, write spinster on your mailbox, and eat bags of chips.
The problem is, though, I hate cats.
Put your mind at ease. One day, my time will come on my clock. And the clock will sound like music to my ears. At that point, I will know I am ready. To give up competition, to give up small clothing, to give up…..gulp.....coffee. But until then, I will just keep shopping at The Land of Nod for overpriced sock-sized baby gear for friends and relatives that have jumped on the baby wagon, and fussing over other people’s children like Kaden, and Mabel, and TBA.
And until then, this womb is closed. And there's no need to ask - because I’m ok with that for now.