Saturday, July 19, 2008

An Experience Beyond Words

Big D and I have been together a long time. I mean a loooonnnnngggg time and by LA standards even longer. When you have been married as long as we have or, to be more exacting, when you have been a married woman without children for as long as I have been you hear a lot of comments such as,

"I thought people only got married to have kids"

"When are you having kids?"

"Oh you have to have kids, it's the best."

"When are you getting pregnant, it's the most amazing thing ever!"

I could go on but you get the idea. When people who I know and care about inquired, I generally didn't mind the probing. In fact, whether or not you are going to have kids has been and continues to be a topic of conversation that I have with many of my close friends and family members because it is such a big part of the human experience. But when people who could care less about who I am as a human being, like women from the work pit, asked, I often wanted to retort something like, "Well, I'm infertile, if you must know" or "Well the cocaine habit isn't so great for fetuses I've heard and my husband has low sperm count" I mean, what if I really did have a fertility issue or a drug habit or my husband had low sperm count? Wouldn't these questions then be considered incredibly insensitive? Fortunately, none of these were an issue for us. In fact, having gotten pregnant after one cycle off the pill after being on it my entire adult life pretty much squashed my long held fears of infertility and Big D is clearly a stud in the sperm count department and my drug habit was generally limited to red wine and dirty martinis.

But now I realize that there is something more to the questions. Pregnancy is something you can't quite put into words. You can talk about the growing belly, the morning sickness, the aches and pains, the kicks and turns, but it is impossible to fully explain what it feels like to have your body become an incubator for another human being. Before I got pregnant, I knew it would be something to experience but I didn't get the glow in the eyes of mothers asking when I was going to have a baby. I never really got the way they would tear up when recounting their own pregnancy and motherhood or why they would have such an interest in my own reproduction timeline. But I get it now. My cynical rational side tries to keep me in check...It's something any woman can do. It's not like it's finding a cure for cancer or running a business or being a gold medal athlete. But I am in the club now and I get it. It is powerful beyond description and women inquire about other women's pregnancy status because it is their way of sharing this experience beyond words.

I have to admit that I have caught myself recently doing the same thing in conversations with couples who don't yet have kids. I've actually heard lines such as this come out of my mouth:

"Do you guys think you'll have kids?"

"Pregnancy is the most amazing thing ever"

"It's really something you have to experience"

I've limited the conversation to those people that I actually know and care about and who are interested in taking part in a conversation about this. I'm not running up to recently married co-workers and asking them to get on the baby track. Although I did give an extra copy I had of What to Expect When Your Expecting to a co-worker who was just about to get married. But she had informed me that she was on the baby track before I offered so that's OK isn't it?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Wall Street Journal--Tell Me Something I don't Know

Wall Street Journal selected my friend M's blog (see it in my links?) as one of their favorite expat- in-Paris blogs. And while I agree, I'd take it a step further and say that she is one of the best bloggers--no scratch that---writers in the blogosphere. And while her blog is filled with life in Paris imagery and anecdotes, it is her command of language and her ability to balance sadness and joy with deep personal introspection that makes me laugh, cry, and think with every post. I keep telling her to write a novel because I am greedy.

From the Wall Street Journal...

The Parisian Expat Life

Can't find your Passport? Pas de problème! More and more expats are blogging about their lives in France. Here's a selection of our favorites. --Lauren Mechling

Les Confessions Douces-Améres D'une Femme Dans La Trentaine: A single, literary, thirty-something, living cheaply and thinking deeply on the banks of the Seine.
Les Confessions
This American in Paris chronicles her days of racing down Avenue de l'Opera to meet a deadline, entertaining an inebriated man named Fabio at 2:30 a.m., and turning down a marriage proposal from an eligible Canadian who failed to make her heart skip.
Sample passage: At dinner yesterday my friend Marie Pierre, a fifty-something, listened to me as I complained about how difficult it is to be a woman alone in the world as I downed three ice cold shots of Polish Bison-flavored vodka at her apartment in Montreuil to the East of Paris. I had wanted a whiskey and Marie Pierre was ready to pour me some, but her husband, Claude, a curmudgeonly law professor with red hair and a complexion that betrays his seething anger, shouted to her that whiskey is a digestif and we shouldn't be having that before dinner.