Friday, March 2, 2012

One Track Mind

Our Wedding, 2012

Among my other pregnancy fears? Morphing into one of those people who can't talk about anything but pregnancy, motherhood, and babies.

Last night, I was reading a story in the Guardian about Jody Day, a woman in her 40s who is childless by circumstance. Day laments that her female friends with children can't talk about anything else, and she usually winds up chatting primarily to their husbands at social gatherings. She feels that modern motherhood has become an obsessive pursuit, and she feels deeply excluded from it.

Day recalls a party where she "saw panic in [the mothers'] eyes, as if they didn't know how to have a conversation that wasn't about their offspring." She says these mothers barely even listen to her.

At one point or another in our child-free years, I'd wager most women have found themselves kind of bored by the subject of babies.

I've always wanted my own children, but I can't say that I haven't felt a rustle of annoyance at other people's children, who always seem to be crying or dripping bodily fluids or clamoring for attention in a slightly grating way. I don't generally go mushy when I see babies' toes. And toddlers? Social terrorists.

In our circle of acquaintances in New York, Will and I are definitely reproducing on the early side. It can make you feel like a bit of an alien (in the scifi sense of the word.)

So I have to admit that lately I do feel relief when I speak to the few who do have children or are expecting or trying to get to that stage. This is not because I feel like we're in some exclusive club, but because I'm not worrying that I'm nattering on about something that they find boring or uncomfortable or annoying.

Frankly, in the thick of it all, it's hard not to feel that this impending addition to the family is dominating my brain.

Yes...I am concerned by what's going on in Syria, I can't watch the debate on reproductive rights without wanting to shout at the television, and I love to hear stories of other people's travels and adventures.

But when people ask what's going on with me, it's hard not to focus on this enormous transition or to find the conversation circling it. I can't help it. I find the biology, the psychology, the anthropology of baby-making pretty fascinating at the moment.

But then there's my inner Jody Day, perched on my shoulder, shouting: "Don't be a dullard!"

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