Red Tent Talk (I want a Baby)
My body wants a baby.
There I said it. I am thirty years old. My body is fully developed. I have no illusions about where I am in my life process... The brain begins to decline in one's late twenties. The metabolism slows. The bloom begins to leave the rose, and suddenly living is work. My body is finished growing. As far as it is concerned, the mission is now to insure that its genes are propagated to the next generation...
This is absurd, but it is also true.
The other day, Victor admitted that he is watching his hairline recede. He was having a self-conscious moment. It does not bother me. I reminded him that his father's hair is thin on top, and he is still a good looking gent.
I do not know how to respond to these observations... Maybe I should not have said anything.
Instead, I raised my bangs, "Look at how huge my forehead is! My mother used to tie my ponytails back so tight! I always feel like I have to hide it with bangs..."
...Whenever I start dating any man, my mind reviews the list of compromises it may have to live with. As I fell initially fell in love with Victor, I quickly romanticized the notion of watching him grow old with me. His changing hairline and waistline did not phase me, as they have may phased a younger more naive version of myself.
MY skin is beginning to show signs of wrinkles, begging for an increase in my facial lotion budget. Every time Victor makes me smile so big that I feel the crows feet form in the corners of my eyes, my body whispers, "Are you sure? Don't give away all of your magic before you're sure. You only have so many smooth skinned smiles left to spend..."
I am more practical than I am superficial. I lean away from men who are overweight, not because they are fat, but because I come from a family of heavy people with obesity related health concerns. I try to avoid cigarette smokers because I have worked with cancer survivors who have lost their voice boxes or had parts of their tongue replaced with pieces of their thigh-tissue. I prefer frugal men rather than materialistic men who need to spend most of their income on keeping up appearances... I am a practical woman.
A practical woman who understands what a financial and emotional commitment being a mother is... My new roommate has a two year old daughter. Each day I hear them bargaining to put on clothes, eat meals, use the potty... and I think, Wow, I'm so glad that I am not responsible for anyone's bowel movements but my own!
My body does not care that I have plans. It does not care that I am not married. It also does not care that I am treating it well; exercising, choosing healthy foods, drinking in moderation to preserve its optimal state. This body knows it is already dying, no matter what I do, eventually- and it is determined to create another vessel for propagation.
.....So when my menstrual cycle started with unbearable body aches, all I could think was, I hear you, body. You are angry- I know what you want... and I can't help you. No babies, not yet.
But it did not stop at the physical symptoms. It also began making wild demands for attention and affection. This is psychological warfare. You and I both know that Victor is busy. He has rehearsals and gigs, and there is no reason to bother him... Whenever I feel an urge to call/text him at an inappropriate moment, my common sense reminds me,Why are you trying to push him out of your life today? Are you really in such a rush to loose him? ...and after some thought, I realize- THE BODY. It is trying to replace him... as it replaced all the boyfriends before him, who failed to impregnate me. It gets impatient. It releases overdoses of hormones that throw me into jealous, insecure, demanding rages.
I have been learning to channel this nervous energy into my music, my artwork... It is upsetting to put into words, to admit in such literal terms- Because what man wants to hear his girlfriend admit that she can hear her biological clock ticking so loudly that it wakes her up in the middle of the night sometimes?
Self-awareness is an amazing tool. It allows me to acknowledge- this is what my body, my vessel is experiencing. I am not its slave. I certainly do not treat it as well as I could, but I try to balance its care with my satisfaction. It is unsatisfied with waiting to procreate... But I do not want to spend the rest of my life, resenting my body and my child for forcing me into motherhood before my mind and partner were ready. I want to be a good and present mother- I am still learning to be mindful and present in my own life! So for now... the body can wait. Babies can wait.